7 types of paper that cannot be recycled

This list contains types of paper or paper products that are difficult to recycle.
paper recycling

Even in this digital era, the paper industry is one of the largest industries. For printing, packaging, notebooks, and several other requirements, we still heavily rely on paper. 42% of total wood harvested every year goes for paper production. Recycling paper is the best way to look for before the world shifts to other sustainable ways of making paper.

To make 1 ton of paper, 17 trees are cut down and about 115,000 litres of water is used. But if we choose to recycle, we can save trees, energy, and water as well. But recycling is not as easy as it seems. Even if it’s made from paper, it still cannot be tagged as recyclable.

Here is the list of types of paper that cannot be recycled.

1. Paper cups

Paper cups aren’t biodegradable or recyclable. The LDPE lining that is used to make them sturdy or leak proof is the main reason that makes paper cups difficult to recycle. The chances of getting a plastic cup recycled are higher than getting paper cups recycled.

2. Milk cartons

Milk, juice, and other similar cartons are made of paper but are coated with thin layers of plastic and aluminum. This makes them difficult to recycle for papermaking. But these cartons are targeted by other recyclers who deal majorly in plastic or metal waste. Look out for scrap dealers where you can sell your other types of waste here.

3. Napkins & tissues

Tissues, napkins, paper towels, or any other dirty paper cannot be recycled. Oil from these soiled papers can contaminate the entire batch of paper that’s going into recycling and will be treated as equal to waste.

4. Shredded paper

Shredding shortens and weakens the length of the paper fiber, making it difficult to recycle. But shredded paper can still be used to prepare compost at home.

5. Bill receipts

Most receipts are printed on thermal paper, which contains BPA and thus is neither compostable nor recyclable. So next time, if you can, prefer to go digital and avoid taking any receipts.

6. Gift wraps

Wrapping paper contains chemicals to give colour and designs. These harmful chemicals make wrappings difficult to recycle. Avoid relying on them and switch to sustainable gift wrapping solutions.

7. Parchment paper

Parchment paper is coated with a layer of silicone, and is thus not suitable for recycling. The addition of silicone makes this non-biodegradable as well. But this too has a solution. You can shift to sustainable parchment paper options that are at least biodegradable.

This list primarily includes all types of paper that cannot be recycled, and we have attempted to include all paper categories that you may encounter in your daily life. Others that should be added to the list are soiled pizza boxes, kraft paper and waxed paper, which are non-recyclable.

If you have recycling concerns for any other type of paper, then check that it should not be lined with other harmful products or coated in chemicals. You can also reach out to us and we will try to find the answers to your queries.