Recycling Card Paper and Envelopes

All you need to know about recycling card, paper and envelopes.

Reduce, reuse, recycle – it is a common phrase that we are more than used to hearing. But in the hectic hustle and bustle of life, remembering to separate your plastics from your paper might seem like a lot of faff.

The old fashioned way of recycling largely consisted of re-using old envelopes to keep old receipts in, but that’s a generational thing. These days, recycling paper is more about trying to save trees and cut waste. And one of the main areas where that can be easily achieved is in recycling – properly, not just reusing.

The rise of ecommerce has seen a similar boom in the use of mailing bags and envelopes to carry the smaller items being ordered in abundance from the web.

Recycling is important. Lifestyle changes in modern times have resulted in a huge amount of rubbish and waste, causing a massive negative impact on the environment. Landfill sites take up space and give off dangerous gasses leading to pollution. Much of the waste takes many years to decompose, endangering wildlife and polluting oceans. 

By recycling we can decrease the number of landfill sites and preserve natural resources for future generations. Using recycled materials also requires much less energy than manufacturing with unprocessed materials. Recycling paper saves around 60% of the energy needed compared to using raw materials!  

Recycling is one of the easiest ways to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle and do our bit to preserve the planet for future generations. 

You can purchase your recycled card, paper, gift wrap and envelopes from Cranberry .

Can I Recycle All Kinds of Card, Paper and Envelopes?
Many people still ask the question - What envelopes can I recycle?
  • Most cards are paper based and can be recycled, along with their envelopes, either in your household recycling collection, at local recycling points such as household waste recycling centres or at collection banks in supermarket car parks and the like.
  • If the flyer, letter, envelope or other pieces are made from regular paper, are printed on cardstock or even on thinner paperboard, you can recycle them.

    The kerbside collection depends on the facilities of your local authority, but most areas do accept paper envelopes in the household recycling collections, so for most of the UK the answer is yes. 

    • A few UK councils are unable to offer this service kerbside and this is because they may not have the equipment to screen out the adhesive glue on envelopes. If this is the case, you can instead take to your nearest paper bank.
    • Or alternatively you can tear off the flap and pop the remaining paper into your recycling! 
    • Some pieces that have foil or certain coatings cannot be recycled in most areas.

    The great news is that recycling facilities and services are continuously improving, so we predict that soon all types of envelopes will be recyclable from every household kerbside service.

    Recycle your waste, save energy, conserve resources, and preserve the nature of the world.

    Can I recycle window envelopes?
    Some businesses still send out bills and other information in business envelopes with plastic windows in them.
    • Traditionally, the answer here has been no: the paper part of the envelope is fine, but the plastic window is a bit trickier – even a small amount of plastic contaminant would ruin the entire batch of paper recycling.
    •  Envelopes with windows can be recycled in the UK depending on your local authority (very few do not accept envelopes with windows). 
    • Another option is to manually remove the window yourself before putting the envelope in your recycling bin.
    Are padded envelopes recyclable?
    • Not all padded envelopes are padded with plastic bubble wrap, some are organically padded.
    • Since they are usually packed with paper fibre in a paper envelope – so together are a single source of material – then these envelopes can be recycled easily in the paper recycling.
    • These ‘green’ envelopes offer the same degree of protection as their plastic, bubbly counterparts, but can be both reused and recycled much more easily.
    Can you recycle plastic mailing bags?
    • Again, it all comes down to whether it is a single material or not.
    • Most polyethylene is recyclable, however, if it comes with paper labels then it is not – unless the two are separated and put in their respective recycling channels.
    • Many retailers who use poly mailing bags print onto the plastic, so that the bag can be recycled.
    • While many people are using the wide variety of paper-based envelopes and mailing bags out there, sometimes only plastic will do – and there is a similarly large array of plastic mailing bags on offer.  
    What about basic gummed envelopes: are envelopes recyclable?
    • Standard issue, plain envelopes can be recycled so long as they have no plastic on them or anything else that may act as a contaminant.
    • Stamps can also be recycled, so envelopes with stamps, paper labels and postmarks can all go into the paper recycling, regardless of colour.
    • If the envelope has been stuck down using Sellotape or any other kind of plastic tape, then this has to be fully removed, as it isn’t recyclable.
    Did you know that most envelopes CAN be recycled? 
    •  With so many different  types of envelope such as coloured paper, window envelopes, padded mailers etc. there is often confusion as to whether they can or cannot be recycled. As a society we are becoming more and more aware of environmental concerns and rightly so.
    • Typically, most envelopes are, in essence recyclable. They are also eminently reusable, so while it may seem daunting to have to separate windows from envelopes, bubble packing from paper and paper labels from plastic mailing bags, you may well be able to find other uses for these things. 
    Interestingly, recycling envelopes means they are turned into more envelopes. If you don’t want to send used plain envelopes to recycling, they are also quite easy to reuse.   
      Among some of the less-obvious uses, Readers’ Digest suggests...
        1. that they can be used to “funnel bulk spices into smaller jars” if you tear off a corner;
        2. use them as “files for things”;
        3. “help keep receipts together when shredding”;
        4. and, our personal favourite, “use them as envelopes”.  
          So, yes, can envelopes be recycled? Very much so.

          Check your local authority household recycling rules via 


          All our goods are packed and dispatched in 100% Recyclable Packaging
          • We use a mixture of kraft and recycled paper packaging along with recycled polythene mailing bags so that you can reuse the packaging, or simply recycle. The choice is yours.
          • Our kraft paper mailing bags are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional polythene mailing bags, made from FSC Kraft paper from sustainable forests.
          • These are not only recyclable, but are also sourced from green raw materials: an environmental win-win. 
          As ecommerce continues apace, the quantity of envelopes and mailing bags is only going to grow. With many people increasingly aware of the environmental impact of what they do, making sure that simple things such as packaging are recyclable is a must. The rule of thumb with any packaging, however, is that it can be made up of recyclable materials, but if mixed, renders the whole un-recyclable. Looking to have organically packed padding in paper envelopes or not sticking paper labels of plastic mailing bags is more a case of changing user habits that changing product choice.