Even in this digital age, some of us just can’t do without our hardcopy magazines. They smell good and oh are they colorful, especially those glossy ones.
But while we may use some of them to cut out images for our vision board every year, it is still very easy to end up with a stack of them. So, what do you do with your piles of glossy magazines after you’re done? Can they be recycled?
Well, that’s what we are going to find out today.
Are glossy magazines recyclable?
Most glossy magazines can be recycled. In fact, they are accepted by most curbside recycling programs.
However, a few magazines are coated using polyethylene instead of earth-derived materials, and therefore can’t be recycled.
How to tell that your glossy magazine is coated with polyethylene (PE)
The easiest way to confirm what type of coating your magazine has is to try to tear it. While magazines coated with natural products will rip easily, those coated with PE won’t.
Also, the latter doesn’t stay crumpled for long even when you ball it up in your hand.
Finally, it doesn’t degrade in water even after being left in it for a couple of hours.
How to recycle glossy magazines
Before you recycle your glossy magazines, ensure they are dry and free of any fluid cosmetic samples. Also, remove any plastic wrapping and stickers from them. Then, you can simply toss them in your paper or mixed pile and send them off to be recycled by your regular curbside program.
Once they reach the recycling plant, the magazines are sorted and mixed with water and chemicals that can convert them into fibers. Afterward, any inks and adhesives on the fibers are removed and they are bonded together. Finally, they are rolled, dried, and used to make new products.
Due to the small size of the resulting fibers, they can only be used to create lesser-quality products like paper towels and egg cartons.
Can you compost glossy magazines?
Any glossy magazines that can be recycled can also be composted. While in the past people worried about the petroleum-based ink used in these magazines, manufacturers have now turned to vegetable-based ones, making composting way easier.
So you don’t have to worry about these magazines affecting the ecosystem of your compost heap. Just ensure that your magazines are cut into small pieces before tossing them in the heap and you should be good to go.
Reuse! Reuse! Reuse!
While recycling magazines does save landfill space and gallons of water, the whole process can still be polluting. As such, it is better to avoid piling them up in the first place – reusing them should be your number one option. You can use them for wrapping things, creating art, and even lining shelves.
And when worse comes to worst, you can always donate them to libraries, hospitals, or nursing homes. No matter how you choose to reuse them, it will be a great win for the environment.