Can You Recycle Duct Tape? (Don’t Make These Mistakes)

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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.

Have you ever broken or damaged a recyclable item in your house and used duct tape to fix it, only then to throw it away in the recycling bin? If you’ve ever done this you might be wondering if that was the right place to put it. 

Read on to find out if putting it duct tape in the recycling bin is the right option or if putting it in the trash is best?

Can You Recycle Duct Tape?

Duct tape is not recyclable and should be disposed of in a waste bin. Furthermore, unless burned or ingested, duct tape poses a minimal risk to the environment when disposed of properly and sent to landfills. Additionally, if duct tape is composted it won’t decompose properly and may cause an issue for the rest of the waste decomposing.

Duct tape is popular for several reasons, so practicing sustainable and more eco-friendly methods for handling duct tape is important. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why you cannot recycle duct tape and ways to minimize their environmental impact. 

Can You Recycle Duct Tape?

As you already know now, duct tape is not recyclable and should be placed in waste bins. 

This makes duct tape a less eco-friendly option compared to paper-based or cellulose tapes which are recyclable. 

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However, this still leaves some questions regarding the scientific and legal reasoning behind why recycling facilities do not accept duct tape. 

  • What is duct tape made of? 
  • Is duct tape biodegradable or compostable? 
  • How does duct tape impact the environment? 

After addressing these questions, you should have a better understanding of why duct tape is not recyclable and the impacts it has on the environment. 

What Is Duct Tape Made Of? 

What Is Duct Tape Made Of? 

You might be wondering what duct tape is made of. 

Unlike plastic or paper tapes, duct tape is made of a combination of polyester, cotton, nylon, and fiberglass mesh fabric for strength. 

Furthermore, duct tape is made of a top, middle, and bottom layer:

 The top layer consists of plastic and polyethylene

  • The middle layer is made of the fiberglass mesh fabric 
  • The rubber-based bottom layer serves as the sensitive adhesive you can stick to different objects or surfaces

Additionally, nylon-infused products are generally not recyclable, which in this case includes duct tape. 

Instead, nylon products tend to be persistent and can be reused multiple times over. 

The same logic applies to duct tape, so try to reuse your duct tape as many times as you can before throwing it in the trash. 

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However, both nylon and the fiberglass mesh fabric make duct tape impossible to recycle, despite the other natural materials like cotton and polyester present in duct tape. 

Is Duct Tape Biodegradable Or Compostable? 

Unfortunately, the nylon and fiberglass components also make duct tape non-biodegradable and not compostable.

Nylon is made of synthetic polymers and fiberglass is made of resin, both of which do not naturally biodegrade and remain in the environment indefinitely. 

The cotton and polyester in duct tape are natural and do biodegrade, however, the majority of duct tape comes from the nylon and fiberglass, which are synthetic materials

How Does Duct Tape Impact The Environment? 

The same materials that make duct tape highly versatile also make duct tape not eco-friendly. 

Therefore, reusing duct tape as much as possible is the only viable option to ensure that fewer non-biodegradable materials end up accumulating in landfills.

Furthermore, duct tape in landfills can pollute nearby ecosystems and be accidentally ingested by wildlife.

So, to prevent duct tape from ending up in the environment, you should stick it to some kind of object the duct tape can grip to. 

This ensures that the duct tape is not loosely transferred to the landfill where it can then be blown away and come into contact with neighboring ecosystems.

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To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle bamboo products, whether you can recycle wax paper, and whether you can recycle Ziploc bags.


Duct tape is not recyclable, therefore, you should try to reuse your duct tape whenever possible. This then reduces the accumulation of non-biodegradable landfill waste and helps keep ecosystems clean and safe!

However, when you do throw it in the trash bin make sure you stick it to a heavier object to ensure it wont fly away while being transported to landfills.


  • 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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