Recycling Jigsaw Puzzles: Options and Best Practices

Recycling jigsaw puzzles can be tricky, as they are often made of cardboard and paper but also contain small pieces and potentially plastic or other materials. Here are a few options for recycling jigsaw puzzles:

  1. Donate the puzzle: Consider donating it to a thrift store, school, daycare center, or other organization that can use it.
  2. Break the puzzle down and recycle the pieces: If you don’t want to keep the puzzle or donate it, you can try breaking it down into its pieces and recycling the cardboard and paper. If the puzzle has a plastic or other materials, you may need to remove those before recycling the cardboard.
  3. Check with your local recycling program: Some local recycling programs may have specific guidelines for recycling puzzles. Contact your local program to see if they have any recommendations for recycling your puzzle.
  4. Consider repurposing the puzzle: If you don’t want to recycle the puzzle, you could try repurposing it in another way. For example, you could use the pieces as craft materials or create a new puzzle by gluing the pieces to a piece of cardboard.

Where to Recycle Jigsaw Puzzles

There are a few options for where to recycle jigsaw puzzles:

  1. Local recycling program: Some local recycling programs may accept jigsaw puzzles for recycling. Contact your local program to see if they have any specific guidelines for recycling puzzles.
  2. Recycling centers: Many recycling centers will accept cardboard and paper products, including jigsaw puzzles, for recycling. You may need to break the puzzle down into its pieces and remove any plastic or other non-recyclable materials before taking it to the recycling center.
  3. Thrift stores or other organizations: Consider donating the puzzle to a thrift store, school, daycare center, or other organization that can use it. This can help extend the life of the puzzle and keep it out of landfill.
  4. Repurpose the puzzle: If you don’t want to recycle it, you could try repurposing it in another way. For example, you could use the pieces as craft materials or create a new puzzle by gluing the pieces to a piece of cardboard.

Donating Puzzles to Thrift Stores or Organizations

Donating puzzles to thrift stores or organizations is a great way to recycle your puzzles and give them a second life. Many thrift stores, schools, daycare centers, and other organizations will accept gently used puzzles as donations. Here are a few steps to follow when donating puzzles:

  1. Make sure the puzzle is complete: Donate only puzzles that are complete and in good condition.
  2. Check with the organization: Contact the thrift store or organization you are considering donating to and ask if they accept puzzle donations. Some places may have specific guidelines for the types of puzzles they accept.
  3. Gather the pieces: Make sure all the puzzle pieces are accounted for and placed in a bag or box.
  4. Transport the puzzle: Bring the puzzle to the thrift store or organization, or consider mailing it if the organization is located far away.

By donating your puzzle, you can help reduce waste and give the puzzle a new home that someone else can enjoy.

Checking with Local Recycling Programs for Guidelines

Checking with your local recycling program is a great way to discover the specific guidelines for recycling jigsaw puzzles in your area. Here are a few steps to follow when checking with your local recycling program:

  1. Locate your local recycling program: You can typically find information about your local recycling program on the website of your city or county government or by contacting your waste management company.
  2. Look for information on recycling puzzles: Check the website or contact the recycling program to find out if they have any guidelines or recommendations for recycling jigsaw puzzles.
  3. Follow the guidelines: If your local recycling program has specific guidelines for recycling puzzles, follow them when recycling your puzzle. This may include separating the puzzle pieces by material type, removing plastic or other non-recyclable materials, or following specific packaging requirements.

By following the guidelines of your local recycling program, you can ensure that your puzzle is recycled in the most effective and environmentally-friendly way possible.

Alternative Disposal Options for Puzzles with Non-recyclable Materials

If your jigsaw puzzle contains non-recyclable materials, such as plastic, you may have to consider alternative disposal options. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Remove the non-recyclable materials: If possible, try to remove any non-recyclable materials from the puzzle before recycling the remaining pieces. For example, you could remove any plastic connectors or clips and recycle the cardboard pieces separately.
  2. Check with your local recycling program: Some local recycling programs may have guidelines for recycling puzzles that contain non-recyclable materials. Contact your local program to see if they have any recommendations for disposing of these puzzles.
  3. Consider repurposing the puzzle: If you don’t want to recycle the puzzle and cannot remove the non-recyclable materials, you could try repurposing the puzzle in another way. For example, you could use the pieces as craft materials or create a new puzzle by gluing the pieces to a piece of cardboard.
  4. Dispose of the puzzle in the trash: As a last resort, you may have to dispose of the puzzle in the garbage if it cannot be recycled or repurposed.

Creative Ideas for Reusing Puzzles

If you have an old jigsaw puzzle that you no longer want to keep or donate, you may be able to repurpose it creatively. Here are a few ideas for reusing puzzles:

  1. Use the pieces as craft materials: Puzzle pieces can be fun and unique to use in crafts. You can glue the pieces to a piece of cardboard or wood to create a decorative piece of art or use them to create jewelry, magnets, or other crafts.
  2. Create a new puzzle: If you have a puzzle with missing pieces or one in poor condition, you can try creating a new puzzle by gluing the pieces to pieces of cardboard or wood. You can then cut the new puzzle into the desired shape and size.
  3. Use the puzzle as a teaching tool: Puzzles can be a great way to teach kids about recycling and upcycling. You can use the puzzle pieces to discuss the importance of reducing waste and finding new uses for old things.
  4. Donate the puzzle to a school or daycare center: Schools and daycare centers often welcome donations of gently used puzzles as a low-cost activity for children.

I hope these ideas inspire you to get creative with your old puzzles.

Conclusion

Recycling jigsaw puzzles can be tricky, as they are often made of cardboard and paper but also contain small pieces and potentially plastic or other materials. However, there are several options for recycling puzzles, including donating them to thrift stores or organizations, breaking them down to recycle the individual pieces, checking with local recycling programs for guidelines, and creatively repurposing the puzzle.

Considering these options, you can help reduce waste and give your old puzzles a new life.