Are Paper Clips Recyclable? (And Alternatives to Paper Clips)

If you work in the office or a school, the chances are that you have a lot of paper clips to deal with. These tiny objects help you hold your stacks of papers together. But then, there are more to paper clips than what you use them for.

Regardless, your paper clips would likely end up being less useful. And the next thing on your mind is recycling.

We understand that you have got some questions. And that is why we are here.

In this post, we will answer the question, are paper clips recyclable. Then, we will answer other related questions.

Let’s go!

Can You Recycle Paper Clips?

If you deal with a lot of paperwork, you probably would have many paper clips by the side. Right, you can always use the paper clips again, but you stop to wonder sometimes if you can recycle them. After all, many people now concern themselves with keeping the earth safe, so why won’t you?

The good news is that you can always recycle paper clips. But wait. You can’t just begin to dump all your paper clips in the recycle bin; let’s tell you how to go about it.

Paper clips come from metals or steel wire. And so, they are easily recyclable. However, because they are tiny, they may not easily be sorted with other metals. Hence, it may pose problems for the recycler.

What you need to do to get them recycled is for you to gather them in bulk as scrap metals. This way, they don’t end up escaping recycling because of their size.

So, now that you know paper clips are recyclable, what are you waiting for? Start gathering them in bulk, and save the environment.

Can You Dispose of Paper Clips?

Generally, there is hardly anything you can’t dispose of. You just have to know when and how to dispose of it.

When it comes to paper clips, you can dispose of it. But, for efficiency, since it is reusable, we urge you to make great use of it before you think of disposing of it.

There are many reasons you should dispose of paper clips. An essential reason is so you can avoid home hazards.

If you have kids, it might be unsafe to keep paper clips around their reach. They don’t discern and might swallow it. Or put it in any of the body’s openings.

Now, in disposing of your paper clips, make sure you bag them. Put them in a plastic or paper bag, then tie it properly. You can then take it to your bin outside. Ensure the bin is in a visible place and make sure it is closed.

How Long Does a Paper Clip Last?

You probably know that paper clips are reusable. But one thing is that you don’t know how long you can use them. The thing is, it depends on the type of paper clips you are using.

There are standard paper clips that come from metals or steel. Then, some come from plastics, and others come from sustainable wood pulp.

If you are using the metal paper clips, then you should know what the answer is. You can use it as long as the paper clips are still in shape. Once you don’t bend it out of shape and don’t misplace it, you can use it for years.

The plastic paper clips are the second in line. They last longer than the paper clip. But don’t last as long as the metal paper clips.

The reason is that plastic paper clips are breakable. If you use them to hold more than 25 paper sheets together, they may enlarge and break. Also, if you don’t take care while using them, they can easily break.

The last is the paper clips. These are also strong but come from the pulp. Hence, they get easily worn out.

If you spill liquid on them, and you don’t like it, they may become useless. They are also great at holding papers and can hold up to 20 sheets together.

Now that you know how long your paper clips can last, you would want to make a wiser choice when stocking up next time. Remember to be environmentally conscious.

Are Paper Clips Toxic?

When you use paper clips for their purpose, they are perfectly safe. However, beyond their primary purpose, do they carry some toxic materials? Probably they can harm you or the environment. Let’s find out.

Paper clips that are made with paper are not toxic. However, when they are dyed, the dye may contain some toxic chemicals. Hence, always ensure that you dispose of them properly for recycling.

Also, don’t chew or allow your kids to chew them. This is so that the chemicals won’t wear into your mouth after coming in contact with saliva.

Metal or steel paper clips may not be safe. The reason is that that may contain lead. Hence, always avoid chewing them or disposing of them anyhow.

The third is the plastic paper clips. We all know that plastic materials come with toxic chemicals. Many of them are not PFOA safe.

Worst still, they are not recyclable. So, as much as you would, always avoid plastic paper clips. If you dispose of them, they can harm the environment. Don’t chew them; they may release some unpleasant chemicals.

Lastly, in all you do, don’t chew any of your paper clips. We know many are in the habit of sticking paper clips in their mouth, but this is unhealthy.

The paper clips might have come in contact with germs. They may contain lead, dye, or other toxic chemicals. If you chew them, they can wear your enamel and damage your teeth and gums. While chewing, you may swallow them. This has great implications for your health. And you might need surgery to get normal.

