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Paper Separation Guide

Clean and dry recovered paper is the basis of an efficient recycling process. Just don’t throw everything in the paper bin.


PRN’s Paper Separation Guide makes it clear what should and should not go in the paper bin. Download the Separation Guide. Proper separation of paper recovers raw materials and prevents pollution.


Download Paper Separation Guide




Accompanying the Paper Separation Guide is an animated film emphasizing the same message: only clean, dry paper and board belongs in the paper bin.




Clean and dry

Clean and dry, the core of the current Separation Guide, is defined as follows:


‘Used paper is clean and dry when it is largely free of product residue, liquids and materials other than paper. Small material parts, such as plastic tape or windows, or light stains or dry food residue after emptying a package do not interfere with the recycling process and are allowed.’


Product examples

Uncertain whether a particular paper or cardboard product or packaging is allowed in the paper bin? See some product examples below. Also visit . .


Yes No
Food residue-free pizza boxes Liquid detergent packaging
Freezer boxes, dry and without food residue Paper foam
Packaging washing powder and dishwasher tablets Paper bags, laminated
Moulded fibre, e.g. egg carton Baking paper
Corrugated cardboard Butter packaging
Grass board Coffee filters, used
Paper or paperboard made form coconut fiber or other alternative raw material Milk, yogurt and juice cartons: beverage cartons
Cardboard padding in products Paper straws, used
Packaging fresh pasta without food residues  

Microwave/ oven meal packaging/ home delivery/ fast food with food residues

Paper bags, unlaminated Plant pots and trays
Cake boxes without food residue Wallpaper
Dry food packaging
Wrappers and sleeves Photo paper
Sticker paper, labels and back sheet labels
Luxury packaging (such as cosmetics packaging. These are often processed Double-sided plasticized/laminated paper and cardboard
Small and large cardboard boxes
Single-sided coated and laminated paper and board
Greeting cards with batteries

For producers: Is my single-sided coated or laminated product or packaging allowed to go in the paper bin?

In the Netherlands, Paper Recycling Netherlands manages the paper stream. In the Scheidingswijzer, PRN indicates what does and does not belong in the paper bin. Together, the separation rules and the product examples provide insight into which producers/packaging are allowed in the scrap paper bin. If you do have any questions about this, please contact


Recyclability single-sided coated and laminated paper and cardboard


Paper and cardboard packaging with a single-sided plastic layer (coating or laminate) has been accepted in the paper bin since 2021. Paper and cardboard packaging with a double-sided layer is not. PRN allows citizens to add single-sided coated or laminated paper and cardboard to scrap paper in order to increase the amount of recycled paper and ease of separation for citizens.


Producers and importers must demonstrate the recyclability of the single-sided coated and laminated paper and cardboard. This is done by one of the test institutes selected for this purpose. With a good test score, it is assumed that packaging made from the tested combined material is not disruptive to the paper recycling process. The test certificate may come from the supplier of the combined material. More information on testing can be found at

Download toolbox Paper Separation Guide

Help your residents to seperate paper in the right way.

This toolbox is a handy tool for municipalities to communicate with their residents.

Download the ready-to-use files (jpg,pdf, A3, A4, A5) of the Paper Separation Guide for digital communication, such as website or social media or for print (high resolution), with PRN logo or place your own logo.


Download Paper Separation Guide (English version with or without PRN logo).