In this day and age, people are increasingly more aware of the dangers that waste poses to the environment. Concerns about single-use products like straws are becoming banned, and people are paying more attention to using products that are nontoxic and can be recycled or reused. Even still, many people continue to “wishfully recycle” or dispose of their recycled goods in the wrong manner. Certain materials are not recyclable at all, or require special treatment, specifically plastic materials. For those plastics that are recyclable, the area where you live may not be equipped to be able to handle the proper recycling of those materials.
All that aside, you may be going through some of your things and attempting to figure out whether or not they are waste or they are recyclable products. For instances, someone who has decided to join accredited online and continuing education degree programs may not need some of their previous school materials anymore and are currently trying to figure out how to properly dispose of them. This article will take a look at sheet protectors and determine if they are recyclable.
Are sheet protectors recyclable?
In order to properly answer this question, we first need to identify what kind of materials sheet protectors are made out of. There are generally two different kinds of sheet protectors available on the market: those made of polypropylene plastic and those made of vinyl or PVC. The first and the first most common type of sheet protector, polypropylene sheet protectors are lightweight but still provide fair protection for important documents that need to be guarded from spills, scratches, and other accidents. While polypropylene is recyclable and there are waste companies that will accept it, it generally goes unrecycled due to the fact that it is an expensive process and it is estimated that approximately only 3 percent of all polypropylene is recycled annually in the United States.
The second plastic that you can find in products such as 11×17 sheet protectors is known as vinyl or PVC plastic. PVC plastic is perfect for documents that need heavy protection as it is much thicker than polypropylene. Much like polypropylene, PVC is hard to recycle and poses several risks in the recycling process. However, PVC typically has more resources that will accept and recycle this material and it is, therefore, recyclable.
Common recycling mistakes
The major thing that needs to be taken into account when attempting to recycle these materials is your city’s capabilities. Not all cities are able to handle certain materials and if you put them in the recycling bin, they still may end up in a landfill or they could damage other recyclable plastics if they do not work with the plastics that your city is reusing. To make sure that your plastics are being recycled properly, check with your city first to see what kind of services they have available and whether or not they work with your plastic. If not, see where you may be able to take your products so that they can be recycled or find unique ways to reuse your sheet protectors.
In addition to the mistake of simply throwing recyclable materials in the recycling bin, some people will throw their items away if they do not see a recycling symbol or if they don’t feel like putting in the extra effort to recycle it. They also may not properly separate materials because they fall into the same category of items. In short, make sure to put out the extra effort to recycle your materials the right way and do what you need to to find out more about your materials.
So, are sheet protectors recyclable? Yes! Most of the materials that are used to make sheet protectors are definitely recyclable. However, it is up to you to make sure that you give it to the right company so that your old sheet protectors are responsibly recycled. Plastics that are not disposed of properly will only continue to contribute to environmental problems and waste materials that could be used for new products.
Image Credits: Sheet Protectors from BigMouse/Shutterstock