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Can You Recycle Envelopes With a Plastic Window? Learn How


Most envelopes, especially those that come with bills, have a plastic address window that displays the recipient’s name and address. There’s a chance you receive numerous bills and have many of these envelopes lying around, and you might be wondering whether it’s okay to throw them in your recycling bin.

The first thing to do is check the recycling guidelines in your area. Most local paper recycling centers accept them. You can also recycle them or reuse them to send out mail. In this article, we’ll discuss how envelopes with a plastic address window can be recycled and reused.

divider 1 How to Recycle Envelopes With a Plastic Address Window

Image By: garten-gg, Pixabay

Before throwing the envelope in the recycling bin, ensure you’ve removed all the contents, such as credit cards and sensitive information. If you can, toss any documents you don’t need with your private information in the shredder.

You can also remove the plastic address window before tossing the envelope in the recycling bin. However, most paper recycling facilities don’t mind and have no problem recycling them.

During the pulping process, all the materials that are not made of paper, such as paper clips, plastic, and staples, are removed. Modern recycling equipment deals with this by heating and removing the adhesives and screen from the plastic window.

The rest of the envelope is then recycled and used to make paper. It’s cheaper and easier to make paper from older paper than wood fibers since it doesn’t need as much processing and treatment.

Reusing Window Envelopes

If you want to save money at the post office, consider reusing your envelopes if they are still in good shape. Although used envelopes are often wrinkled and ripped, and it may not be appropriate to mail them to professional sources, there are several ways to salvage them.

For starters, they make great storage for small paper receipts, loose trinkets, and money.

Why Should You Reuse Envelopes?

Instead of ripping the envelope apart when you receive your mail, reusing them is more environmentally friendly.

Paper is made from trees, and reusing it ensures that you take part in conserving forests. According to research, over 40% of the world’s commercial timber is used in paper production, and it takes roughly 17 trees to make 1 ton of paper.

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The 7 Ways You Can Reuse Window Envelopes

Window envelopes are one of the most widely used envelopes. Because of the plastic film/window, you can repurpose them by carefully opening them and using them for your DIY projects or storage. UPS encourages reusing and repurposing envelopes but only if all labels are removed. You can reuse them in the following ways:

1. Mini Envelopes

You can make small envelopes from your window envelopes to send letters to your friends and family by flipping them inside out. To do this, detach the glue that holds the envelope together using water and an iron to loosen it up. Fold the envelope in the opposite direction to create a clean slate, and lick the glued edge, so the glue is inwards. If the adhesive is not enough to seal the flap, use more glue or tape.

2. Gift Tags

Image Credit: Thais Araujo, Pexels

You can cut the envelope into small pieces and use them as gift tags since they are made of rigid material. It’s cheaper than buying gift tags, and you can also write a personal message on them. If you want the gift card to have a unique look, consider adding lace around it. You can also cut out the plastic film and insert the card so the name and recipient address can be seen through the window.

3. Mailing Envelopes

This is the best way to reuse window envelopes. Instead of using them to send letters since they may be rejected at the post office, consider using them to ship small packages such as clothing items, accessories, and books, especially the big manila envelopes lined with protective padding.

4. Mail Art

DIY Mailbox Post by Instructables
Image Credit: Instructables

To explore your creative side, try making mail art from your old window envelopes. You can also give them to your kids if you have any as a fun project for them. The new artistic envelopes can be used to send letters and packages to friends and family.

5. Seed Organizers

It’s pretty hard to keep track of all your seeds without losing them or mislabeling them. Putting them in well-labeled envelopes solves this issue. To use them for this, ensure the seeds are dry to avoid them going bad or growing inside the envelope. You can then store the envelopes together and wait till the growing season to plant them.

divider 4 Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Can you recycle envelopes with stamps on them?

Usually, yes. The recycling machine at paper recycling facilities can handle the stamps by applying heat and removing the adhesives. However, you should check whether your local paper recycling company accepts envelopes with stamps.

Can envelopes with a glue strip on the flap be recycled?

Pen and envelope
Image Credit: MatthiasSchild, Pixabay

Yes, envelopes with a glue strip on the flap can be recycled. You can either use DIY techniques to recycle the envelopes or send them to a paper recycling facility. If your local paper recycling facility accepts envelopes, you don’t have to worry about the adhesive glue strip on the envelope flap.

Can you recycle padded envelopes and bubble bags?

Some padded envelopes and bubble bags can be recycled depending on the materials used. Padded envelopes made with mixed materials are hard to recycle since they require too many processes to separate them.

divider 1 Conclusion

Reusing envelopes is an economical and environmentally friendly way to reduce waste and avoid purchasing new envelopes. If they are damaged beyond reuse, you can rethink new ways to repurpose them. Luckily, recycling facilities are continuously improving, and most will recycle almost all products.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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