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 Nylon

By Sophia Bennett on November 25, 2014

Durable nylon, found in everything from clothing and carpets, to bags and tents, can be recycled through certain takeback programs.

How to Recycle Dry-Cleaning Bags

By Sophia Bennett on November 18, 2014

Dry-cleaning bags, made of hard-to-recycle plastic film, are best avoided.

Recycle Clothes for the Planet This America Recycles Day

By Wendy Gabriel on November 11, 2014

Now through November 15, Planet Aid is collecting clothing for recycling across the U.S.

Current News

Recycling Profile: Bangor, ME

By 1-800-RECYCLING on November 21, 2014

Bangor's zero-sort recycling program collects recyclables biweekly across the city of 30,000-plus.

Recycling Profile: Fort Wayne, IN

By 1-800-RECYCLING on November 14, 2014

Fort Wayne's one-cart recycling program, though voluntary for residents, has proven to be a huge hit.

Recycling Profile: Hilo, HI

By 1-800-RECYCLING on November 7, 2014

The largest city on "The Big Island" is the center of a network of facilities that helps inhabitants recycle just about anything.

Loading