how to recycle binders

How to recycle 3-ring binders

Are you wondering how to recycle binders? We’ll tell you how to disassemble, where you can recycle, and more.

A common question we face in our industry is how to recycle binders. When it comes to the number of different kinds of 3-ring binders we manufacture, it’s a fair question. Different materials call for different processes and some materials are much harder to find a place for than others.

For this blog, we’ll focus on two very common types of 3-ring binders: turned edge (or litho-wrapped, referred by some) and vinyl. Both are very popular in industries ranging from offices and schools to hospitality and healthcare. If you work in one of those industries, you probably have an empty binder or two lying around. Chances are you have one you’re not even using.

What do you do with it? First and foremost, you can donate it. There may be a need for school supplies at an elementary or middle school near you. You can hold onto it for future use. Or, you can recycle.

If you choose to recycle binders you have, these are the things you need to know.

How to recycle a turned-edge binder

A turned-edge binder is simple to recycle. Essentially there are two parts to it – the cover (board) and the ring metal, or metal rings. All you need to do is separate the ring metal from the cover. To do this, you can stand on the cover and insert the claw of the hammer under the metal and pull. With a little effort and determination, the ring metal will separate from the board.

Once apart, the board and ring metals can be recycled in your cities curbside recycling program. Always check with the city first before recycling.

How to recycle a vinyl binder

For vinyl binders, aside from dealing with the vinyl, the process is very similar. The first step is to cut the vinyl and pull out the chipboard cover. From there you can separate the vinyl, chipboard, and ring metals.

As before, recycle the chipboard and ring metals in your cities curbside recycling program. The vinyl cover, however, can’t be recycled. To get rid of any vinyl material you may have, find a vinyl recycler in North America that’s closest to you to dispose of anything you want to get rid of.

Alternatives to recycling binders

As stated previously, there are alternatives to deconstruction when it comes to recycling your binders. More specifically, vinyl binders. You either don’t want to deal with the hassle or would rather find a way to utilize the binders. Thankfully you’re not the only one!

Donating any binders you may have collecting dust to schools or non-profits are always a very popular idea. Also popular, thanks to the DIY app Pinterest, is to re-purpose – or “upcycle” – them instead. A simple search under “3 ring binders” in the Pinterest search bar will get you right where you need to be.

Any questions on how recycle binders? We’re happy to help! Reach out to us by emailing us at