Are MTG Cards Recyclable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: April 23, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Playing Magic The Gathering cards is fun. This tabletop trading card game is top-rated, with more than 35 million players globally.

MTG cards came into existence in 1993. Since then, the company has printed billions of these playing cards. 

So it is understandable why some fans ask, are MTG cards recyclable? Or what to do with unwanted cards.

Sadly, Magic The Gathering playing cards are not recyclable. Their paper fiber has a mixture of plastic cores and coatings. Therefore, their material composition makes them hard to recycle.

Keep reading this article to find out more about why magic cards are not recyclable. You’ll also know what to do with unwanted MTG cards.

What is Magic The Gathering?

Magic The Gathering (MTG) is a famous tabletop trading card game. If you like, you can call it the Magic card game.

It has complex rules. The game requires you to use the resources provided by the drawn card to fight your opponent. 

These resources can be in the form of spells, mana, or other items or abilities.

Every MTG card features a unique set of resources. However, some magic cards are more powerful than others.

MTG is amongst the first tabletop trading and collectible games. Players select 60 cards from their collection to actively play with for each battle.

Why the Need to Recycle MTG Cards

There are lots of expansion MTG decks available for buying. 

As such, you can find yourself with a huge library of magic playing cards in no time.

Based on this game’s nature, you may own thousands of MTG cards. 

There are even players with more than 10,000 cards!

So many players usually possess tons of duplicate cards, cluttering up their collection. 

If you’re about to exhaust the storage limit of your card library, then it is time to get rid of unwanted cards. And recycling will be the first thing in your mind.

MTG cards also expire. The game has been in existence for quite a long time. Therefore, old cards are not fit for playing within the modern game. 

They are total of no use.

As an MTG player, it is crucial to check your card library and discard those out of date.

Are MTG Cards Recyclable?

The answer mainly depends on the materials the MTG cards have. But what are magic cards made of?

Like regular playing cards, magic cards have two layers of cardboard or paper fibers merged with opaque blue glue. You can even see them in direct sunlight.

Foil magic cards boast an additional layer that highlights particular parts of the artwork than the others. 

That is the WUP or white under-print plate.

A print coating, a super thin and clear shielding finish encloses the top of the card’s printed materials. 

The best part? MTG card materials are toxic-free and safe for kids 8 years and above.

So, are MTG cards recyclable? The paper fiber or cardboard layers on magic cards are 100% recyclable. 

But the plastic coating and cores are what make many MTG cards non-recyclable.

However, there are currently a few exceptions. 

For instance, it’s a different story if you deal with non-foil MTG cards. These cards are recyclable.

Japanese Language cards are the first-ever MTG cards that are recyclable. They have high-quality and recyclable paper custom-made in Japan. 

All the materials used come from recycled content and sustainably derived paper pulps.

Despite these recent improvements, many MTG cards owned by players are not recyclable.

What can you do With Unwanted MTG Cards?

Since MTG cards are non-recyclable, you may want to know what to do with the unwanted magic cards. 

Here are a few suggestions to help you get rid of duplicate and unwanted MTG cards:

1. Sell Them

If you don’t know, there’s a market where you can sell secondhand MTG cards. You also have the option to sell them individually or as a collection.

Consider visiting your nearby local games store that can buy some of the cards for a few bucks. Another good option is to sell the cards to other MTG players either face to face or online.

The downside is that not all magic cards are worth attempting to sell. The game has different cards (rare, common, and uncommon cards). Also, there are game expansion packs that offer players a variety of each.

Game stores and players may not buy standard MTG cards. However, if you have rare and uncommon cards, you may sell them and get some cash.

2. Donate Them

Donating your MTG cards is another great way to get rid of unwanted cards while helping others.

You’ll find most local game stores with card bins where you can drop your unwanted cards regardless of the trading card game.

These stores will then re-pair the collected cards to their corresponding games to form a secondhand deck. Players who need such cards can borrow for free or get them as donations.

Consider also donating your cards directly to social service centers or children’s hospitals. These cards have an elegant and unique design that children will love playing with.

They may also learn the rules, make their rules, and make the play fun.

3. Gift your Friends

You probably have a friend who has an interest in playing MTG. Assemble your old cards to form a starter deck and give it to your friend as a gift.

If they accept it, then know that you’ve gotten a partner to play with. Your friend may also keep the cards and give them to someone else, spreading the Magic!


Magic The Gathering has had billions of printed playing cards since its launch in 1993. 

The game became more popular in 2016, resulting in more cards getting printed much faster.

So are MTG cards recyclable? Magic cards are generally not recyclable. 

But there are a few improvements in the process aimed at making these cards 100% recyclable and sustainable.

In the meantime, you can sell, donate, or give a friend your unwanted MTG cards. 

Those are a few ways to free up your card library.