Before you can hang your lovely new wallpaper, you will of course have to remove the old one. But where can you dispose of this specific "waste"? Many of us think that old wallpaper should be taken to the paper recycling container. But that is not the right place for them, even if they are paper-based. They have to be disposed of properly. The same is true for wallpaper cut-offs and rolls that are surplus to requirements.
Wallpaper should never be considered waste paper/recyclable paper
In any case, it doesn't really matter which materials were used to manufacture the wallpaper, whether it consists mainly or completely of paper, if it has been removed from the wall and contains traces of plaster and glue, or has never been used. Because all wallpapers have one specific characteristic that rules out paper recycling: wet strength. This means that they will not, or only partially, dissolve in water. But in order to re-use paper, it needs to be completely water-soluble.
The consequence is clear: wallpaper, whether it is left on the roll or has been removed from the wall, is not recyclable.
Wallpaper disposal - this is how it works
Depending on the amount, and the specifications of local waste control, wallpapers are categorised as residual waste, bulky waste, construction waste, or demolition waste. Here are some pointers: Small amounts can simply be put in the household waste, i.e. the residual waste bin. For larger amounts, we recommend contacting your local council; they will be able to give you more information as to your options and where to dispose of the wallpaper. There are differences from one place to another.
For instance, you might be able to buy special bin bags for your old wallpaper which will then be picked up by the weekly refuse collection service. Unused wallpaper rolls can sometimes be left with the bulky waste. Waste collection or recycling centres which accept recyclable materials as well as bulky (and other unspecified) waste are also a possibility for wallpaper disposal. They usually charge a small fee for wallpaper waste.
When buying new wallpaper, it is always a good idea to add a spare roll, just in case you need to exchange a whole length or a small area due to damage or staining. For this reason, it is recommended that you do not get rid of unused rolls prematurely.
Also, left-over wallpaper offers huge creative potential. It is great for upcycling or arts and crafts projects, and can give furniture or wooden stairs a new lease of life.
If this type of project isn't your thing, you can always donate the remaining wallpaper to your local kindergarten or school, or to friends and family. And should you end up with a few of rolls of wallpaper, you might want to consider selling it.