Here in Spice's Magical Garden, we are very passionate about reusing items and recycling properly. I created this guide to share info about what to do with packaging materials after they arrive to you. Please note that some information may vary by location, so you will need to double check your local recycling information.
Clean Paper & Cardboard
In general, we strive to use paper and cardboard for shipping and packing products because these items that are most easily recycled or reused. Recyclable items include: tissue paper, paper or cardboard envelopes, boxes, paper padded mailers, and any other paper or cardboard without a laminate on it (such as most of the pin backing cards or some prints).
Before recycling please remove any tapes, stickers, and labels from the items. Additionally, the paper/cardboard must be clean - if the paper is soiled from food, etc. the item can no longer be recycled.
Feel free to reuse the boxes, too! We try to do this as much as we can. I generally flatten down boxes then keep them stored behind hanging clothes in my closet.
Did you know thin plastics are not "curbside recyclable" in most places? This means that thin plastics like polymailers (those thin shipping bags), thin clear bags used for packaging prints, and grocery shopping bags cannot be put into your recycling bin. In fact, it actually can be dangerous to try to recycle these as they can potentially jam an automated recycling machine!
However, in many areas, you can bring these items to a drop off in your area. Mine is actually at a Target store! Please make sure these items are clean and free of labels, stickers, etc.
Compostable "Bioplastic" Packaging
There is some debate about compostable packaging and their eco-friendliness. I currently do not purchase compostable packaging as I am still learning about them, but I may have some if it is a default option with manufacturers (for charms mostly), I was gifted some stock, or I am reusing packaging. It may appear like a thin plastic but not be completely clear or it may be marked as compostable.
For these items, if you have a compost bin, feel free to place these items in that bin. Otherwise, they are best put into your trash bin or reused for something else.
Tapes & Stickers
I generally only use two types of tape: washi tapes and water activated paper tape. The washi tape is not recycleable and must be placed in the trash or reused in your journal. The brown tape used to seal boxes is recyclable.
The stickers I currently use for packaging are not recyclable, but we hope to change this in the future. Additionally, the packaging labels need to be thrown away as well. Definitely remove these items from other products before recycling the papers.
String and Twine
Currently, the types of strings we use are naturally compostable and biogradable (they can be put in a compost bin, not recycle bin). They are also 100% reusable. I keep a little mason jar of strings I receive to reuse them later on gifts or packing orders. I also sometimes play with my cats with them (supervised, of course!).
Bubble Wrap & Plastic Padded Mailers
Technically, bubble wrap and plastic mailers (with bubble wrap in them) are recyclable. However, similar to the thin plastics, they are not generally recyclable when placed in our at-home recycling bins. Check out your surrounding area for the drop-off location for these types of plastic (mine is at the local recycling center and a nearby Target).
The white and green plastic mailers I use can easily be reused. They allow you to open them once then reseal them again. I also often reuse bubble wrap for moving, gift-giving, and packaging orders.
Want to learn more?
We purchase most of our shipping supplies from EcoEnclose, which is a shipping supply company that values sustainability and eco-friendly options. They have amazing resources on their website in the "Resource" tab.