What Packaging Materials Can I Recycle?

January 19 2019

UK businesses and consumers alike are unable to ignore the environmental impact of waste. Packaging businesses like Boxtopia, operating in an industry that revolves around disposable products, have to be even more savvy to waste and recycling than most, that’s why we offer a range of eco friendly packaging.

The truth is that the vast majority of packaging products that you buy from us or receive in the post as part of your own deliveries can be recycled, but it’s not always as simple as chucking it in a general recycling bin. Read on to find out what you can do with common packaging waste.

Can I recycle corrugated cardboard?

Corrugated cardboard like that found in our boxes is widely recycled around the UK. Consisting of two or three sheets of flat board separated by layers of paper creased in a concertina fashion, corrugated cardboard can be thrown into general recycling bins in most parts of the UK, along with paper, other types of card and widely recycled plastics.

A minority of local councils in the UK do require corrugated cardboard to be kept separate from other types of paper and card, but if you live in one of these areas it’s likely that you are already aware that this is the case. If you have any doubts, it’s easy to check.

Can I recycle bubble wrap?

Bubble wrap is one of those products that many people will throw in the general waste bin without a second thought. It’s true that the vast majority of UK local authorities do not offer a recycling service that’s appropriate for bubble wrap, but recycling points are available.

Many supermarkets around the country offer a recycling point for soft plastics like carrier bags and bubble wrap. Most polythene wraps and films can be recycled, but non-polythene plastic products (usually made from PP or PVC) need to stay in the general waste for now. You should also remove as much tape and as many sticky labels as possible before putting bubble wrap in the recycling points.

Find out where your nearest bubble wrap recycling point is located.

Can I recycle stretch wrap?

Stretch wrap is actually very similar to bubble wrap. Though not widely recycled by local authorities, it can be disposed of in the same bag and film collection points.

However, you do need to be careful what kind of film you try to recycle at one of these points. As we’ve already mentioned, PP and PVC plastic cannot be recycled at these. Similarly, cling film, wrappers with lots of small holes, crisp packets and anything marked as biodegradable cannot be recycled at these points.

Can I recycle Jiffy bags (padded envelopes)?

Although their component parts – bubble wrap and paper – are both independently recyclable, jiffy bags (or padded envelopes) are not. This is simply because there is no efficient way to separate the paper and plastic as part of the recycling process. We hope that this will change in the future, but for now your padded envelopes will have to be consigned to landfill.

Can I recycle polystyrene?

Polystyrene is another plastic material that cannot be placed in general waste, but can be recycled in some areas of the country. It is often used as part of the packaging structure or as void fill to prevent products moving around too much inside a box.

Not many councils offer polystyrene recycling at this point in time, but it may be possible at some household waste recycling centres. You’ll have to check with your nearest centre to see if they take it.

An alternative is biodegradable packing peanuts which are starch-based and dissolve when in contact with water into a non-toxic substance and can be disposed of with standard waste.

Find out what can be recycled near you.

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