The 4 Big Hurdles with Recycling Poly Mailers

While poly mailers aren’t, by definition, sustainable, they can be significantly more eco-friendly if they’re recycled in the right ways. And be strongly believe they should be!

But in order to recycle poly mailers properly, you need to understand that it takes a little bit of extra effort and that there are a few challenges associated with doing so.

4 Things to Keep in Mind When Recycling Poly Mailers

Adhesive Strips

While your poly mailer itself is recyclable, the adhesive strip that seals that bag is not. So, before you recycle your mailer, make sure to remove and discard that adhesive strip.

Remember, some higher-quality poly mailers come with double adhesive strips--one for the original shipment, and one in case customers need to return an item and wish to use the same bag for convenience and efficiency.

Excessive Tape

If the shipper of your package has used excessive amounts of tape on your poly mailer, you’ll need to remove that as well. Tape can’t be recycled so to ensure your mailer actually makes it through the recycling process, this is an important step.

Recycling Symbols

If you’re like most people, when you think about recycling you simply think of a singular process. But that’s not actually the case, as is demonstrated by the various different recycling symbols--seven of them, to be exact.

Each of the recycling symbols carries a number:

  1. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET): This category is largely made up of plastic bottles and other food packaging. It’s among the most easily recyclable.
  2. High-density polyethylene (HDPE): HDPE is mostly made up of cleaning products, laundry detergents and shampoo bottles.
  3. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): This is among the most difficult plastic to sell in the recycling process. Luckily, PVC packaging has been largely replaced by other resin types that are easier to recycle.
  4. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE): LDPE is used for plastic bags and other food wrapping, as well as some squeezable bottles and dry cleaning bags. It’s also one of the common types of plastic used for poly mailers.
  5. Polypropylene (PP): Another of the most commonly used for poly mailers, PP is also often used for food packaging, especially yogurt, margarine, and cream cheese.
  6. Polystyrene (PS): Polystyrene is most recognizable as white styrofoam, but it can also be used to make rigid plastic food containers.
  7. Other: There's a final category of plastic simply called 'other,' which is a grab bag of plastics not found in any other category.

By understanding the different types of recyclable plastics, you can ensure your poly mailer is being recycled in the right way.

Knowing Where to Recycle

Last but not least, it’s wise to understand where you can recycle what types of plastics. Many of them can go in your recycling bin, but just make sure to check the recycling number on your mailer first.

Alternatively, there are a number of services out there that can help you locate the best place to recycle your plastics.

While poly mailers aren’t necessarily the most environmentally-conscious option, you can drastically reduce their impacts on the environment by understanding the proper methods for disposing of them.

Want to learn more about our poly mailers? Get in touch with us today. Our team is here to help.