Home » How To Recycle Guides » Can You Recycle Notebooks – Eco Guide 2023

Can You Recycle Notebooks – Eco Guide 2024

Wondering whether you can recycle notebooks? For most of us, notebooks are strictly utilitarian. They’re not designed to be cute pieces of artwork or make for ideal paperweights.

But for those who are still using them as a primary form of personal work and content storage, there’s plenty that can be recycled from old notebooks.

Mostly, the paper inside. Most notebook paper is made from wood pulp which is biodegradable and recyclable.

When it’s recycled, it can be turned into new paper products or even pellets which are used in making things like particle board and cardboard.

Can you recycle old notebooks?

Notebooks are used almost everywhere and for a variety of reasons.

Students, office workers and professionals all need notebooks for classes, personal projects and even note-taking.

And since this is a primary tool of most people, the amount of notebooks must be pretty high.

In terms of paper recycling, notebooks comprise over half of all paper products bought every year.

Though most is used to make new paper products as well as cardboard and other packaging materials; the rest is thrown away.

One thing to keep in mind is that notebooks are often made of various components and some of them aren’t recyclable.

This includes spiral wires and PVC covers, which are often mixed in with recycled paper.

They’re not biodegradable and thus, not recyclable or compostable.

Also, the following items included in notebooks aren’t recyclable:

With that being said, you can recycle the paper.

Majority of the notebooks have paper that is recyclable.

And if you’ve been an avid recycler, you must know that paper is one of the easiest materials to recycle.

A local recycling center or curbside program can take care of all that.

Many recycling plants are geared towards recycling just about any kind of paper, not just notebooks and white paper.

The recycled paper is then used for various things such as library books, magazines and office paper.

How to recycle notebooks

People are embracing sustainable living, and the use of paper is a great way to do that.

Recycling is a big part of that effort because it not only reduces our environmental impact, it also uses materials that are created from renewable resources.

With that being said, you can take steps to reduce your carbon footprint by helping to recycle your old notebooks.

What you should do depends on where you live and what recyclers are in your area.

Some recycling companies will accept all kinds of papers, but others only accept certain types.

Firstly, know the components of your notebook.

Some notebooks have plastic covers and others do not.

Some notebooks have laminated covers and others don’t, and some have spiral wires that can’t be recycled.

Next, identify which of these elements are recyclable and which are not.

There are also some materials which are not recyclable at all, even if they’re not paper as in the case of PVC binders, or colored plastic covers that may appear to be made of paper.

Check with your local recycling center to find out what’s accepted in your area.

Lastly, make sure the paper inside is clean and dry, and remove any staples or other metal elements before recycling.

There are options in recycling notebook paper.

First is to tear out the paper and save it in a container.

Then, when you have enough amounts of paper, you can ship it to a center that recycles bulk amounts of paper.

If there isn’t one where you live, try doing a search on Google or another search engine for “paper recycling centers” or something similar.

It makes more sense to collect the paper in bulk rather than doing so piecemeal.

How to reduce your paper usage

Using more notebooks and not recycling them is the worst thing you can do for the environment.

If you’ve taken the steps to recycle them, you’ve made a good start in reducing your environmental impact.

But although reusing old notebooks instead of buying new ones will save trees and reduce landfill waste, it’s far from enough.

The best way to reduce waste and your environmental impact is to reduce your use of paper altogether.

So read online journals, sign up for email alerts rather than getting physical newsletters, and make plans with friends that don’t involve printing.

It’s a good start in reducing your environmental impact that has a measurable effect on the world.

It’s better than doing nothing at all.

So if you’re still using notebooks, make a conscious effort to recycle them.

And if you know of other ways to reduce the paper usage in your life, make use of them.

Final Thoughts

The next time you’re at your local recycling center, take a look at what they accept.

You might be surprised that you can recycle all types of paper.

Not just notebooks, but also other papers such as magazines and catalogs.

And if you haven’t checked it out already, find out where to recycle your old notebooks.


How do you get rid of notebooks?

Recycling is one of the best ways to get rid of your old notebooks.

Unlike throwing them in the trash, you can actually turn your old notebook into something useful.

Can you recycle notebooks at a recycling plant?

Technically, yes.

Though it’s not as easy as putting other paper products in as they will be mixed with all sorts of other materials anyway.

You’re probably better off just tearing out the pages and putting them directly into the recycling bin.


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

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