Envelopes with Plastic Windows? After years of wondering if I could throw those envelopes with plastic windows into the recycle bin the answer is YES (generally). The same goes with cardboard with plastic packing tape on it. Apparently, most newer fiber recycling equipment can separate out that offending plastic from paper and cardboard as with small amounts of other contaminants such as staples and a few paper clips here and there. In a perfect world if you had time it would be best to remove them. Note that there are still areas that cannot accommodate the above so it’s best to call your local recycler and check.
If you purchase such envelopes for your business, consider envelopes with glassine windows. Glassine is a transparent paper easily recyclable and that has no offending plastic in it.
Paper products soiled with food such as paper towels napkins, plates- NO. Unhygienic
Wrapping paper, ribbon, or waxy paper? No. The chemical coatings are not good for recycling equipment. Why use wrapping paper anyway? Use the Sunday funnies, reusable gift bags, cut-up brown kraft paper from grocery bags, or blank newsprint. Then decorate with stamps and tie with twine or raffia.
Shredded paper? Best not to. It can jam equipment
Pizza Boxes? I used to be horrified when I saw pizza boxes poking out of recycling bins. According To Domino’s Pizza, grease-laden pizza boxes are fully recyclable. Go figure since a few paragraphs above I said that food-soiled paper items were not allowed. This study proved me wrong. The catch is, the majority of municipalities have no clear policy stated so again, best to check first. FYI- Domino’s Pizza boxes contain 72% recyled content.
For further information on recycling exceptions – here is a good article to read from Enviromom.