Tag Archives: 100% recyclable

Recyclable Tyvek® Mailers? Not Really.

Is it legitimate to say that a product is 100% recyclable when, in reality, the majority of municipalities won’t accept that product for collection?

This contradiction has always left me scratching my head.  Why? Technically DuPont™ Tyvek® high density polyethylene (HDPE) material can be safely incinerated BUT only if the product gets sorted and collected.  Tyvek has a collection problem and they know it: they’ve put well-intended but impractical programs in place to address the issue.

I did a little detective work, and here’s what I learned:

1.  Most municipalities won’t collect Tyvek envelopes.  Waste Management, with over 25% market share in the solid waste services industry, states: “there’s no single answer to what is acceptable for recycling, since municipal programs vary.”  So digging deeper at the municipality level, I found that many municipalities collect HDPE but only if they are in the form of containers:

#2 HDPE : Examples: Milk jugs. Juice bottles. Bottles for bleach, laundry detergent, some household cleansers.  Motor oil bottles.  Butter, oleomargarine, and yogurt tubs.

2.  In response, DuPont has created a recycling program in partnership with Waste Management but get this — it requires you to pay them $15 to get the kit!  Then the burden is on you to mail your recyclable Tyvek to them.  If you are a household or a small to medium business – or if you are a large corporation sending packages to these kinds of recipients – how likely do you think Tyvek recipients are going to buy a kit, separate out all the Tyvek, and mail it back?  Not very likely.

So think hard before you use Tyvek – because you are putting a product into circulation that most likely will not be recycled.  There are other protective mailers out there that do the job and are authentically 100% recyclable through your local municipality.

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

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