Newspaper, catalogues, junk mail, plain paper, colored paper, books, celebration cards (e.g. birthday cards) and envelopes are all made from paper and can be easily recycled.
Paper recycling is profitable for the refuse collection companies and is often used to subsidize less profitable recycling operations, for materials such as plastics. Making recycled paper saves 64% of the energy cost that would be required to make new paper from trees; this cost saving is passed on to your local community. Montclair township, for example, receives $65 for every ton of mixed paper it recycles, whereas it pays money to an incinerator for the paper that is discarded in the general trash. Recycling paper saves your community money allowing greater investment in local schools, roads and other services.
New Jersey law dictates that all newspapers must be recycled. The majority of NJ counties also require the recycling of mixed paper and magazines by both businesses, schools and residents. For details of what your home or business must recycle in your county, see the list provided on the NJ state recycling website.
There are slightly different rules for different areas of New Jersey about which types of paper are collected in the curbside recycling boxes and whether or not they can all be mixed together or should be separated into their different forms.
Check your local town or county recycling website for the details governing your area.
Often your curbside collection will accept mixed paper, meaning that newspaper, junk mail, sheets of paper, catalogues and envelopes can all be put together into the same recycling container.
However, it may be requested that you consider bundling newspapers separately from the other forms of paper and tying the bundles with string. The reason for this request is that if you recycle newspaper only paper it does not contain any of the plastic coatings or glues found in envelopes, magazines or junk mail and therefore, once you have washed out the ink, you are left with an extremely pure form of paper pulp that can be used to make high quality recycled paper products. Mixed paper recycling is normally used to make paperboard (for cereal and food boxes) as this process does not require such high quality starting material.
It may be important to protect your intellectual property or privacy by using a specialist shredded paper recycler who will ensure that your documents are recycled in a way that keeps you protected.
The Document Shredding Directory is a website that maintains a database of shredding and recycling businesses across the US and can help put you in touch with an appropriate shredding and recycling business in your area.
Books can be recycled in your curbside recycling box if you have a mixed paper collection but this is not recommended. It is such a waste of a good book. For ways to reuse books see our dedicated book recycling page.