Mylar bags and balloons are pretty common in most households and many do not give a thought about their long term environmental effects. But is mylar recyclable or not?
That is a question that everyone should ask themselves before deciding whether to purchase items with mylar in them. Common items that are made of mylar include:
- cookie, cracker and chip bags
- granola/energy bar
- candy wrappers
I try to only buy products that I know are recyclable, and if I am not sure – I do my homework first. Like when I was not sure if I could recycle window envelopes which I needed to order for work. I assumed they would not be because of the window – but they were!
Is Mylar Recyclable?
No mylar is not recyclable!
It is why we are encouraging families to consider other options when making purchasing decisions!
What Is Mylar Exactly?
Mylar is actually a plastic – not a metal like many think. It is a plastic film that is commonly used in making water bottles and other items, but stretched really thin – then given a metallic coating to get the shiny look we all know and love.
So because it has the metal coating – it is not able to be recycled as plastic, and because the metallic coating is not real metal it cannot be recycled as a metal either.
Therefore – it goes in the regular trash – or can be reused.
One of the main issues with mylar balloons is that they are so lightweight and often fly away. If you do put them in the trash the best thing to do is tie the balloon in a few knots which will help weight it down a bit to prevent it from flying away and landing somewhere we do not want it to.
Reducing Your Mylar Use
Now that you know that mylar is not able to be recycled you may want to limit what you buy that uses it.
We’ve greatly reduced the amount of mylar bags we bring into our house by not buying the foods packaged in them. If you are hooked on an item that is packaged this way, say your kids cannot live without Pirate Booty, I strongly urge you to write the manufacturers.
You can also look at options like Terracycle’s snack bag recycling program. This is a great community option where your block or local area can make a big impact on the environment as a team.
The Problem With Balloons
Balloons are even a bigger issue – especially with those balloon releases that people still do! Letting mylar balloons be released into the air ultimately hurts our environment and the animals. Often landing in water, they harm our eco system and can tangle up the animals that live in these waters.
You can see some of the impact discarded balloons can have here.
Reusing Mylar Products
Because mylar is not able to be recycled it is important to dispose of them properly or reuse them. Below are some ideas for how you can reuse mylar items to keep them out of the landfills.
- Use in art projects like posters and scrapbooking
- Reuse it as a balloon – deflate it, store it safely and when you need it again just add helium
- Use it as gift wrapping – just cut to size or use multiple mylar items for bigger gifts
How are you reducing, reusing and upcycling mylar and other plastic bags?