Types of Paper That Cannot Be Recycled

Paper can be recycled, but not indefinitely. Using other containers for products when possible saves paper for necessary and unavoidable applications, such as writing paper. Recycling it prevents landfills from filling up and saves trees.


Types of Paper That Cannot Be Recycled

Most paper is recyclable. The exceptions are papers that have been waxed or contaminated with food; toilet tissue; cigarette papers; wallpaper; and of course, archival records.


If you want to ensure that a food container is able to recycled, consider using containers you know your recycling program accepts. These may include glass milk jars or plastic milk jugs. In some cases, food-contaminated papers, such as pizza boxes, are composted instead of landfilled or incinerated, so check with your Department of Environment or Natural Resources.


Even paper that can be recycled can only go through so many times before it can't be used again. According to the Bureau of International Recycling, paper can be recycled four to six times depending on its quality at the outset.


According to Recycling Revolution, recycling just 1 ton of paper saves approximately 17 trees.

Fun Fact

According to the Paper Industry Association Council, 57.4 percent of paper consumed in the U.S. in 2008 was recycled.

About the Author

Kim Leslie has been writing for twelve years and holds degrees from Maryville College and the University of Tennessee. She has written for "Resource Recycling Magazine," "State Laws Recycling Update," "Recycling Laws International" and "Watermarks". She has knowledge of Lupus, GERDs, science education, environmental issues, eldercare, parenting, Pilates and yoga.