Sustainability | Ecotrope

Recycling 101: Junk Mail

Ecotrope | July 25, 2012 9:02 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:30 p.m.

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Who knew? You can throw almost everything you get in your mailbox into the Portland Metro area curbside recycling bins.

Who knew? You can throw almost everything you get in your mailbox into the Portland Metro area curbside recycling bins.

So, I just got some good news from Metro Recycling Specialist Patrick Morgan.

Nearly all the junk mail I’ve been sorting, unsealing, and tossing in the trash can go in my curbside bin.

“Just about everything that comes in the mailbox can be recycled curbside,” Morgan said.

Even the envelopes with the little plastic windows?

“Yep,” said Morgan. “Those come out in the pulping process. They’re perfectly fine.”

Even the super-glossy card-stock?

“Yeah,” he said. “Usually when paper is glossy, it’s done with clay, and that’s fine in the recycling process.”

The only things you need to separate out are thick plastic items like those fake credit cards (and there are fewer and fewer of those around as companies stop using them in their solicitations). However, he noted, Metro encourages people to opt out of junk mail where they can.

Another piece of recyclable waste that landed on my desk with a question mark: Do these plastic bits ruin the chances of the cardboard being recycled? Answer: Not at all.

Another piece of recyclable waste that landed on my desk with a question mark: Do these plastic bits ruin the chances of the cardboard being recycled? Answer: Not at all.

They recommend a nonprofit called Catalog of Choice that can remove you from most junk mail lists. (I’m putting this on my to-do list right now.)

Metro offers a “Junk Mail Kit” that helps you send requests to all the major clearinghouses to remove you from their lists.

I have to say: This is going to revolutionize my curbside recycling sorting process!

And just as a side note, Morgan said just like the plastic windows on envelopes, the little plastic flags on cardboard Kleenex boxes will also come out in the pulping process.

This was another question that came to my desk in the form of a co-worker’s empty Kleenex box.

So, I got a two-for-one answer on that one: Feel free to toss your Kleenex boxes in the curbside bin too.

 

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