Can You Recycle Postcards? (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.

Postcards are a fun and artistic way to remember a vacation. However, after a while, it may be time to discard these souvenirs. Furthermore, when it comes time to get rid of old postcards, what is the best way to dispose of them? 

Are postcards recyclable? What is the best way to dispose of them? Continue reading to find out these answers and more!

Can You Recycle Postcards?

Postcards that are made from thick paper or cardboard can be recycled if the material is clean. Furthermore, a postcard is considered clean if it is free of contaminants such as grease, food, and paint. However, if you are unsure where to recycle or dispose of postcards, then contact your local waste management officials for more information.

Keep reading to find out the possible ways your old postcards can be recycled, as well as what other options you have to repurpose your old postcards!

How To Recycle Postcards

As with most paper and cardboard materials, many postcards can be discarded with your weekly recyclables.

Furthermore, it is usually as simple as placing them in a bin and putting it out on the curb for pick up.

However, before doing so, make sure to remove any personal information as well as other materials such as plastic or sparkles that may be on the card.

Additionally, your local area may also have certain restrictions when it comes to recyclables, for example, a color code system for specific items. 

Or, in rural communities, you may have to travel to a recycling center to dispose of your paper or cardboard products.

Therefore, it is always best to ask a city official or worker for the proper guidelines in your area. 

How To Reuse And Upcycle Postcards

Discarding your used postcards with old newspapers isn’t the only way to recycle them. 

Additionally, recycling can mean many things. For example, whenever you find a new way to utilize an item, that is considered recycling. 

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Below are just a few ways to put postcards to good use.

  • Scrapbooking
  • Collages 
  • Laminate to a hard surface item
  • Frame it as a picture
  • Turn it into a notebook cover

Not only do postcards hold sentimental value for the sender and receiver, but they are often also works of art. 

Therefore, recycling a postcard into any one of these options enables both the memories and the artwork to live on. 

Turning Postcards Into A Scrapbook

Scrapbooking is the practice of using a journal or notebook to create an art history, collect things, or just display items you find to be interesting. 

Furthermore, it can be a fun way to remember important personal events, retell history, or express unique ideas that shine through this medium.

Turning postcards into scrapbooks is a simple process: 

  • Take a glue stick, and coat the back of the postcard with glue.
  • Do the same to the surface you would like to apply it to.
  • Adhere to the postcard and smooth out any wrinkles that may arise. If your postcard is thick, wrinkles should not be a problem.

Lastly, make sure to leave your scrapbook open until the page dries completely.

Turning Postcards Into A Collage

Turning Postcards Into A Collage

Collages are a fun way to display the same things you would in a scrapbook, but in a way that you can see every day.

Furthermore, you start with a poster board and coat the back of the postcard with a glue stick. 

Next, apply glue where you would like the postcard to be on the poster board. Then, you proceed to add more postcards, overlapping the postcards where you see fit. 

However, a helpful tip is to let each postcard dry before adding more.

You do not need to feel confined to postcards either! Feel free to liven up your collage by combining postcards with various other photos, magazine pages, and more!

Laminating Postcards To A Hard Surface

Adding postcards to hard surface items can be a good way to decorate an otherwise boring or basic item. 

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Furthermore, the idea is to basically laminate the postcard to a surface, turning it into a piece of art. 

This can be done on tabletops, mugs, and lamps as they offer a hard surface and are made to withstand heat, which you will need to apply as part of the process.

Additionally, with a bit of heat shrinking plastic, and a heat gun, you can apply postcards to a number of things.

  • First, you must cut your postcard to the proper shape of the item you will be applying it to
  • Line up the postcard where you would like it to be
  • Apply the heat shrinking plastic
  • Finally, lightly sweep over the surface with a heat gun until the plastic becomes tightly sealed

However, make sure to let the plastic properly cool before using the item.

Frame The Postcards

Many postcards contain imagery from famous photos, paintings, and locations, therefore, why not frame the postcard? 

This can be a great way to preserve a postcard that has sentimental value, or even just displays something you think looks cool. 

Furthermore, consider using seasonally-themed postcards to add a seasonal feel to your home.

Luckily, this one is pretty easy; just find a frame that matches the vibe of the art and put it inside! 

Additionally, if you want to go the extra mile, you can match the theme of your postcard to the frame.

For example, consider a beechwood frame over a postcard with a nice photo of Cancun, Acapulco, or Key West. This is a great topper to an ocean-themed bathroom or guest room.

Convert Postcards To A Notebook Cover

According to a number of comments on youtube videos explaining the process, many people consider this to be the coolest way of reusing a postcard. 

Furthermore, this project works best with miniature notebooks that have the same dimensions as the postcard. 

However, you can combine 2 or more postcards for a bigger notebook.

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Essentially what you can do with this process is create a notebook with whatever themes or imagery you like! 

Once again, pull out a glue stick, and apply the glue to the back of the postcard and the front of the notebook. 

Then, apply the postcard, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go. 

Additionally, to help preserve this notebook cover, it is recommended to laminate over the top afterward.

What Materials Are Postcards Made Of? 

Postcards are mainly made out of paper or cardboard, which are recyclable, however, when they are made out of other materials such as plastic they become harder to recycle.

Therefore, before tossing them in the recycling bin check to make sure they are made out of recyclable material.

Furthermore, also make sure they do not contain things such as:

  • Excessive Plastic
  • Glitter
  • Grease
  • Food
  • Paint 

Additionally, if a postcard contains any of these contaminants, it may not be recyclable as these items are not biodegradable and can be bad for the environment. 

However, if you are unable to remove these items from your postcard, you must find alternate means of recycling or discarding them with your other waste items.

Furthermore, if these items still make their way into your recycling bin, they can actually hinder the recycling process or contaminate other recyclable items, making them unrecyclable. 

Conclusion

Postcards are easily recyclable, but that does not mean you should not explore ways to reuse them, which is another form of recycling. 

Furthermore, there are a ton of fun ways to creatively repurpose old postcards. For example, using your postcards through art is a great way to preserve a memory of an experience you enjoyed.

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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