It is hard to avoid product wrappers and plastics these days. You can bring your own canvas bags to the store, to carry your groceries out in, but what about the all the plastic your products are wrapped in? You can avoid buying any prepared products and make everything yourself, but that is not very realistic. Curbside recycling programs are great and make recycling easy. But, some are limited. Packaging, such as wrappers and thin film plastic are not often accepted by curbside recycling programs and some recycling facilities. The following companies recycle the unrecyclable or can guide you to facilities in your area that do.
If you buy cookies, crackers, energy bars, or many other snacks it is easy to find yourself having a hard time throwing away the packaging. But, you reluctantly do it anyway, due to lack of knowing any other option. Terra Cycle is a company that turns your trash into their treasure. They will pay you for your packaging, from products like Oreos, Capri Sun, Clif bars and more. They even pay the cost of shipping the packaging to them. They turn your trash into various products that they sell on their website and stores nationwide. Check their website to find out what packaging they are currently buying.
Thin film plastic
Thin film plastic is often made of the same material as easily recyclable hard plastic. But, it is not usually accepted by local curbside recycling programs or facilities, often due to the fact that thin film plastic can easily get caught in their machinery and cause damage.
Plastic bags, and other thin film plastic, stay in the environment forever and never biodegrade. If you have ever tried to pick up an old plastic bag you found outside, it probably fell apart in your hands. That is caused by a process called photodegrading. Meaning, they degrade from the exposure to sunlight. But, they only breakdown into smaller pieces. They never completely disappear. These small pieces pollute the environment and harm wildlife.
PlasticBagRecycling.org is a resource to direct you to facilities in you area that will recycle your thin film plastic. Entering your state on their website will give you a list of businesses that recycle plastic grocery bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, as well as thin film plastic wrappers from products, such as paper towels.
Shipping Air packs
Have you ever received a packaged that had your purchase safely cushioned by small inflated plastic air pillows, instead of Styrofoam packing peanuts? Those little air pillows are a very economical way for companies to ship their products. But, unless you ship items frequently yourself they can be just as much of a nuisance to you and the environment, as Styrofoam. They are in the same category as the other hard to recycle thin film plastic and not accepted by many facilities.
Sealed Air, one of the makers of the shipping air pillows, has a recycling program, where you can ship your air packs back to them. The packs can be deflated for shipping, enabling them to be shipped easily and inexpensively in an envelope. Visit their site at fill-air.com to find more information about where to recycle your air packs.
Taking your shipping supplies, like the air packs, to local shipping stores, like The UPS Store or Fed Ex/Kinkos, is also a good option. Most shipping stores will accept your packing material for re-use. Call your local shipping store to see if they accept inflatable air packs.
Earth 911.com is an all in one recycling resource site. The site is filled with information and tips on recycling and the environment. By entering what you want to recycle and where you are located it will search its database, giving you a list of local facilities near you that take the exact product you need to recycle and maps to the facilities location. They also have a toll free hotline available 1-800-CLEANUP.