Looking after the planet is at the top of most people’s priorities now as we become more aware of the effects of climate change. Many companies are now looking at how they can reduce their carbon footprint and are moving away from single-use plastic. One way they’ve done this is by switching from plastic bags to kraft paper bags. These bags are just as, if not more so, sturdy than plastic ones and they don’t end up polluting landfills for years to come. However, once you’ve been handed a kraft paper bag, you may be wondering how to dispose of it. Keep reading and find out just how easy it is to recycle your kraft paper bags below.
What Is Kraft Paper?
Kraft paper is also known as paper board or cardboard depending on where you live. It’s a very durable and reliable material that can be used in a number of different ways. It can be used to contain food, wrap gifts, and be made into bags. Kraft paper can be white if it’s been treated with bleach or brown if left in its natural state, which is why you’ll likely see brown paper bags. It’s often thought to be one of the strongest materials for daily tasks like carrying shopping or for packaging food. As it’s so commonly used, you might be unsure how easy it is to get rid of. However, it’s actually relatively easy!
How Do I Recycle It?
Kraft paper is made from wood pulp so that means it’s possible for it to be recycled. Interestingly, it can be recycled up to seven times before it becomes unusable. Kraft paper is recycled in a very similar way to regular paper, which includes things like water treatment and pulping. As long as your kraft paper isn’t contaminated with any other things like food, then it can go straight into your recycling bin along with your other paper. It’s very important to ensure that it has as little contamination on it as possible as it makes the recycling process harder, and sometimes it can cause contamination to a whole batch. Contamination requires chemical processing to be gotten rid of, which uses more energy and increases pollutants in the environment. Make sure that when you recycle your kraft paper that it’s as clean as it can be if you want to make sure it’s recycled easily.
Is It Biodegradable?
Kraft paper is completely biodegradable, meaning that it can be broken down into tiny fibers and doesn’t harm the ground. Being made from wood pulp also makes kraft paper organic so you know that when it degrades it’s not putting any nasty toxins out into the air. It should only take a couple of weeks for kraft paper to biodegrade too, so if you accidentally put it in the wrong bin, it won’t remain in the landfill for very long. This makes kraft paper one of the most eco-friendly materials on the planet!
When Can’t I Recycle It?
Although kraft paper is easy enough to recycle, there are times when you actually can’t recycle it. This can be because of things like too much contamination or other non-recyclable materials that are also incorporated into its design. For example, a kraft paper food container might not be suitable for recycling if it’s completely covered in food and can’t be removed. This makes it impossible for it to be recycled as the process of cleaning it won’t be enough to remove all contamination. Similarly, some kraft paper bags or packaging may have bits of plastic in them. Things like sandwich boxes normally have a little plastic window so that you can see the product inside, but it’s worth noting that not all of these are recyclable. If you come across a kraft paper item that has other materials in it, try your best to remove them. If they can’t be removed, then, unfortunately, they can’t be recycled. This is because the other materials can’t be removed at the recycling plant as it’s all done mechanically, and the equipment isn’t able to distinguish a small piece of plastic from a sea of paper.
Kraft paper is a fantastic material that can be used in a variety of ways and is easy to dispose of, making it one of the most environmentally friendly alternatives out there. You can reuse the bags as well before you recycle them, so why not bring yours with you when you go shopping. Their extreme durability will ensure that you get a good few uses out of it before it needs to be disposed of. So, if you’re given the choice between plastic and kraft paper, go for the latter. Not only is it stronger than plastic, but it’s also easily recycled with other paper, meaning you don’t have to put in any extra effort!