Tag Archives: Recycling

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

FAQs: Can I Afford to Buy Eco-Friendly Products?

Many of our clients are surprised to hear that eco-friendly presentation and mailing materials can cost the same or less than unfriendly materials. Unfortunately, the marketplace has been trained to assume that making eco-friendly choices comes at a price.  I’ve seen businesses eliminate (needed) materials altogether in an attempt to go green because they don’t think they have budget-friendly options.

Eco-friendly can be budget-friendly by aligning with smart buying principles:

– Buying power.  If your supplier makes a major investment in buying, let’s say Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper (more on that topic here), then the cost of that material becomes very competitive against less environmentally attractive stocks.

Economies of scale.  The Conformer portfolio made of recycled milk jug poly costs the same as buying it from virgin poly (recyclable, but not made of post-consumer recycled material).  Our base materials come from a poly extruder that specializes and extrudes milk jug poly in volume.  Then it becomes an aesthetic rather than a price-based decision.  That’s ideal.

Long-term eco-commitment of your vendors. Becoming FSC-certified is an arduous process with upfront costs. But once an organization has realigned its operations to comply with the Forest Stewardship Council’s specifications, the ongoing costs of this inventory management system become operationally streamlined.  Vendors that dabble in green products don’t achieve this cost benefit.

Buying quality products.  Durability reduces the probability that your materials become insta-trash.  In other words, if it looks like junk, it gets junked. If your presentation and mailing materials can survive the journey from the printer to storage to fulfillment to more storage to possibly mail processing to your customer’s desk — and still look good doing it — your materials will more likely be reused by your customer.  (And you get bonus points if your name is all over it.)

Tell us about your experiences sourcing eco-friendly materials on a budget, and we will gladly shine the spotlight on you here on the Conformer Products blog.

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com