Are Puzzles Recyclable? What To Know

a jigsaw puzzle being completed with macaroons and coffee next to it

In a world that could stand to benefit from more of a collective effort to keep up with mindful, environmentally-friendly practices, like recycling, it stands to ask the question: are puzzles recyclable? We’re going to take an all-encompassing look at whether you can recycle your puzzles, how you would recycle your puzzles, places you can donate puzzles, and what you can do with your finished puzzles you'd like to keep.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most puzzles are recyclable, but they should be taken to a recycling center.
  • Alternatively, there are plenty of places where you can donate your puzzles. 
  • If puzzle pieces are made of cardboard, you can compost them.

Can You Recycle Puzzles?

At a glance, you’d think a matter involving whether or not puzzles are recyclable would be common sense, but it’s not something we’re necessarily taught in school. With that being said, in a word, yes, puzzles are recyclable. 

When recycling puzzles, it’s not recommended that you put your puzzles in the recycling bin. Instead, you’ll actually want to take the added step of ensuring that your puzzles are entirely separated from whatever other recyclables you have on hand. Additionally, because of the fact that puzzle pieces are most often smaller than other recyclable items you might have, this can translate to a more time-consuming process at a recycling center.

What are other ways you can recycle puzzles?

If you’re not able to locate a recycling center reasonably close to where you live, you can always composting route. However, a crucial thing to note if you opt in for composting your puzzles is that this option is only applicable for puzzles that are made of cardboard, and serves as a highly sustainable alternative as opposed to trying to recycle your puzzle pieces at a recycling center. 

How Do I Recycle Jigsaw Puzzles?

Largely due to the fact that you’ll need to keep your puzzle pieces separate from the rest of your recycling, the best way to bid farewell with your puzzle pieces is to take them to your nearest recycling center. Just do your future self the favor of keeping your pieces separate from your recycling before you get to the recycling center. Do ourself a the favor of calling your recycling center ahead of time to ensure that they will accept puzzles.

Where To Donate Puzzles

If you decide you’re more committed to ensuring that your retired puzzles begin new lives in new homes, there are plenty of places you can donate your puzzles. 

Salvation Army

Salvation Army accepts any puzzles that are marked as being in good condition - they must have all their pieces, they can’t be too difficult to be put together, and lastly, the puzzles can’t have been glued or taped together. 


Goodwill, a nonprofit that also provides job training to many people, accepts puzzles that have been deemed as being in good condition. 

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is another option where you can donate your puzzles. However, you should note that by their rules, every Habitat for Humanity store operates on a different policy when it comes to accepting or not accepting puzzles. If you plan to donate your puzzles to Habitat for Humanity, just make sure that you call the Habitat for Humanity in advance. If they do, indeed, accept donated puzzles, make sure you also ask what their puzzle donation guidelines are. 

What To Do With a Finished Puzzle

You’ve done it. You’ve climbed the mountain. You’ve overcome the frustration, disbelief, self-doubt (maybe even cold rage) and you've completed your puzzle masterpiece. Yes, the puzzle is complete, but now, what to do with that freshly finished puzzle? You’re not alone, if you’ve found yourself possessed by the question of how to frame a puzzle? Puzzles are becoming increasingly complex, visually striking, and when you combine the memories that went into your newly finished puzzle, with its aesthetic appeal, it’s a natural inclination to want to hang that puzzle in your room for your guests to admire.

If framing your puzzle isn’t exactly your cup of tea, then you can re-do the puzzle and try your hand at an all-out puzzle challenge. The premise of a puzzle challenge is simple enough. You can either opt in on timing yourself, to essentially compile a list of your high scores (lower time equals higher score), and send that off to friends with your puzzle, to see if they can top your leaderboard. Or, you can even try breaking out your puzzle the next time you have game night with friends, and challenge one another in-person.


Can you put jigsaw puzzles in the recycling?

Should you decide to recycle your puzzle, you should know that yes, you can recycle your puzzle, but you’ll need to make sure that you take the proper time to separate your puzzle pieces from the rest of your recycling, put them in a bag, and deliver them to your nearest recycling center. It’s not advised for you to simply put your puzzle pieces into your recycling bin with your other recyclables. 

How do you dispose of jigsaw puzzles?

When it comes to disposing of any of your unwanted jigsaw puzzles. You have some different routes at your disposal. You can put your jigsaw puzzle pieces into a bag, and deliver them to your nearest recycling center to recycle your jigsaw puzzle pieces there. Alternatively, you can elect to donate your jigsaw puzzle pieces at a Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Habitat for Humanity (depending on their store policies). You can also compost your puzzle pieces, which is an easy route to dispose of your puzzle pieces!

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