Can You Recycle Paper With Ink, Crayon, Paint, Or Glue On It?

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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.

Recycling is something many must do each week. However, those who recycle may at times get confused about how to properly dispose of certain items. Paper is a good example, and also a rather complicated one. 

Therefore, you may be wondering, can paper be recycled if it contains materials such as ink, crayon, paint, or glue? Continue reading to find out this answer and more!

Can You Recycle Paper With Ink, Crayon, Paint, Or Glue On It?

Paper can be recycled depending on what residue is on it. Furthermore, some of the materials left behind on paper are fine to recycle, while others are not so much. Fortunately, there are ways to remove non-recyclable material left behind on paper that will allow it to be recycled.

Read on to learn how to properly recycle your paper that contains unrecyclable materials and more!

Can You Recycle Paper With Ink On It?

Many may be curious to know whether paper can still be recycled with ink on it. In short, yes, you can recycle paper with ink on it.

  • Paper with black or blue ink (and printer ink) can be recycled as the ink does not negatively affect the paper during the recycling process.
  • Paper has sensitive fibers that can make it hard to recycle with certain materials left behind on it.
  • Most types of paper with ink on them are recyclable, including household doodles and printed documents such as bills or letters.
  • The only type of paper that cannot be recycled with ink on it is sticky notes due to the adhesive on the back which is not recyclable.
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As mentioned, the only paper with ink on it that cannot be recycled is sticky notes and this is due to the “sticky” adhesive which cannot be recycled.

Furthermore, for the most part, the ink does not damage the fibers of the paper it is left on and therefore will not cause issues during recycling. 

Therefore, make sure to set aside your household paper with ink on it, as it can be recycled without a problem.

Can You Recycle Paper With Crayon On It?

Can You Recycle Paper With Crayon On It?

Unfortunately, most paper with crayon left behind cannot be recycled, due primarily to how paper is recycled.

  • Crayons are a waxy material and paper where crayons are used maintain that waxy consistency.
  • Paper is broken down and recycled by water, and the waxy material of crayons will make the paper more water-resistant and therefore unable to be recycled.
  • Paper with crayon on it can only be recycled if the paper has been reprocessed and the crayon is completely removed.

Therefore, in most cases, paper with crayon left behind on it cannot be recycled.

However, some localities may be able to recycle paper with crayon on it, if the paper undergoes a separate process to remove the wax from the paper.

How To Dispose Of Paper With Crayon On It?

The simple answer is that paper with crayon will have to go in the trash. 

However, as mentioned above, there is a method to remove the crayon from paper and it is as follows:

  • The paper must be boiled down with certain chemicals that will completely remove the waxy crayon from the paper.
  • The boiling process will separate the crayon from the paper, causing the waxy material to simply float off of the paper.
  • This process is complex and can be risky, so it is not advised to try this at home.
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Since only some areas are able to separate wax from paper, make sure to research your area’s recycling standards first.

Can You Recycle Paper With Paint On It?

Much like paper with crayon, you cannot recycle paper with paint on it. 

Furthermore, once the paper has been painted it cannot be recycled due to the following reasons:

  • Paint cannot be broken down by water during the recycling process
  • Even water-based paints will cause irreversible alteration to a paper’s fibers which will damage it

This means, unfortunately, that paper with paint on it cannot be recycled. This also means any unwanted paper with paint on it will have to be thrown in the trash.

Can You Recycle Paper With Glue On It?

Whether or not you can recycle paper with glue on it depends on the amount of glue or adhesive on the paper. 

This also depends on the type of glue on the paper as certain localities have different guidelines when it comes to paper with glue or other adhesives on them. 

Furthermore, keep the following in mind when considering recycling paper with glue on it:

  • Many recycling plants will not accept paper with large amounts of glue or certain adhesives on them
  • Large amounts of glue and certain other adhesives are hard to strip off of paper during the recycling process
  • Some localities will accept paper for recycling with small amounts of glue, though this also depends on the type of glue
  • Small amounts of Elmer’s and other glues for kids will be accepted in some recycling plants, while stronger glues will likely not be accepted
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Therefore, recycling paper with glue on it depends on the rules and standards of your locality’s recycling plant. 

So, if your local recycling plant will not accept paper with glue on it, then the paper will, unfortunately, have to be thrown in the trash. 

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle wax paper, whether you can recycle butcher paper, and whether you can recycle parchment paper.

Conclusion

Ink is the only material listed here that can be recycled while left on paper. Furthermore, crayon and glue generally cannot be recycled, unless the paper is completley reprocessed, and paint cannot be broken down or recycled in any way. 

Although most of these materials cannot be recycled, some plants may accept the paper given the right conditions.

Author

  • 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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