Can You Recycle Newspaper, Junk Mail, And Catalogs? (Guide)

Photo of author
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.

There are some items that you may have realized are cluttering up your home, your office, or just your personal spaces in general. With new technology and transitions from old to new, there is a likely chance that you have a stack of newspapers, junk mail, or catalogs in your home. 

Therefore, you might be wondering what is the best way to get rid of these items? Continue reading the article below to find out these answers and more!

Can You Recycle Newspaper, Junk Mail, And Catalogs?

You can recycle newspapers, junk mail, catalogs, and various other items that you may find lying around your home. Luckily, most of these items are made from paper, and paper products are considered organic materials which can be recycled. More paper is recovered for recycling purposes when compared to glass, plastic, or any other materials.

Continue reading as we uncover why recycling paper can be harmful to the environment, what you can and can’t recycle and how to properly recycle appropriate items!

How To Dispose Of Newspaper Material 

As mentioned above, yes, you can recycle newspaper products, among many other materials. 

Most paper products are considered to be recyclable items, and those items include junk mail, printer paper, magazines, and newspapers, as well as cardboard material.

Although we overall answer to our question is yes, it is important to know why. 

Additionally, it is important to note that there are different types of paper, so all paper cannot be recycled. 

It may also be helpful to know that most paper mills use toxic compounds that include formaldehyde, and even methanol. 

In fact, paper mills can be considered one of the worst polluters of any industry within the United States.

However, you can recycle most of these paper-based products if they fit within a few guidelines. 

Firstly, the paper cannot be soiled. If any paper that you want to recycle is dirty, you should revert to your garbage can. 

Secondly, shredded paper should not be recycled, and if the paper is coated with oil, wax, or even plastic, it should not be recycled either. 

Read More:  Can You Recycle Pens, Markers, And Highlighters? (Full Guide)

Trying to recycle items that are technically non-recyclable can contaminate the other recyclables. 

Furthermore, contaminating the recycling system can be detrimental because throwing unrecyclable items into your recycling bin will contaminate the rest of the load. 

This will then cause the whole load to have to go to the landfill instead. 

Are Newspaper Products And Junk Mail Bad For The Environment?

Since recycling paper products reduce water and air pollution and contribute to the reduction of the demand for lumber, it is not bad for the environment. 

However, there are some things that are and are not meant to be recycled as they could damage the recycling process or do not break down quickly or naturally. 

While there are multiple things that you can recycle, there is an equal number of things that you can’t. 

Some plastic like grocery bags or other materials like Styrofoam is most certainly not recyclable. 

Here’s a list of a few products that you might not want to throw into your recycling bin:

  • Bubble Wrap
  • Dishes
  • Electronics (Cords)
  • Squeezable Items (Toothpaste, gels)
  • Cotton Wool

Therefore, if the items you want to recycle are not general bottles, cardboard, paper products, or other related types of items, then it’s probably safe to say that they are non-recyclable. 

Here is a general rule of thumb, if you aren’t sure, then don’t throw it in the recycling bin. 

This is because recycling facilities cannot handle all types of materials, so then be responsible by utilizing your garbage can instead. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Where To Recycle Old Catalogs And Junk Mail

Where To Recycle Old Catalogs And Junk Mail

Of course, you’re probably thinking of your blue bin under your sink or outside by your trash can, but where do you think your recyclables go? 

If the batch is contaminated, they go to a landfill. If they aren’t contaminated, they will make their way to a recycling facility. 

Read More:  Can You Recycle Yogurt Cups And Lids? (Your Full Guide)

In fact, per notable sources, the U.S. doesn’t possess the infrastructure for waste to properly handle all of the country’s recycling needs. 

So the U.S. ships some of its recyclable waste to China where it is broken down and put through the necessary recreation processes. 

However, this is actually changing soon as China will not continue to do this due to a new sustainability plan that will go into effect in the near future. 

Additionally, recycling basically reduces the need for processing more raw materials, which contributes to multiple types of pollution. 

It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and can even save energy.

All of the benefits of recycling used materials affect climate change in the best way.

For example, think of the different resources that the world provides for us, such as; forests, oceans, mountain ranges, lakes, and rivers. 

These things are natural resources, and by recycling, you are essentially securing the use and safety of those resources.

Therefore, if we are reusing items that we want to throw away, then we are decreasing the need to cut down trees or disturb natural habitats and what lives within them.

How To Recycle Newspaper, Junk Mail, And Catalogs

Before you learn how to start recycling properly, let’s point out that there are three main types of recycling (among many others):

  • Mechanical- Used to recycle plastics from scrap or industrial disposal
  • Energy- Converting plastic into thermal and electric energy
  • Chemical- The chemical structures of plastics are turned into raw material across different industries

The more common types of recycling that you may recognize are paper, plastic, and metal recycling, or recycling methods for wood, glass, or textiles. 

The steps to properly recycling are fairly simple. To start, you should be collecting your recyclables.

The next step is to organize those recyclables properly. 

Furthermore, to organize your recyclables in your household, you will usually have one main blue bin, which people generally use for paper and plastic. 

However, if you are an avid recycler, you may have three different bins, one for organic waste, plastic waste, and the third being for paper.

Read More:  Can You Recycle Bleach Bottles? (Don't Make These Mistakes)

After you have organized your recyclables, there isn’t too much else to do besides getting that bin to the curb so it can be picked up and maintaining the integrity of those bins.

Remember that there are multiple items that are considered to be recyclable and frequently the same number of items that can be considered non-recyclable. 

Furthermore, catalogs are considered to be magazines that are recyclable unless they are wrapped in plastic. 

Newspaper or newsprint is another recyclable item, and since junk mail is also a paper product, you can safely throw it in the blue bin as well. 

A few tips on how you can make recycling more simple for yourself and those that have to handle the materials on their way to recycling centers can be helpful.

For example, flatten cardboard boxes before you put them into any recycling bins or waste collection areas.

Additionally, do your best two differentiate between recyclables and non-recyclables so you are not contributing to contamination risk.

With these simple steps, you can easily become an advocate for recycling. 

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle Post-it notes, whether you can recycle envelopes with plastic windows, and whether you can recycle plastic and metal jar lids.


Newspapers, junk mail, and catalogs are all recyclable as long as they are properly separated and don’t contain any traces of food or plastic materials.

Furthermore, before recycling these items if we reuse and upcycle them as much as possible it will help save extra waste from going to our landfills which eliminates less pollution from our planet.


  • 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.

Leave a Comment