Is Post Recyclable? Your Guide To Recycling Letters

Despite a world dominated by digital technologies such as email, texting, and voice notes, physical post is still well and truly among us. Many businesses and individuals automatically put junk mail or unimportant letters directly into their bin or recycling machinery, but is this always a good idea?

With so many letters hitting the floor of homes and businesses across the country every single day, post has a huge impact on recycling. Unfortunately, there is no one simple answer to whether post is recyclable. From junk flyers, window envelopes, shipping boxes, packing foam, and bubble wrap, there are so many different materials that come through our letterboxes, and each needs to be disposed of correctly. As experts in used recycling equipment, we have created this guide to help you understand how to recycle your post perfectly.

What Post Can Be Recycled?

Knowing which items that are delivered to you can be put into recycling is the first step. Once you understand what is recyclable, you can eliminate half the problem and only be left with the items that can’t go into recycling machines. The following post items can be widely recycled:

  • Paper Envelopes: A plain paper envelope, with an adhesive stamp and return address label can be put into a paper recycling machine without any issues. This is the case if the envelope and contents are completely paper-based, with no foiling or lamination. General recycling streams can handle staples and paper clips as these are easy to remove during the recycling process.
  • Window Envelopes: Window envelopes are the standard paper envelopes with an address window with a plastic film. Many people assume these need to go into landfill because of the mix of plastic and paper, but with proper attention these can be easily recycled. All it takes is ripping off the plastic film section, and the rest of the envelope can be put into recycling.
  • Cardboard Boxes: The majority of deliveries to homes and business come in cardboard boxes, and these can easily be recycled. One consideration is whether plastic tape has been used to seal the box, as if this is the case then it should be removed prior to putting into a recycling machine.
  • Newspapers: If you still get a newspaper delivered to your door, you should know that these can be easily and widely recycled. Newspapers have a closed loop recycling process, so they are easily recreated into new papers.

What Post Cannot Be Recycled?

Now you know what can be recycled, you need to be aware of all the other post items which are not suitable for recycling equipment:

  • Padded Envelopes: It doesn’t matter if it is a plastic or paper envelope, all padded envelopes have a plastic bubble wrap inner which cannot be recycled.
  • Bubble Wrap: Both bubble wrap and packing peanuts are used to protect items in transit, but they cannot be put into recycling machinery. Some brands are now choosing to use water soluble packing peanuts which simply dissolve when wet.
  • Adhesives: One of the biggest problems with recycling post is the adhesives. Packing tape and other affixed items onto letters or boxes needs to be removed before they can be recycled.

For more information on recycling equipment, speak with our expert team today.