Can You Recycle Glossy Paper? (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.

Did you know almost 90% of what we throw in the trash could actually be reused or recycled? Glass bottles can become new glass bottles, plastic bottles can be recycled into auto parts or carpeting, and paper can be recycled into other paper products. 

However, what about glossy paper? Can glossy paper be recycled? Continue reading to find out these answers and more!

Can You Recycle Glossy Paper?

Glossy paper can be recycled as long as the paper is not laminated. There are easy ways to test it. First, try to tear it, however, if you cannot tear it, it cannot be recycled because it’s probably laminated with a plastic coating. Can you crumple it up? The recyclable paper will stay crumpled whereas unrecyclable will not. 

There are different types of glossy paper, so sometimes it can be tough to determine if it is laminated. However, using one of the above tests will usually give you an answer. Keep reading to find out other ways you can test the paper to see if it is recyclable or not!

Different Types Of Glossy Paper

You may have other types of glossy paper you are not sure about, like cardboard, for instance. 

Glossy cardboard is not easy to tear, so the tear test will not work effortlessly, however, you can try the water test.

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Furthermore, if the cardboard breaks down after a few hours in the water, you can usually recycle it. 

Why Is Glossy Paper Recyclable?

The reason that glossy paper is recyclable and laminated paper is not is that glossy paper is typically coated with additives like resins or minerals rather than plastic. 

Even if it looks like plastic, you can do one of the above tests to find out. 

How Is Glossy Paper Recycled?

How Is Glossy Paper Recycled?

Once your glossy paper gets to the recycling plant, it is separated from the rest of the paper. 

The paper is then mixed in a giant hydra-pulper that combines it with water to create a pulp. 

Then the pulp is either sent to other companies for use or used right there in the plant to make products. 

What About Magazines?

Most magazines can be recycled, however, some recycling companies ask that you remove the covers first. 

That is because the covers are sometimes reinforced with lamination to prevent water damage or tearing. 

Furthermore, other companies may ask you to remove the staples.

Although, you may also find that most recycling companies now just take them as is. 

Recycling Saves Energy

If we just recycle 30% of our waste per year, that saves about 12 billion gallons of gas and reduces greenhouse gas equivalent to having 25 million fewer vehicles on the road. 

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It also prevents pollution because manufacturers do not have to start over with raw products. As they can use recycled products to make new items.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle cotton pads, whether you can recycle chip bags, and whether you can recycle cereal boxes and bags.


Another reason to recycle is that recycling creates jobs. A study done by the Recycling Economic Information Company in 2016 found that over 681,000 jobs were created in the recycling industry in one year. 

That alone is an excellent reason to recycle, and recycling is easy to do. All you have to do is separate your trash into recyclable bins and have the right companies pick them up. They will then take care of the rest of the process. 


  • 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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