Jigsaw Puzzle Recycling 101: What to Do With Old Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are an entertaining pastime that can be done solo or with multiple people. Not only are they enjoyable, but they also have many health benefits and can even curb anxiety

Like any good hobby, though, accumulating more than what fits on your shelf can happen. So it begs the question, what to do with used puzzles? There are a variety of creative uses for finished puzzles you can undertake if you’re feeling crafty. If not, you have the option to recycle puzzles or donate them.  

Jigsaw puzzle recycling | Blue Kazoo

Are Puzzles Recyclable?

Can you recycle puzzles? The short answer is yes — though it may come with some challenges. Jigsaw puzzles are generally made from paper chipboard and can be recycled. However, it can be difficult to recycle items that are small and puzzle pieces fall into that category. Recycling puzzles can absolutely be done though. Plus, recycled puzzles prevent recyclable items from sitting in landfills. 

Recycling jigsaw puzzles 101 | Blue Kazoo

When recycling jigsaw puzzles, it is not recommended to put them in the recycling bin. Instead, you’ll want to keep them separate from your other recyclables. Because puzzle pieces are tiny in comparison to many of the other items that can be recycled, separating them once you get to the recycling center can be a lengthy process. Therefore, if you know you’ll be recycling puzzle pieces, do yourself a favor and keep them isolated from the rest of the recycling. 

How Do I Recycle Jigsaw Puzzles?

Since you will be keeping the puzzle pieces apart from the rest of your recycling, the best way to dispose of them is to take them to a recycling center. Keeping the pieces separate will also make it easier on yourself once it’s time to dispose of them — and less time-consuming. Not all centers will accept items as small as puzzle pieces, though, so we recommend calling ahead before you arrive. 

How to recycle jigsaw puzzle pieces | Blue Kazoo

How Else Can Puzzles Be Recycled?

If for some reason you are unable to find a center in your area that will accept puzzle pieces, there are still ways you can recycle jigsaw puzzles. One of those ways is composting. This option is for puzzles that are made of cardboard and is a sustainable alternative to recycling puzzle pieces at a recycling center. As we’ve noted, puzzle pieces are small, and will break down easily, even more so when wet.

Where Can You Donate Used Puzzles?

If you are unable to recycle or compost your puzzles, consider donating your completed jigsaws to a local school, library, or charity. Community centers and nursing homes are also great places to donate your puzzles. Ensure that all of the pieces are intact though before donation!

You can also do a puzzle swap with friends and family. Not only with you reduce waste, but you will save money by not having to buy new puzzles

Want a new puzzle anyway? Shop our line of sustainable puzzles.

Swapping jigsaw puzzles with friends | Blue Kazoo

What to Do With a Finished Puzzle

Another option for your completed jigsaw is to frame your puzzle. Puzzles as wall art is a unique way to repurpose your puzzle. Plus, you won’t have to spend additional money on buying art for your home or office. All that’s needed is to glue your puzzle together and mount it - with or without a frame. 

Displaying finished jigsaw puzzle in frame | Blue Kazoo

You can also put your pieces back in the box and exhibit them on a puzzle shelf. Blue Kazoo puzzle boxes are designed to show off and fit perfectly on a shelf for display. 

Displaying jigsaw puzzle boxes on shelf | Blue Kazoo

What to Do With Old Puzzle Pieces

What about those puzzles that are missing some pieces? You can still repurpose them! Use the pieces to create a unique puzzle frame, turn them into jewelry, or string them into garland. 

Repurposing old jigsaw puzzles | Blue Kazoo

Feeling festive? We have some great examples of puzzle pieces as holiday decor