Home » Learn » Eco-Corner » How to Recycle Three Common Packaging Materials

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As consumers increase the pressure for companies to make operations more eco-friendly, it’s important to evaluate the types of materials used in internal processes.

Excessive packaging is one of the many aspects that could land your business in hot water. In order to stay ahead of the curve, we’ve put together a list of common packaging materials and how they are recycled.

 

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With cardboard being one of the most used packaging materials, it makes sense that it’s also one of the easiest to recycle. The corrugated cardboard base is made of high-value grade paper, meaning that it’s durable and long-lasting. This makes it ideal for re-use, and why it is the most recycled paper product at 92.9% in 2015.

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Cardboard is often collected with other types of paper products and transported to a recycling facility. Cardboard and paper products may need to be recycled in different ways, but for the most part, they can be processed together. Once sorted, the cardboard is shredded and pulped to be broken down into a pasty mixture. Finally, the pulp is then washed, dried out in sheets, and then re-formed into corrugated cardboard strips.

bundles of recycled cardboard on loading dock
 

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Bubble wrap is made of similar plastic that’s used in grocery and dry-cleaning bags. This means that it follows a similar process when recycled. Even though it cannot be put in a curbside recycling bin, grocery stores will often have a collection bin to take old grocery bags. The plastic is then processed and easily reused in a variety of different products.

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First and foremost, bubble wrap must be popped before it can be recycled. That’s because it needs to be a flat sheet in order to be processed with other types of similar, stretchy plastic. Once flattened, the bubble wrap and similar plastics are taken to a facility to be ground up and turned into small plastic pellets. Those pellets can then be re-used to create more grocery bags or other plastic products.

close up of bubble wrap filled with air
 

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Stretch wrap is very similar in composition and recycling process to bubble wrap and other flat, stretchy plastics. Usually made with linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), stretch wrap can only be recycled in a special process, and therefore can’t be put in the curbside recycling bin.

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Following a similar path of bubble wrap, stretch wrap can also be recycled alongside plastic grocery bags and similar stretchy plastics. However, special pickup or drop-off may be needed, as stretch wrap may not be accepted by grocery stores.

pallets wrapped with stretch film in warehouse

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No matter the material you’re using, recycling is often a cost-effective and labour-friendly option that will reduce your business’ carbon footprint. Developing a progressive recycling plan will set your business apart from competitors — don’t wait to go green.


Crawford Packaging is a full-service packaging company located in London, Brampton and Waterloo, Ontario. From packaging to packaging equipment, installation and upgrades, and in-person equipment training and repair, we're focused on your business success every step of the way.

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