DEC reviews recycling guidelines ahead of Valentine’s Day litter

antique valentines

A large collection of 3D Valentine’s Day cards from as early as 1901 displayed in a West Virginia home. (Anthony Davis/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Just in time for an avalanche of paper Valentines, the Department of Environmental Conservation released a refresher Thursday on recycling paper products.

According to the Environmental protection agency, paper measures up as the most recycled material in the country. Usually, there are four different weights of paper products—newsprint, paper, cardstock, and cardboard—all of which are recyclable.

To transform used paper back into wood pulp, it must be clean, dry, and mostly uncontaminated by food and grease.

For Valentine’s Day, the Department of Environmental Conservation suggests giving environmentally friendly cards to your loved ones. Avoid cards with shiny elements, and choose ones that are recyclable, recycled, or upcycled.

Valentines should be fine to recycle. Remember, do not recycle the following items with paper:

  • Metal, foil, glittery, or large plastic components attached to paper products
  • Padded, bubble-wrapped, and Tyvek envelopes and mailers
  • Plastic inserts, fake credit cards, and other slim, fake cardstock made of plastic
  • Receipts
  • Paper towels, napkins, and tissue, even if they’re clean
  • Soiled paper plates, bowls, takeout boxes, etc.

These paper items are recyclable:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Mail (even in envelopes with a plastic address window)
  • Office paper, stationery
  • Greeting cards, holiday cards, and get-well-soon cards
  • Paper bags
  • Packages and boxes
  • Cardstock containers and tubes
  • Softcover books

Check with your recycling provider to make sure you can recycle:

  • Wrapping paper
  • Pizza boxes
  • Paper cups

Bonus steps:

  • Try recycling staples, clean foil, and metallic lids with your cans.
  • Opting out of junk mail by registering on the national Do Not Mail list.
  • Compost paper towels and napkins that have not been used with chemical cleansers.
  • Compost paper products soiled with food.


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