Can You Recycle Cereal Boxes And Bags? (Full Guide)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Cereal is one of the most common breakfast foods that many of us consume, so there’s a significant amount of waste from the boxes and bags used as packaging. 

Furthermore, cardboard is some of the easiest materials to recycle and compost, but the bags that hold the actual cereal are something many people question whether they can recycle. Continue reading to find out this answer!

Can You Recycle Cereal Boxes And Bags?

You can easily recycle cereal boxes just as you would other common types of cardboard and plastic. You can add cereal boxes to your recycling bin and other recyclable materials, but cereal bags need to be recycled at a location that accepts plastic film materials. 

However, knowing what can be recycled, reused, and composted is a great step to being more environmentally conscious. Therefore, keep reading to learn more about how to recycle cereal boxes and bags for maximum sustainability. 

How To Recycle Cereal Boxes

As opposed to traditional moving boxes, cereal boxes often have a shinier surface on the outside where the label is. 

Therefore, some people might think that the material from the outside means the box can’t be recycled. 

However, this is not true as it’s very easy to recycle cereal boxes, but there are a few things you should pay attention to before tossing them in your recycling bin. 

First, make sure that the box is dry and clean. Cereal is rather dry, so you don’t have to worry about too much residue getting on the box, but it’s always good to watch out for. 

The second thing you’ll likely want to do is break down the cereal box and flatten it out. This makes the recycling process easy and simple for the machinery. 

Ultimately, you can treat your cereal boxes like any other paper products you usually recycle, such as envelopes, magazines, and other types of cardboard. 

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Are the Waxed Cereal Bags Inside Cereal Boxes Recyclable?

While cereal boxes are rather simple to recycle, those waxy liners or bags that actually hold the cereal are a bit trickier. 

The cereal bags are technically recyclable, but they often aren’t accepted by most recycling curbside pickups. 

Furthermore, cereal bags are made of plastic #2 in film form, making them unsuitable for certain recycling machinery.

It can create a jam and cause the machine to malfunction, so most curbside recycling pickups don’t accept them.  

It’s also best to make sure as best you can that the cereal bag is plastic #2, as some companies use a more paper-like type of material that can’t be recycled. 

Therefore, if it’s not waxy or filmy, or if it doesn’t have the #2 plastic resin number on the bag, then it’s likely best to try and reuse it for something else or trash it instead.

How To Recycle Cereal Bags Or Liners

So if the curbside recycling pickup won’t accept the cereal bags or other filmy plastic bags like it, where should you take it?

The easiest thing to do is collect a few of these bags over time and then drop them off at your nearest grocery store or retail location with a recycling bin for plastic items like it. 

However, if you aren’t sure if there’s a store near you that will take these materials, check out this website from the Plastic Film Recycling program to see if there’s one near you. 

All you have to do is type in your zip code, and it’ll show you possible drop-off locations near you. 

Additionally, make sure to take advantage of recycling programs like this one if you’re able.

The more people use them, the more they can see a demand and understand that people are truly invested in recycling regularly. 

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Are Cereal Boxes Compostable?

Are Cereal Boxes Compostable?

While recycling is a great way to make something new out of the old, composing is another eco-conscious way to help out the environment by enriching the soil with nutrients. 

You wouldn’t think that cereal boxes would be able to help put more nourishment into our soil, but they definitely can. 

Therefore, if you have a garden at home, in your neighborhood, or you have a local composting program, you can also use cereal boxes as composting material. 

The main difference between recycling and composting cereal boxes is in the breakdown.

When you plan to recycle a cereal box, all you have to do is flatten it out and leave it in your curbside recycling bin. 

However, when you want to use the cereal box as compost, you need to make sure to cut the box up into small pieces. 

Moreover, the box needs to be in smaller pieces in order for it to break down and nourish the soil properly. 

For more information about how to use your cereal boxes as your own compostable material, check out this article that walks you through it step by step. 

What Are Some Ways We Can Reuse Cereal Bags?

Recycling is a great way to help preserve the environment and make the most of our natural resources, but sometimes cereal bags aren’t recyclable. 

Whether you don’t have access to a retail location that accepts film cereal bags or the cereal bags you have aren’t recyclable, there are still plenty of ways to reuse this material.

Here are just a few things you can do with those pesky cereal boxes: 

  • Use it as an extra small trash liner 
  • Use it to roll out pastry (like a wax liner)
  • Use it to hold other snacks like trail mix or chips 
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You can also click here to learn even more ways to reuse cereal bags. 

What Are Some Ways We Can Reuse Cereal Boxes?

The only thing better than recycling cereal boxes is reusing or repurposing the cereal box and then recycling it. 

There are so many crafty and practical ways to reuse cereal boxes you’d be amazed. For example, this DIY’er found 45 ways to upcycle cereal boxes for all kinds of things! 

Especially if you have kids, there are plenty of fun and creative ways to turn those cereal boxes into cool and artsy activities. 

People have turned ordinary cereal boxes into some pretty amazing things. Here are a few ideas for DIY projects you should think about using cereal boxes for: 

  • Cut and use the box as a seed starter
  • Turn into a personal-sized journal
  • Make postcards
  • Create a drawer organizer

To learn more, you can also read our posts on 37 unsettling landfill statistics and facts, how many times glass can be recycled, and whether you can recycle laminated paper.


According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the best way to reduce waste is to produce as little of it as possible.

Furthermore, the best thing we can do is pay attention to the areas in our lives where we produce the most waste and cut down as much as we can. 

 For many of us, that means looking at our food packaging waste. For example, cereal boxes can be some of the simplest items to recycle and the more habits we build in recycling them, the more we can help the environment. 


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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