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 Paper vs Plastic: Can Laminated Paper Be Recycled?

Posted on Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2011

Paper and plastic are commonly recycled goods and though they can be thrown into the recycling bin, a combination of the two, such as with laminated paper, cannot be.  The reason being that you cannot mix paper with plastic in the recycling process because contamination will occur. Centers use a water process to break down the paper, whereas plastics require heat to break down. So if the two are placed together, the result will be an unusable product. ( &

The best solution would be to reduce the amount of paper that needs to be laminated to a need-be basis. You can also reuse your laminated paper as cup place-mats so you don't stain desks/tables ( or anything else that you need to repel water) or use them as dividers for binders.

If you do need a protective cover, you can always buy plastic sleeves. You can reuse them multiple times, and they separate when it's time to recycle them. They can be found at any office supply store. 

Tags: Creative Re-use of Materials, Mixed Recycling, Office supplies, Paper, Plastic, Waste

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The Basics:
  • Recycling: paper, plastic (#1-#7), glass, aluminum, tin. Look for BLUE.
  • Compost: food waste, biodegradable material, (if it was once alive, it can be composted!). Look for GREEN.
  • Landfill waste: everything else! Look for RED or BLACK.
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