Recycling at work: What can be recycled?

Recycling in commercial enterprises is important because commercial waste makes up about 40 percent of total solid waste. Business and industry operations generate recyclable materials in many areas, such as offices, cafeterias, supply stores, shipping or warehouse units, print shops, and production areas.

Collecting recyclables costs money, but it also reduces the volume of waste that must be disposed of. The sale of some recyclable materials can also generate revenues. Here is what you can do to help make recycling in the office a success.


Most types of paper are recyclable. Office paper is usually collected in two grades: high-grade and mixed paper.

High-grade paper typically consists of white copier paper, white computer paper, white office stationery, and white note paper.

Mixed office paper includes nearly all paper generated in an office, including both white and colored paper, newspapers, file folders, manila envelopes, and paperback books. Because it is not usually sorted, mixed paper is considered to be low quality and generally gets low market prices.

Glossy paper, tape, and envelopes with plastic windows are usually not bought by buyers. The highest prices are paid for sorted paper with little contamination.

Corrugated Containers (Cardboard)

The commercial sector generates more corrugated cardboard than any other single material. Cardboard is a very good for recycling because it is easily separated from other materials.

Collecting cardboard for recycling can involve removing contaminants, flattening boxes, and baling or tying them together for pickup.


Many buyers require that collected glass be separated by color (clear, green, and brown) before pickup, although some will accept mixed glass.

Typically, broken glass and paper labels are acceptable. Most buyers require, however, that glass be clean and free of contaminants such as bottle caps, ceramics, rocks, and light bulbs.


Aluminum and tin, steel cans, aluminum foil, and other scrap metals are readily recyclable. Some metals, such as copper and aluminum, can yield high market prices. Collection requirements depend on the metal type and the local market situation.


While plastic recycling is a relatively young industry, it is expected to expand as processing technologies develop. To recycle recovered plastic materials into high-quality products, they must be separated by resin type.

The plastic resins most commonly recycled are used in soda bottles, and in milk jugs.

  1. Malaysia Ministry of Housing and Local Government

Back to the top

Share this page

Knowledge Base ID :   1171
Last Reviewed :   January 4, 2017
Tags :  

Related Knowledge Base Issues