Our world is (rightly) more eco-conscious than ever before. That means it’s more important than ever before that our products, tools and supplies be eco-friendly. If we can’t create things from sustainable sources, limit our environmental impact, and ensure those things can be re-used somehow, we aren’t properly managing the finite state of this planet. So, when it comes to the world of packaging, the most prominent question we can ask of our shipping supplies and those who manufacture them is: can we recycle our packaging supplies? Let’s find out.

Can you recycle packaging supplies?

The short answer is yes. But you’ll need to check your local recycling requirements first.

What can and can’t be recycled largely depends on what facilities are in the area. Some accept a wider range of products because they have the equipment and manpower to process and recycle packaging supplies. Some don’t have the same capabilities that allow them to properly manage those items.

It’s important to do your research and see if alternatives exist. Some recycling centers can’t accept certain materials, but that have specialized centers that do. Some even offer rewards for using those places. Research certainly pays!

Can you reuse packaging supplies?

Absolutely, and in multiple ways.

You can reuse mailing envelopes, provided it’s in good shape and you’re confident you can seal it properly. In fact, some mailers have extra adhesive strips for this very purpose.

You can reuse packaging supplies to store things in your home. Undamaged boxes and bubble cushion are perfect for packing away things that you don’t currently need, whether that’s winter clothes, party supplies or extra power tools.

Finally, if you’re the crafty type, used packaging supplies are perfect for making art—bubble wrap portraits and corrugated box forts are just two clever examples of reusing packaging supplies

Can you recycle corrugated boxes?

Provided the boxes are free of oil or grease and all plastic carton sealing tape is removed, they can be placed in the recycling bin. They’re also biodegradable, provided any varnishing is peeled away.

You know what’s interesting, and doesn’t seem to be common knowledge? Most cities that have composting programs will accept greasy pizza boxes in pick-up bins.

Can you recycle packing tape?

Plastic-based packing tape isn’t recyclable (not yet, anyway—there’s a big push for all forms of plastic to be recyclable), but for paper-based packing tape, the answer is almost always yes. It just depends on the adhesive used and what kind of reinforcement (if any) is inside the tape.

For example, our main custom packing tape is a water activated tape (that means you need water to make it stick to a box). The adhesive is water-based and the reinforcement is fiberglass, meaning it can go straight into the recycling bin without having to separate its components.

Can you recycle mailer envelopes?

Here’s where it depends on the type of mailer you have and where you live.

Today’s poly mailers can be easily recycled, even if they’re printed on. This is a boon, considering how widely they’ve been adopted in e-commerce-based shopping.

Bubble mailers can be a little different, especially of the paper variety. Some recycling facilities say no outright, or insist you take them to special processing centers. However, most places will accept them in recycling bins provided you separate the paper mailer from the bubble cushion inside.

Can you recycle custom packaging?

Generally, yes. You’ll want to check with your custom packaging provider to be sure.

For example, our custom tissue paper is printed on acid-free paper using soy-based inks. And our custom label rolls use vinyl material which can go straight into the bin. Even once placed onto custom poly mailers, both items are fully recyclable.

It’s imperative we manage our planetary resources properly. Which means it falls to our harvesting and producing businesses to be aware of what they’re doing, how it affects the environment, and how they can contribute to making things better. The packaging industry has shown its commitment to a better Earth by using materials and techniques that make it easier to recycle packaging supplies.

The Packaging Company carries a wide assortment of eco-friendly products. We think you’ll like what you find.