Can You Recycle Business Cards? (And 10 Ways to Dispose of)

Today, businesses are at the forefront of reducing waste in the world. One way through which they achieve this is via their commitment to a paperless office. However, while the use of papers is fast decreasing in various companies, one paper type that continues to thrive is a business card.

Even today, people continue to rely heavily on business cards to promote themselves. However, with the emergence of new designs or changes in position or company, people often need to get new business cards.

So, the issue becomes what happens to the old ones? How do we protect the environment even as we get new business cards? Are business cards recyclable? We recognize that all these questions are relevant to ensure you can make the right choice.

So, in this post, we’ll answer the question, can you recycle business cards. We’ll also tell you other things you need to know, including how to dispose of your old business card. Dive in!

Are Business Cards Recyclable?

When we talk about recycling, it involves a process through which we convert waste materials into reusable items. This process aims to ensure that we don’t have to keep going back to exploit our natural resources to produce new products. Even more, we can avoid accumulating waste which results in pollution and affects our environment negatively.

While the clamor to recycle our waste has increased considerably, the reality is that not all of our waste products are recyclable. As such, it becomes necessary for you to decipher if you can recycle a particular waste.

So, can you recycle business cards?

Yes, in most cases, you’ll find that you can recycle your business cards. In fact, not only do recycling companies accept business cards, but you can also get creative on your own. You can recycle it by yourself by putting it to some alternative use. Don’t worry; we’ll be sure to tell you some of these uses later in this post.

You might be wondering why it’s possible to recycle business cards. Well, this is thanks to the material that constitutes business cards. As you know, business cards are usually made of paper. Luckily most recycling companies accept paper and other paper materials for recycling.

It’s just the same way you can recycle your cardboard and newspaper that you can recycle your business cards. In turn, you reduce the number of trees that need to get cut down, you conserve our natural resource, save energy, and reduce the predominance of landfilling.

However, keep in mind that there’s a limitation to this. When it comes to paper recycling, companies don’t accept thermal receipts or papers that contain aluminum, paint, wax, or grease. As such, if your business card contains any of these materials, then you might find yourself unable to get it to the recycling company.

This is because these things are regarded as a contaminant that makes recycling extremely difficult, if not impossible. At best, you can recycle them for reuse in your home.

Are Glossy Business Cards Recyclable?

Like we were saying, some paper materials are regarded as non-recyclable due to contaminants’ presence in them. In some other cases, it might be due to the presence of other substances that are non-recyclable. However, in this case, the question is whether gloss on your business card qualifies as a contaminant that makes it non-recyclable.

Well, as to the answer, IT DEPENDS!

Generally, various recycling companies will not turn you and your business card away just because it is glossy. They accept these business cards for recycling. It’s just as they accept magazines, fliers, and brochures with a shining surface.

So, if your local recycling company has once accepted any of those other shiny papers from you, there’s a high chance that they’ll accept your glossy business card. All you need to do is just get it to them, and you can be sure you’re protecting your environment.

This is because your glossy business card gets that shiny surface from the addition of additives like resins and minerals. And in such cases, the recycling company can remove them from the paper business card during the recycling process.

However, there are some other cases where your glossy paper might be unrecyclable. This involves cases where your business cards have extra plastic or polymer coatings to make them more impressive and durable. Here, the recycling company will find it impossible to recycle them.

We bet you’re wondering how to tell if the glossy business card you have is one that you can recycle or one that you cannot. Well, it’s quite easy. All you need to do is this.

Try to tear one of the cards. If it tears easily, then you can go to the recycling center with it. However, if there’s a struggle with tearing it, then the recycling company will not accept it.

You can also try to crumble or fold it. If it stays crumbled or folded, then you can be on your way to the recycling center. On the other hand, if it doesn’t, you might want to consider alternatives to curbside recycling.

Are Business Cards Biodegradable?

The next issue concerns whether your business cards are biodegradable. And this is very important if you’re one that’s committed to the environment’s protection. But just before we answer the question, what does it mean for something to be biodegradable?