So, as long as you use paper clips of any materials, avoid bringing them in contact with your mouth. And keep them out of the reach of your kids. If you think you are fixated with chewing, why not replace those paper clips with gums or candy?

Do You Have to Use Paper Clips? (Clever Alternatives to it)

Now, you know paper clips could contain some materials. You really want to play safe.

So, are you scouting for an alternative? Well, look no further. We have brought you some cool alternatives to paper clips.

1. Rubber Bands

You can use rubber bands as an alternative to paper clips. They do great jobs, just like your paper clips. You just have to get your stack of papers and put the rubber bands around it.

It doesn’t roughen it, and you can be sure that your paper stack will still be intact when you need it. Just make sure you buy the thick and wide ones so they can last you for a long time.

2. Pac Man Vinyl Coated Clips

If you love the idea of fanciful looking clips, you should consider using the Pac Man Vinyl Coated Clips. They come in different shapes and colors to give your paper a nice look while also holding the stack perfectly together.

If you are tired of your metal paper clips, you can check this out. You would love the beauty.

3. Paper Fastener and Punchers

The process of using this is quite long, but it’s great for holding papers anyway. It can surely serve as an alternative to your paper clips.

You use the puncher to make holes in your stack of papers. Put in the paper fastener, which is a long thin thread or a flexible prong. After doing these, you can be sure that your paper stack is firm and won’t fall off.

4. Slide Binders

If you don’t like the idea of holes in your documents, then the side binder is for you.

The side binder is like the paper fastener and puncher. However, you don’t have to punch holes in your document.

You just have to place it at the side of your paper stack. Ensure you clip the jaws of the slide binders to your stack. Once you do this, you can then lock it by sliding it forward. This way, your paper is firm until you slide out the slide binders.

5. Binder Clips

If you need to bind some thick stack of papers, then the binder clips may be what you need. They are big enough to hold your large stacks, and they don’t easily get lost like your paper clips. They are in different sizes and have fierce grab teeth to hold your paper firmly without damaging it.


Are Paper Clips Biodegradable?

The answer to this question depends on the kind of paper clips you are using. You probably know that paper clips come in metals, plastic, and paper. If you know this, then the answer is easy.

The only player clips not biodegradable are the ones that come in plastics. We all know that plastic products end up in landfills. Plastic paper clips are not different. They can take thousands of years to degrade. And if they are washed away, they may harm aquatic life.

For the metal paper clips, they are biodegradable. However, they may take years before they degrade. Here, they may litter the landfill for years. And, since meant metal products contain lead, they may not be eco-friendly.

The paper clips made with paper are the best when it comes to being degradable. They degrade easily and quickly. Average, they take about three months to degrade totally. They are very eco-friendly and don’t fill up the landfills.

Next time you are considering stocking up, always remember the environmental effect of your paper clips. As much as possible, go for the ones that are made with paper.

Are Paper Clips Compostable?

Yes and No. Yes, because the paper clips that come in paper materials are compostable. No, because the metal and plastic paper clips are not compostable.

Pretty much the answer depends on your type of paper clips. If you are using the ones on paper, you can always toss them in the compost bin. However, you must also be careful. The ones that have dyes in them may not be good for your compost bin. The dyes may contain some chemicals that can be toxic for the bacteria in your compost bin.

Are Paper Clips Bad for the Environment?

If you use metal or plastic paper clips, they may be bad for the environment. One, the metal may contain lead. Two, the plastic may contain PFOA chemicals. Three, both metal and plastic products don’t degrade faster. If plastic is washed into the sea, it may harm aquatic life.

So, except you want to use the paper clips that come from the pulp, other types may be contributing negatively to the environment.

What Can You Do with Old Paper Clips?

There is hardly anything that doesn’t have alternative uses. If you have old paper clips, you can get creative about them. Let’s show you how.

1. Keep Your Food Fresh

If you have some snacks or fruits or veggies left, and you don’t want air in them, you can use the paper clips to fasten the opening together.

This will help you keep your food safe and free from air.

2. Hanger

Paper clips are made in a way to help you hold things firmly. If you have some lightweight objects, you can hold them up with a paper clip. Use it to hold your paper painting while it dries.

3. Fit your zip

For many of us, our zip puller goes off sooner than we expect. If this is the case, don’t worry too much. You can always use your metal paper clip to pull the zip. Just put it in and allow it to hold it firmly.

The list for what you can do with your paper clips go on and on. But we want you to break the creative limit. Put your paper clips to great use, and let us know how you did it.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.