Window envelopes – to recycle or not?

Modern envelope with a single window for the r...
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Much is made of the need for us all to recycle as much as possible – and thereby attempt to meet our environmental responsibilities, be they at a domestic or business level.

In terms of the direct marketing industry it was gratifying to learn that it had exceeded the recycling target set by the government and the DMA for 2009 and is also ahead of the goal set for 2013.

Maintaining momentum to provide the so called ‘greener future’ will be pivotal for the industry and its continued desire for ‘self-regulatory’ controls.

An area of concern and some confusion for direct mail is that of the use of window envelopes and whether or not they can be recycled.

What are envelopes made from?

Envelopes are made from paper and glue, and often have plastic address panes.  Plastic windows are not normally a problem for paper mills as the window can usually be screened out during the manufacturing process.

How can I recycle envelopes?

Many websites suggest that consumers check to see whether their local authority can accept them through their website or by giving them a ring.  Consumers are then urged to put them in the appropriate box for kerbside collection or deposit them at the nearest centre.  However, there are some local authorities where envelopes are not collected (due to the glue) and some which request the window to be removed (eg South Gloucestershire Council).  Most envelopes with plastic windows can be recycled with the rest of your paper. If in doubt, cut out the window part of the envelope and recycle the rest.  If your local authority does not collect, simply remove the windows and add the envelopes to your compost bin.

The DMA has stated that both the industry and local councils should do as much as they can to provide information about what can and what cannot be recycled.

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