How can I reuse or recycle magazines?

magazinesI discovered something amazing the other day: in four and a half years of running this site, after asking “how can I recycle this?” about over 850 different things, we somehow have managed to miss mentioning magazines. We’ve covered the plastic baggies they’re delivered in and various similar paper items like catalogues – but not magazines. Shocking!

The discovery happened because a friend of ours has 300+ old New Scientist magazines that he no longer wants and would like a green option for disposing of them.

A few years ago, many paper recycling bins couldn’t accept glossy paper – they were either office paper or newspaper only – but that’s changed now and magazines can be recycled in most paper bins so as a minimum, our friend could do that. He could also try giving them away on his local Freecycle/Freegle group – the magazines will be out of date from a news point of view but someone still might want to read the not so time critical articles.

For smaller quantities of magazines, there are a lot of examples of people re-using magazines for crafts – often using rolled up pages to make photo frames or ornamental bowls.

Any other suggestions?

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19 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle magazines?”


  1. Cathryn says:

    The obvious answer to that, though a bit late for your friend, is to pass them on to someone else. Also, doctors and dentists are often keen to have recent magazines and it would be so good to find something like New Scientist rather than the usual range of Hello! and the like.

    Eventually, they’ll end up in the recycling, but how much better if they’ve been read by 10 people rather than 1.

  2. Save them all up and make lots of Christmas trees for decorations.

    http://bit.ly/8TNfwg

  3. Save them up and make Christmas Tree decorations.

    http://bit.ly/8TNfwg

  4. Cipollina says:

    A good magazine can be read at the library for free, so my solution would be not to buy them in the first place. Same with academic journals and newspapers, for which there often are online editions, too.

  5. Bobbie says:

    I make collages and heartily recommend them for young and old. Collages can be applied to almost anything; luggage, table tops, walls, floors, vases, dishes etc.

  6. Melinda says:

    -Schools and places that have art classes for children often want magazines for the pictures and words to cut out for collages and decupage. Check with them first.

    - My mother used the uniform magazine pages as the basis of several quilts. Quilt blocks don’t need to be square, and the rectangles worked well. She sewed the fabric to the paper and peeled it off later. This is especially good for crazy quilts.

  7. Nicole says:

    I like to reuse them… drop them off at your dentist’s office, your gym, the lunch room at work, give them to friends and family.

  8. Stefanie says:

    I use magazines as a basis for all kinds of stuff – greeting cards and envelopes, gift tags, gift wrap, gift bags, etc. http://www.recycle-eh.com/apps/blog/entries/search?query=magazines&query_temp=magazines

  9. I have used magazines for a lot of things. One thing I like using them for is a layer under mulch when landscaping. It keeps the weeds from sprouding up in my flowers beds and gardens.

  10. Dyneshia says:

    We usually send the ones we have to Soldiers who are serving like in Afghanistan or such place. A lot of times they really enjoy “something from home” and are able to pass them along to many others as they finish.

  11. I don’t have magazine subscriptions and have very few mags, but friends with magazines normally come to me for recycling/donating solutions, and this is what I have recommended:
    - Good quality reading materials such as Nat Geo, Popular Mechanics, Good Housekeeping etc can go to clinics, barbers, hairstylists, community centres, youth centres and women’s shelters.
    - Outdated magazines with lots of pics can go to community/youth centres to be used in ‘arts and crafts’ projects.
    - We have a local women’s welfare initiative called “Salam Wanita” and they accept old glossies, including catalogues. The pages are cut/torn, rolled into tight tubes, and woven into baskets, bowls and coasters, which will be sold to raise funds for needy women.

  12. Pam says:

    I run a kids group in my church and one idea that I created is to pre-cut small pictures of items from magazines and catalogs such as: a ball, a girl, a crayon, a dragon etc…. and mix them up in a box that you cant see through (like a shoebox.)

    First, have the children start a story with a few sentences based solely on the first picture they pull from the box. For instance if they pull out a picture of a dragon they can start the story about a dragon. (And have them glue the picture to the paper at the beginning of the sentence.)

    Then after a few sentences and/or a few minutes, have the children fold that part down and pass the paper to the child to the left/right. At this point, the next child will pull a second item and continue the story as if he never switched. (they can’t look at the neighbors previous sentence. Then after that turn, continue these steps about 5 times.

    Finally after the last switch, they would conclude the story with a happy, silly, or absurd ending! Then the child that ended the story would pass it one last time to read out loud. It’s interesting to see what the child will think of. They will surprise you. It really opens their imagination.

    -Pam

  13. We re-use old magazines and cereal boxes to make paper beads. Great fun for the kids to do in the holidays. Check out my blog to see a cheerios cereal box being turned into a beautiful necklace.
    http://jayfajewellery.blogspot.com/2010/07/recycled-cheerios-box-necklace.html

    Emma

  14. Anna says:

    I rarely buy magazines. Maybe once a year and when they ace something I want with them (a bag, bike is etc). In US they rarely come with a nice freebie so I haven’t bought a magazine in over a year.
    But when I buy one, I either reuse it (they make awesome envelopes for letters, just use the graphical pages or ads) or give forward to friends. Or find your local book crossing spot. And drop the magazines there

  15. animepowerranger22 says:

    make collages decorate binders,notebooks,and other schools supplies!!! i even decorated pencils. they also make a good workspace for painting if you dont hav e newspapers!!

  16. animepowerranger22 says:

    or donate to baber shops dentists schools art classes etc.

  17. Allison says:

    I like to make envelopes with them! You can check them out at my etsy store if you like. http://www.etsy.com/shop/UpcyledLife?ref=si_shop



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