How to Recycle Paper Pictures

Written by nancy lovering Google
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How to Recycle Paper Pictures
Clear out old photographic prints from your storage. (piles de photos 1 image by thierry planche from

Before the onset of digital photography, most photographs were developed in print form. A roll sent in for development would have all the images printed, whether you wanted them or not. As a result, many people have old photographs stored in their homes that they wish to get rid of. Since photographs cannot be put in paper recycling because the chemicals they contain are contaminants, they will end up in a landfill unless you find an alternate way to recycle them.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Thin cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Poster board

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  1. 1

    Contact your local recycling company to inquire about photographic prints. It may know of specialised recyclers that can accommodate the chemicals used in photos or have an alternate suggestion for what to do with your photos.

  2. 2

    Contact schools or preschool centres in your neighbourhood to see if they can use old photographs. Many educational projects can involve the use of photographic prints.

  3. 3

    Use your photos in a scrapbook if you are unable to pass them on to be used by someone else. Scrapbooking is a fun and easy way to use printed photographs to preserve memories.

  4. 4

    Make a small puzzle from each print, or group several prints together to make a larger puzzle. Attach the prints to the cardboard from an empty cereal box and cut them into puzzle pieces.

  5. 5

    Create postcards with your old prints. Attach each print to white cardboard backing for the to and from addresses, message and postage stamp.

  6. 6

    Create collages from old photos. This is another fun activity for children. Sit them down with your photos, child-safe scissors, glue and sheets of poster board. See what kinds of fun and creative images they come up with.

  7. 7

    Make place mats out of prints. Group several photographs together, attach them to heavy stock paper or thin cardboard and have it laminated.

Tips and warnings

  • If your project involves attaching your photo to another surface like cardboard, use acid-free supplies, such as photo glue or two-sided tape designed for photographs, to avoid damaging your print.

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