We all know that paper is easily recycled and that includes traditional envelopes. But when a reader asked how to recycle window envelopes we knew we need to do some research to get the answer!
Kelly from NW Portland asked:
Can you recycle envelopes? Even the ones with the plastic screens in the front? We get a lot of them at work and it seems like a waste to just throw them out.
Excellent question Kelly so thank you for asking!
Let me jump into a phone booth and don my super-hero Master Recycler costume and do some super sleuthing to help find the answer. (Just kidding, by the way. I am a Master Recycler, but we don’t have super-hero costumes).
One of the cool things we did during our Master Recycler training was to go to a paper recycling facility in Oregon City.
They showed us all the crazy steps it takes to recycle pizza boxes, paper, cardboard and more and I learned that from start to finish, it’s a long haul and quite the process. But the real take-away point I got was that it takes so much less energy to make paper from recycled pulp than raw wood pulp.
So every little bit of paper that can be recycled should be recycled. The picture above shows giant bales of paper being fed into even more giant paper-eating machines that turn it into pulp, from which they make recycled content paper.
How To Recycle Window Envelopes?
As far as the plastic windows that are in some business envelopes, those are filtered out while the paper is getting turned back into pulp.
So you don’t need to tear them out or anything the machines sort it all out in the recycling process.
Same thing goes for pasta boxes that have those little plastic windows too.
So please do recycle those window envelopes with your normal paper recycling!