Slam! Uh oh. If your stapler now resembles a mangled mash of plastic and metal, it’s safe to say that that last stack of paper was its final job attempt. It is time to officially retire your trusty, document-binding friend. But, what are the proper ways to do that? Save yourself those moments spent dangling the tool between the trash and the recycling basket, and make the decision easier with these simple tips.


stapler recyclingThe first step to recycling your stapler: Find out what programs are available near you. Whether its contents include plastic, mixed metals or both, it is important to familiarize yourself with the materials your local recycling services accept. Jurisdictions vary from county to county, so contact your hauler, local solid waste management department or go here to find where you can recycle your stapler and staples in your immediate area. Single staples may appear innocuous enough, but the small, steel bits can take a mean bite out of the environment. Discarded staples sprinkled throughout your workplace refuse to biodegrade when they wind up in landfills. Start a collection jar, and bring them to your local metal drop-off recycling location to be melted down and sent to manufacturers. As an extra incentive, many locations will pay you by the pound for your efforts.


Too attached to your stapler to completely get rid of it? Bring it back to life with a new purpose. Keep the instrument in its original form and use it as a paperweight. That way, it can retain its permanent residence on your desk. You can also tap into your creativity and make eye-catching art pieces with your old metal leftovers. Get inspired by some of these state-of-the-art, staple-tastic masterpieces!

Roll back

Ditch the ways of the traditional stapler, and move on to greener pastures — literally. Unlike its clasping counterpart, the old-fashioned paperclip is reusable and can get the same job done. Relying on these is a much more eco-friendly option, and will help reduce the number of staples from finding their way into landfills. Another route is taking on the staple-less stapler. This nifty contraption looks like a stapler and works like a stapler, but doesn’t need or use actual staples. Instead, the device punches a hole through a single sheet and uses that piece to effectively join the rest of the documents together. A small glitch in the otherwise clever invention is its inability to stitch together a large amount of paper, but other gadgets (like the above-mentioned paperclip) can be helpful in those situations. And, if you must continue to employ a customary stapler, try to purchase those that are constructed with recycled materials that can be processed in your community. Because you know what they say: If you aren’t buying recycled, you aren’t really recycling at all. The ultimate goal is to achieve zero waste.