Is Notebook Paper Recyclable?

Many people use notebooks that have a speckled cardboard cover and lined paper inside, like composition notebooks or legal pads. These are easy to recycle since they can go in the paper recycling bins.

However, the spiral binding and other components might need to be recycled separately. Check with your local recycling centers or curbside program to know what to do.


Paper is a key element of notebooks, from spiral notebooks and notepads to legal pads and composition books. The good news is that all of these types are recyclable, along with any covers or dividers made from paper. The specific recycling process will vary slightly based on local laws and guidelines. The general process is to place the paper components into a paper recycling bin.

The paper used in notebooks is derived from natural wood pulp that can be recycled and turned into new paper products. This helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and conserves natural resources. In addition, recycling paper uses fewer energy and water than producing it from raw materials.

Many people rely on notebooks for school, work and personal projects. This makes it important to know that these items can be recycled when they are no longer needed. This helps to reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and support the circular economy.

Spiral notebooks and legal pads often feature a wire-bound coil that holds the pages together. This type of coil can be recycled with other metal products. The cover of a notebook can also be recycled, but this depends on the type of material it is. For example, some covers are plastic, while others have a unique style that may not be recyclable in all areas.


Paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste and 33% of municipal waste, so it’s important to reuse and recycle whenever possible. Notebooks can be recycled along with other paper products, including scrap papers and cardboard boxes. Recycling notebooks helps reduce pollution and conserves natural resources. It also supports the circular economy, a model that keeps resources in use for as long as possible.

To recycle notebooks, first make sure they’re free of metal elements, such as spirals and staples. Then, remove any non-paper materials from the notebook, such as plastic covers. Some plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), are not recyclable and should be discarded as garbage. Check with your local recycling center to find out what’s accepted in your area.

Most notebooks are made from recycled paper and can be recycled with regular mixed paper recycling or at a dedicated recycling center. However, some notebooks may require dismantling before they can be recycled. For example, spiral notebooks have a metal coil that needs to be removed before recycling. To do this, secure the notebook on a flat surface and weigh it down. Then, snip off the crimped parts of each end of the coil and pull until it unspirals.

Alternatively, you can reuse the paper in your old notebooks for arts and crafts projects. You can cut up the pages and use them in projects, such as origami or scrapbooking. You can also create a new notebook out of the paper by making holes in the pages and using yarns to hold them together.


If your notebooks have a plastic cover or cardboard cover, you should remove it before recycling. These plastics will contaminate paper recycling and need to be disposed of separately. However, your local recycling center may allow you to recycle the cardboard with the paper. Just make sure to ask them.

Many notebooks have metal spiral or plastic coil binding, which need to be removed before recycling the paper inside. These types of bindings contain a form of glue that makes it difficult to recycle paper. Also, they can clog and damage paper recycling machines.

A 3-ring binder is another popular type of notebook that uses metal rings to hold loose-leaf notebook paper and dividers. These binders are usually made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which has a toxic effect on the environment. You can recycle these binders by taking out the paper and plastic rings and placing them in a mixed metals bin at your local recycling center.

You can use the cardboard and paper from your old notebooks to make greeting cards, bookmarks, or even a quilted blanket! You can also turn them into a fun craft project for your children. Using recycled materials is an eco-friendly way to reduce waste and save natural resources. You can even donate your old notebooks to charity shops or libraries.


While recycling notebook paper is an important step in reducing environmental impact, there are also ways to go green by minimizing your use of notebooks altogether. Going paperless is not only a good way to reduce your carbon footprint, but it will also save money in the long run. If you must use a notebook, make sure that you recycle each component separately. This will help you avoid wasting any materials and will ensure that you’re disposing of them properly.

For example, if your notebook has a plastic cover or cardboard cover, remove them and recycle them separately. Some recycling services require that you separate these covers from the papers inside, while others may allow you to recycle them together. You should also check with your recycling center for specific instructions. Some plastics, such as PVC, are not recyclable, so you should avoid putting them in your bin.

When you recycle notebooks, you can create new products from the recycled paper and reduce pollution and waste by preventing the need for additional resources. You can also support the circular economy, a model that keeps resources in use for as long as possible and minimizes the need to extract new ones.

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