Can You Recycle Notebooks

Can You Recycle Notebooks?

How to Be an Eco-Friendly Traveler
How to Be an Eco-Friendly Traveler

Thankfully, the past few years have experienced a massive shift towards sustainability. People are more considerate towards the planet than they were ever before. Suppose you also appreciate such an environment-friendly way of living.

In that case, it’s about time you play your part in saving the eco-system too. To start, take minor yet revolutionary, steps by recycling and reusing your everyday products. Begin with the simplest things and ask yourself if you can recycle notebooks or other such simple products.

As a general rule, spiral-bound notebooks can be recycled with little effort. In order to recycle them, you just need to remove the plastic or metal spiral then place the paper in your curbside recycling bin.

What Kinds of Notebooks are Recyclable?

Modern stationery markets are full of glittery and fashionable notebooks of all sizes. Such notebooks are made of specialized paper and have other such embellished items on them.

Despite such intricacy, it is possible to recycle most of the notebooks currently available in the markets. Even if you can’t recycle a notebook’s cover or props, you can still recycle its paper regardless of its thickness or feel.

Most of the modern notebooks many people have are spiral ones. These are required by almost everyone, from high school students to office workers and doctors and businessmen.

How Many Trees Are Cut Down Each Year For Paper?

On average, around 4.1 million hectares of forest each year are cut down for use in paper goods. It takes about 24 trees to make one ton of paper.

Almost all spirals have a hardcover made either of hardboard or paper, regular lined papers inside, and a spiral binder in metal or plastic.

If you’ve any of these at home, you’re in absolute luck since everything in these notebooks is relatively easy to recycle. Usually, a single machine can do the entire recycling job for you, giving you a fresh new spiral notebook to record your stuff again.

Recycling a Notebook

Another notebook type that many people have with them is the loose-leaf notebook. Such notebooks are like spiral notebooks but with the metal rings holding all the papers from just one or two points. These notebooks are also as easily recyclable as the spiral ones, resulting in a lot of fresh paper to write on.

Many of you might have those notepads or small pocket pads that are all filled, and you don’t know what to do with them. The good news is, they are the easiest to recycle among all kinds of notebooks.

Since most of them are nothing but a stack of papers held together tightly with glue or a piece of card, you don’t even have to worry about your recycler not working for metal or plastic. Instead, you can simply separate the papers, and they will be ready for rebirth in no time.

Other than these, a few lesser common types of notebooks that you can easily recycle may include:

  • Journals
  • Sketchbooks
  • Smooth paper notebooks
  • Cream paper dairies
  • Steel binder notebooks

The Process of Recycling a Notebook

The recycling process would be mostly similar regardless of the kind of notebook you have but may differ slightly depending upon your recycling system. Given below are some steps that you can follow to recycle your notebooks on a general recycler that many have in their homes.

  1. Removing the binders: If you have a notebook with metal or plastic rings or spirals, your first step should be to remove these binders from the notebooks. These binders sometimes disrupt the process of recycling and ruin all the paper that fed to the recycler.

Therefore, you must separate them from the notebooks even if your recycler can recycle metals and plastic. Advanced recyclers in factories usually have an automatic sorting mechanism through which these binders are separated from the paper components of a notebook.

  1. Throwing away the plastic cover: Some notebooks, except the notepads, have plastic sheet covers on them that are not recyclable. You should never take the risk of putting these inside the machine whether you’re using your recycling system, or one installed by the government.

These plastic covers not only ruin the paper during recycling but can also damage the machine. Putting these for processing in some recyclers can leave them entirely useless for the future. Therefore, make sure to remove this cover at all costs.

  1. Separating the hardcover: The next step is to separate the cardboard or any other hard covering of the notebook to be recycled. The hardboard that cover the notebooks are mostly recyclable. However, you have to separate them from paper since they cannot be recycled together in the same recycling compartment.
  2. Removing the colored paper: If your notebook has different colored papers, you will have to take out the bright and dark-colored ones. Most of these highly pigmented papers are not recyclable since they can leave their color pigment on all other things. Therefore, taking them out is the safest option to go with.
  3. Sorting the components in recycler: Now that everything is separated, it’s time to add all the components of your notebooks to the recycler. Start with the standard paper and put all of it inside the regular recycler can. The hardcovers and the thicker papers go to the curbside container of a recycler.

Some recyclers have another can add the metal or plastic spirals. In case yours don’t have it, you can simply take the binders and spirals to a place with facilities advanced enough to recycle them easily.

That’s it. Now you just have to start the recycler and let it do its magic as you think of what you’d write on your brand new spiral.

Can Notebook Binders Be Recycled?

Notebook binders can be recycled by breaking them down into their individual parts. Remove all of the paper products and place them in your curbside recycling bin. The metal rings can be placed in the mixed metals bin at your recycling center. The plastic will need to go in the trash.


Taking simpler steps towards sustainability can have a significant impact on our planet’s future. Recycling your notebooks is not just easy, and economical but valuable too. We all have several useless notebooks in our homes, and we don’t know what to do about them.

Recycling them could be a great way to get rid of all the trash that is boiling out of our storerooms and getting an unlimited supply of free notebooks that we otherwise had to purchase.