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 Helium Tanks

By Sophia Bennett on September 18, 2014

If proper precautions are taken, empty helium tanks are highly recyclable.

How to Recycle Headphones

By Sophia Bennett on September 10, 2014

Headphones offer a complex recycling challenge, as they are typically comprised of a number of materials.

The Case for Increasing Glass-Recycling Rates

By Maggie Wehri on September 9, 2014

Americans recycle just over one-quarter of the glass they use every year. That figure needs to rise.

Current News

Recycling Profile: Saskatoon, SK, Canada

By 1-800-RECYCLING on September 18, 2014

"The Paris of the Prairies" offers curbside collection to all of its residents and pairs it with other waste-cutting programs to reduce landfilling dependence.

Electronic Recyclers International Congratulates Best Buy for E-Waste Recycling Efforts

By 1-800-RECYCLING on September 18, 2014

ERI leadership participates in landmark event at Best Buy's headquarters in Richfield, MN.

Recycling Profile: Austin, TX

By 1-800-RECYCLING on September 12, 2014

In the race toward zero waste, where does Austin stack up?

Loading