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NYC - recycle more, waste less New York City Recycles NYC Department of Sanitation
What Paper Can't Be Recycled in NYC's Paper Recycling Program?


With a few exceptions, anything that is 100% paper can be recycled in NYC's paper recycling program.

The exceptions include the paper items listed below that also contain other materials and therefore can't be recycled in NYC's paper recycling program.

Please note that refrigerated cartons (such as milk cartons) and shelf-stable cartons (such as soup cartons) can be recycled with metal, glass, plastics & cartons. See what to recycle with Sanitation.

cereal and cracker box liners: these are plastic or waxed paper and therefore can't be recycled with other paper items.

food-contaminated paper or cardboard: The food particles, greases, and oils leave residues that are contaminants and aren't recyclable.

hard cover books: The binding glue is a contaminant that makes hard cover books difficult to recycle.

ice cream containers, butter boxes, freezer boxes: These items are permeated with a plastic moisture barrier to keep them from disintegrating. They are also contaminated with food.

paper bags lined with plastic: The plastic prevents these items from being recycled with other paper items.

plastic envelopes (such as Tyvek) and plastic-lined mailers: The plastic prevents these items from being recycled with other paper items.

photographs: The chemical coatings on photos are not recyclable.

tissues, napkins, or paper towels: The residues on these items contaminate recycling processes.

waxed paper: Wax makes the paper unrecyclable.

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