By Marina Hanes on September 19, 2011

With uncertainty about adhesives and dyes, is it possible to recycle those little pieces of paper?

Recycling sticky notesSticky notes are a staple in the office for two reasons. First, they’re perfect for to-do lists, reminders and jotting down other information. Second, they come in so many colors and can be stuck practically anywhere, so it’s impossible not to become obsessed with this handy office supply. However, when you’re done using the front and back sides, is it possible to recycle them?

Companies like 3M that manufacturer sticky notes use a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA), which makes these notes easy to use — simply peel and stick. No water or moisture of any kind is required to activate the self-adhesive. Unfortunately, the PSA can pose a recycling problem for these small pieces of paper.

Because self-adhesives are designed to not dissolve in water, some recycling systems refuse to handle these materials, as the glue breaks down into smaller pieces and can cause damage to the papermaking equipment and even the paper products.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recycling programs that take mixed paper are usually accepting of sticky notes, too. These programs are capable of removing the self-adhesive, but it’s best to ask your local recycling service just to be sure. 3M sticky notes have been through rigorous recycling trials, and it has been determined that this product is easily recycled — the paper de-inking process removes the self-adhesive and even any dyes.

So, breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you don’t have to ditch this noteworthy paper. Either purchase sticky notes made with recycling in mind, or do your homework to ensure your local recycling service accepts mixed paper. Don’t forget to mention sticky notes specifically!

About the author

Marina Hanes is a writer and editor based in Youngstown, OH. In addition to website content writing experience, she acquired researching and interviewing skills while working in a law office and a trauma research department.

Marina's grandfather, who was a forester, sparked her interest in sustainability. In 2008, she received a degree in professional writing and editing from Youngstown State University. In her spare time, she dabbles in fiction and children’s book writing, and her hobbies include yoga, skiing, kayaking and reading. Living with three cats and three dogs only makes life more fulfilling.

Marina owns Cat’s Eye Editing, LLC, and a listing of her published works can be found at CatsEyeEditing.com.


Learn more about Marina Hanes

Comments

There are no comments for this post yet


Articles by Marina Hanes

Best Buy’s Recycling Program

By Marina Hanes on December 8, 2011

The company's electronics recycling program is one of the most extensive offered by any retail outlet in the U.S.

Eco-Friendly Fireplace Roundup

By Marina Hanes on September 26, 2011

Stunning modern designs made from recycled and recyclable materials burn clean with biofueled flames.

How to Recycle Calculators

By Marina Hanes on September 21, 2011

Though often overlooked when considering recyclable electronics, calculator recycling programs and locations are sprouting up nationwide.

Recycling Articles

How to Recycle Swimming Pool Chemicals

By Sophia Bennett on October 29, 2014

Toxic and combustive pool chemicals need to be handled and disposed of with the utmost care.

How to Recycle Jars

By Sophia Bennett on October 22, 2014

Glass can be recycled over and over again, and virtually every city and town has access to recycling options.

Blog Action Day: Striving for Recycling Education Equality in California

By April Stearns on October 16, 2014

California suffers from recycling education inequality. Change across the state could help shape a new generation of recycling champions.

Current News

Recycling Profile: Dover, DE

By 1-800-RECYCLING on October 31, 2014

The Capital of the First State takes advantage of Delaware's universal recycling guidelines.

1800Recycling.com Profiles Recycling Efforts in Austin, St. Petersburg, Knoxville, Champaign, Cambridge, and Other North American Cities

By 1-800-RECYCLING on October 30, 2014

“Recycling laws, policies and practices can vary substantially from city to city”

Recycling Profile: Thunder Bay, ON, Canada

By 1-800-RECYCLING on October 24, 2014

One of Canada's most strikingly beautiful cities has a robust sustainability plan in place over the next five-plus years.

Loading