How to Dispose of Complex Packaging
You've Opened Your Gifts...Then What?
During the holiday season (if we're lucky) we are faced with a barrage of gifts of all shapes, sizes, and packaging. That means boxes, foam peanuts, plastic, cardboard, films and strapping are often found all in one box. This "Complex Packaging" is how manufacturers package many holiday gift items from toys to electronics.
So what's a responsible recycler to do when faced with all these materials in the holiday afterglow? The holidays produce some of the best opportunities to recycle, as long as you know the correct steps to take to properly break down "Complex Packaging".
Different recyclable and NON-recyclable materials co-exist in one box; Tossing them in your recycling bin packaged together creates a big problem at recycling processing facilities. It will likely cause your recyclables to be deemed contaminated, foiling even the best intentioned recycling plans!
In order to ensure your recyclables end up where they belong, use this easy to follow step-by-step guide when disposing of "complex packaging".
Don't dispose of product packaging the way it came.
It's more than likely there's a multitude of materials that make-up your product's packaging. Understand that there's often both trash and recyclables found amongst your materials to discard.
Disassemble a Product's Package
Products that contain ONLY recyclable materials can be broken down like this:
Though both the cardboard and plastic found within this product's packaging are recyclable, they must be separated from each other before each material can be recycled at the facility. Today's single stream recycling equipment is advanced, however it cannot tell whether or not a material is hidden INSIDE another recyclable product. For that reason, it is best to completely break down products into the purest material type possible.
Products that contain a mixture of trash and recyclable products can be broken down like this:
The styrofoam liner found within this product's packaging is NOT recyclable. It must be removed from the inside of this cardboard box before the cardboard box can be recycled.
Choose the appropriate receptacle for disposal
Once your packages are broken down, you may dispose in the appropriate receptacle. Toss the non-recyclable trash away and then toss all of your various, individualized recyclable materials into your recycling collection container, single stream style.
Though it may sound cumbersome, in practice, separating your product packaging is quite easy. It just takes some thinking before you throw!