Can You Recycle Hanging File Folders?

Hanging file folders are staples in the workplace. I know I have quite a few folders sitting in my office closet. Next time your hanging file folders have run their course, toss them in the recycling bin, not the regular garbage can.

5 Reasons To Recycle
5 Reasons To Recycle

Although you will need to remove any plastic or metal from the folders, recycling hanging file folders takes just about the same amount of time as throwing them away, but it is better for the environment and our planet.

To find out more about how you can recycle hanging file folders, read on.

Hanging File Recycling

Hanging file folders are some of the easiest things to recycle. Since they are primarily made of paper, all you have to do is remove any plastic or metal from the folder, separate the paper from those materials, and toss the paper folder in your recycling bin.

As for the plastic and metal from the folder, you may be able to recycle those bits depending on your local facility. However, not all facilities will accept these materials, and you may need to toss them in your regular garbage can.

How To Recycle Your Folders

Not all recycling centers accept the plastic and metal found on hanging file folders. For this reason, you need to prepare the hanging file folders before sending them to the recycling center. This process is really simple and will only take a couple of seconds to perform.

1. See If You Can Get Other Use Of The Folders

First thing first. See if you can use the hanging file folders somewhere else around your home or office. Even though these materials are recyclable, reusing them is the best way to help the planet since recycling materials takes resources and energy.

You may want to use hanging file folders to organize other materials, make arts and crafts, or anything else that may require thick paper. If you are moving anytime soon, you can also shred the hanging file folders and use the shredded paper as a packing substance.

You can simply reuse hanging file folders for a less creative option by flipping them inside out at the fold. Then, write the file description on the now unused side of the tab. This will double the lifetime of your hanging file folder.

2. Remove Staples, Paper Clips, and Stickers

If you cannot reuse the folder in any way, then it is best to send the folder to the recycling center. Before you send it to the center, remove any staples, paperclips, and plastic stickers or tape from the folder, and any other items inside.

Since this is going to recycling, don’t worry about how pretty the removal of these items looks. You just want to make sure they are gone and can’t mess up the facilities.

3. Remove Index Tab and Metal

Next, you need to remove the index tab and any metal on the hanging file folder. Most modern folders will have a plastic lip instead of a metal one, but it could be made with either material. Regardless of what material is used for the support for the hanging files, remove it.

At this point, you want any trace of wax, plastic, or metal separated from the hanging file folder. The only thing that should remain is the paper folder itself.

4. Separate Materials

Once the materials are separated, you should put the paper folder in your recycling bin. If applicable, you can also separate the plastic and metal into respective recycling bins as well. If there are no recycling options for the plastic and metal, throw that material away in the trash can.

For most recycling facilities, the plastic and metal should not be placed in the recycling bin with the paper. You can call your local facility with any questions regarding the materials. As a rule of thumb, it is easiest to toss the plastic and metal into your regular garbage.

5. Opt For Recycled Hanging File Folders Next Time

After you’ve gotten rid of your old hanging file folders, you may find yourself in need of some new ones. Instead of automatically buying new hanging file folders, see if there are any old ones you can reuse. This is the best way to extend your purchases’ life, and it will save you money.

If you have no old hanging file folders to reuse, then you can purchase a new set. Look for hanging file folders that are made from recycled materials. Though these hanging file folders may cost a dollar or so more, it is a great investment since it is better for the environment.

Hanging File Folder

Other Considerations

In addition to recycling your hanging file folders or reusing them, you can see if any other office or area near you would benefit from your donated file folders.

Shelters, Goodwill Stores, and other non-profit organizations often accept these sorts of materials. They can use them within their own offices, or workers can pass them out to other people who need office supplies but can’t afford them.

If you donate your hanging file folders or any other office supply to organizations of this kind, make sure that they are in good condition and that you remove any personal or confidential information beforehand.

Before dropping off your hanging file folders, call the organization ahead of time. Sometimes, they have an influx of donations, and they don’t need anymore. By calling ahead of time, you may save yourself a wasted trip.

Final Thoughts

Your home office or workplace are great places to find easy ways to recycle. Many office supplies, like hanging file folders, are made from paper, which is completely recyclable.

Instead of throwing out your hanging file folders, recycle them next time by removing the plastic and metal and then putting the remaining paper folder in the recycle bin. Removing the plastic and metal only takes seconds since it doesn’t matter what the folder looks like. Taking these extra few seconds is a great way to help our planet and maximize our available resources.