It is very important to know what your customers do with the packaging. Do they recycle or reuse it? Or do they simply throw it away? Sustainability in packaging is a prime necessity these days. Not only does it reduce wastes, but it also encourages and enables consumers to recycle. You can recycle most of the packaging materials, but some.
Boxes with gummed paper tape are completely recyclable. Since all the parts are made from paper, you can recycle them quite easily. This includes all variants of boxes say, printed or reinforced. Boxes with paper tape are the best option if you want to ship products in a plastic-free packaging.
Now, you cannot recycle plastic and paper together. So, if you send a box to a paper recycling unit, they will separate the plastic tapes and discard them. When the paper boxes reach the recycling unit, the workers at the unit will throw the boxes into a heated mixture. This is where the paper turns into a pulp and the plastics float up. They separate the plastics manually and dump them. They won't recycle this plastic.
Printed boxes are totally recyclable. However, recycling stations do not prefer printed boxes with metallic inks.
Poly mailers are made from LDPE or low-density polyethylene. These poly mailers have a recycling code 4. These codes categorize the materials used in products. Poly mailers are recyclable just like other plastic products that have the same code, like grocery bags, bottles, plastic tubes and so on.
Kraft paper mailers, being completely made from paper, are recyclable like other paper products.
The scenario with padded mailers is a little different. Recycling padded mailers are difficult if the mailer and padding are made from different materials. If it is a plastic mailer with a plastic padding, or if it is a paper mailer with a paper padding, then recycling is possible. However, you cannot directly recycle a paper bag with a plastic padding. If you able to separate the padding from the mailer, then you can easily recycle them as different materials.
Bubble wraps are made from LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) and are also recyclable like poly mailers. However, depending on countries' laws, bubble wraps may or may not be recyclable.
Crinkle paper is recyclable, but it is less valuable. Since they are already shredded into fine pieces, they are not suitable to manufacture large paper products. Most recycling stations treat crinkle paper differently. Recyclers usually recycle crinkle paper along with other types of paper.
You can recycle both these forms of paper as long as the manufacturers do not print them with metallic ink.
Packing peanuts made from Styrofoam are not recyclable. However, you can reuse them. Corn Starch-based packing peanuts are not only recyclable, but they are also edible.
It is no mystery to judge the type of packaging you are buying. We hope now you have an idea about what packaging materials are recyclable. Accordingly, you can choose the packaging to reduce their negative impact on the environment. Alternatively, you can make packaging products using eco-friendly materials.