Many retail businesses in the UK will use various packaging materials for the products they sell or deliver to their customers. Due to the demand for increased recycling rates, fortunately, most of the packaging materials available for retailers will be recyclable already. However, there are some materials that you might not know are not widely recycled, and some which many believe are not recyclable but actually are.
Corrugated cardboard is one of the most popular packaging materials for a variety of businesses and luckily it is widely and easily recycled. Most of the time, you can simply discard your used boxes in the general dry recycling bin and be reassured that it will not end up in landfill.
There are some recycling centres, however, which do require corrugated cardboard to be separated from other types of paper and card but this is becoming increasingly rarer.
Bubble wrap is one of the most thrown away packaging materials as many people believe that it is a single-use plastic that cannot be recycled and so do not give it much thought. But, whilst it is true that bubble wrap is not widely recycled, with certain processes at the appropriate waste treatment facilities, it can be recycled.
It usually depends on what the bubble wrap you are using is made out of. If it is made from polythene then that’s great, you can recycle that. However, if it is made from PP or PVC, then it cannot be. So, as a business, if you use bubble wrap packaging, you should find out what it is made out of and make the switch to polythene bubble wrap if you are not using it already.
Another tip for bubble wrap recycling is that you should remove as much tape or sticky labels on the bubble wrap as possible to ensure that your waste collector can successfully recycle the material.
You often see this material used as ‘packing peanuts’ which fills any space in boxes in order to protect products from moving around too much, particularly if they’re fragile. This material is not easily recycled but it can be done and so you should keep it separate from your general waste.
Jiffy Bags / Padded Envelopes
Although what they are made out of (paper and bubble wrap) are independently recyclable, jiffy bags are not. The reason for this is because there is no efficient way of separating the bubble wrap from the paper and so they cannot be recycled together as the two materials require different recycling processing methods. Unfortunately, therefore, this packaging material will end up in landfill until an efficient separation technique or alternative packaging option is developed.
As such, our recommendation would be to avoid this packaging if you can.
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