When we talk about biodegradability, we say that something can be decomposed by living organisms, usually bacteria. In this case, the material returns to its base level such that there is no landfill pollution. For instance, the item can decompose and become water or methane, biomass, or even carbon dioxide.

So, back to the question, are business cards biodegradable?

Well, luckily for the environment, business cards are generally biodegradable. This is because they are made up of paper which comes from a living organism, a tree. So, if you’ve got a business card, you don’t have to worry too much about pollution; they biodegrade in time. In fact, it takes around 6 weeks for you to notice that it’s degrading.

However, you’ll need to keep in mind that in some cases, your business card might not be biodegradable. This is in cases where it has plastic coatings. In such a situation, plastic exists to protect the paper material and offer more durability.

Even worse, these plastic materials are usually non-biodegradable in turn; what this means is that the plastic coating will stop your business card from biodegrading.

Are Business Cards Eco-Friendly?

Since we already established that your business cards are usually recyclable and biodegradable, you might be quick to assume that they are eco-friendly. After all, they won’t leave so much waste behind. However, while this is true, the idea of being eco-friendly far exceeds this.

You’ll remember that business cards are made from trees. In turn, business cards’ production comes from tree felling, an act that is far from eco-friendly. In fact, tree felling account for a wide range of issues regarding deforestation problems. We bet you would disagree that something like this counts as eco-friendly.

Even worse, the felling of trees also involves various machinery that relies on fossil fuels. The significant amount of forest acres cut every year – 32 million – shows just how much carbon mono oxide is released into the environment just to make that business card.

However, things are not such gloom with business cards. While they are far from eco-friendly in their production process, their end-use fares better. For instance, you can recycle them, which reduces the pressure on existing trees for raw materials. Also, they are biodegradable, which ensures they won’t last a lifetime if they end up in a landfill.

So, eventually, things are not so bad at the end of the road.

10 Innovative Ways to Dispose of Old Business Cards

If you remembered, we told you that you could recycle your old business cards yourself by putting them to other users. That sounded interesting, right? Here are ten options that you can apply your business card to. 

1. Use the Cards as Bookmarks

The first thing you can do with your old business card is to use a bookmark. This is a good idea, especially if you’re an avid reader. You don’t have to worry about bending your books anymore.

2. Create a Collage

Another thing you can do is create an artwork out of this bunch of old cards. All you need to do is arrange them creatively. You can even get scissors and cut them into shape, then join them together if you feel like it.

3. Use Them as Labels

You can also use your old business cards as labels. All you need to do is write the description on the blank part, and you’re good to go. You can then get something to stick them to the files that you want to label.

4. Use Them as Gift Tags

You can also use these cards as gift tags. All you need to do is decorate and paint them to your taste. You can even design them in such a way that you leave short messages on them. Then, when next you’ve got to gift someone something, you add it.

5. Create New Business Cards

Don’t be shocked; you can also create new business cards from your old ones as long as the cards are still intact. All you need to do is paint the old ones. You can then print the new design on it. See, you’re saving money.

6. Box for Your Business Cards

You can also create a box for your new card with your old ones. All you need to do is arrange them in a box-like manner. Then, once you do, you can stick them together using glue. You can always double the cards to ensure the box is sturdy and durable.

7. Create Table Cards

You can also use your old cards to create table place cards for your next event. All you need to do is paint them and label them with the seat numbers. Then, you can hand it over to your guests as you send your invitation.

8. Create a Deck of Playing Cards

You can even create a deck of playing cards if you’re a lover of card games. All you need to do is paint the cards to your taste. You can then stick construction paper over it to create your custom card game.

9. Create Guitar Picks

You’ll need high-quality business cards for this. However, if you’ve got them, this is something that represents a good use of your old business cards. You can always check online for how to get this done. But believe us, it will be worth your time.

10. Origami

Finally, you can create origami with your old cards. Again, they’ll need to be of good quality and be thick. Once you have this, you can create a wide range of things, from small animals to big and colorful orbs.


As you can see, your business cards don’t need to end up in the trash can just because you’re changing your business card. You can put them to better use. In this post, we’ve discussed all of that. So, read up and enjoy!


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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.