Recycling mistakes you didn't know you were making, part 3: Paper

Paper seems to be the easiest to recycle, right? But what about post-its, wrapping paper, greasy pizza boxes etc.? Let us take a look in detail.

Generally speaking, paper and cardboard are widely recycled in the UK but are sometimes collected seperately. You can find out about your region here.

Wrapping paper:

A lot of used wrapping paper becomes unfit for recycling because it has sticky tape all over it. A problem is also shiny/metallised wrapping paper. “The ‘scrunch test’ will tell you if you can recycle it: crumple a piece of wrapping paper in your hand – if it unfolds when you open your hand, it can’t be recycled. Paper that stays scrunched up in a ball is safe to put in the recycling”, recommends Recycle Now.

Stained paper/cardbord:

Paper that is stained with food, grease, paint or dirt cannot be recycled as well as baking paper. But: Cardbord pizza boxes are recyclable, even when stained or greasy as long as they are empty.

Coffee cups:

Paper coffee cups normally have a waterproof plastic lining and are therefore not normally accepted in household recycling collection schemes. Some coffee store chains, like Costa for example, recycle them for you.

Envelopes, even including those with a window, can go in your recycling bin.


  • Sticky papers (e.g. Post-it notes, sticky labels or paper tape) unfortunately can’t be recycled.
  • Paper receipts, public transport and parking tickets made of thermal paper
  • Scratch cards
  • Tissues, wet wipes and used paper towels 

Image: Pixabay

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Written by Sonja

Recycling mistakes you didn't know you were making, part 2: Paper receipts

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