Sunday, February 13, 2011

Plastic-Coated Paper and Recycling

placemat project for boxes
Here is a WiseGeek page on what types of paper can be recycled - you will notice it says:
Other types of paper can be recycled with a little work. For instance, if you have envelopes with plastic windows, you can cut the windows out, and then recycle the envelopes. Be wary of junk mail, especially if you shred it. Much of its paper can be recycled, but you may need to pull out things like blank plastic credit cards or plastic coated paper.
Plastic coated paper, believe it or not, has been a concern of mine for awhile for this very reason.  (Yes, why would you believe I didn't have this strange, neurotic tendency to obsess about plastic coating on boxes?).  I became aware of it when one of the librarians I worked with at the Law School Library told me not to throw a carton into the recycling bin because it was coated with plastic. 

I tend to believe that plastic coating on boxes is more often on thin, white-paper boxes than on the grey cardboard but I was looking at the boxes of cereal and crackers we keep on the top of our fridge and really couldn't tell the difference between painted cardboard and plastic coated cardboard.  I even dragged out DJ's microscope and tried to look at a couple of pieces up real close, but could not see any difference. 

The horrifying thing is that if they're all plastic-coated then none of the cereal and cracker boxes can be recycled and then what do you do with them?  Make cereal box placemats?

Screenshot links to ReplayGround page about box placemats
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