It was a pretty great week, plastickly speaking. But for some plastic envelope windows, I’d have had almost none. And speaking of envelope windows, various readers have suggested that they are made from glassine and not really plastic. The full answer is that while some envelope windows are indeed made from glassine (a recyclable paper product), others may be made from polystyrene, polypropylene, polyester, or acetate. And nowadays, a few envelope windows are made from compostable PLA. (Reference: The EMA Guide to Envelopes & Mailings [PDF])
The trouble is that you can’t always tell the difference. Some envelopes come printed with content information. For example, the Sierra Club’s mailings always state that the envelope is made from recycled paper and glassine and is fully recyclable. I don’t include those in my tally. But if this information isn’t provided, I have to assume they are plastic.
But what about the fact that recyclers accept the windows as well as the paper envelope? Don’t they recycle the plastic too? Um… no. They accept the plastic windows because they are easily separated from the paper during the pulping process, and the plastic washes away. But once again, there’s that question: Where is away? This is why I remove the plastic windows and add them to my tally.
For me, the biggest question is: Why do we need a window patch (as they are called by the envelope industry) at all? What’s wrong with empty windows? The mailings from Credo Long Distance have no window patch at all, and they arrive just fine.
Okay, end of envelope lecture.
Here’s the full tally for last week. It’s all new plastic waste:
- 2 plastic seals from glass bottles of New Chapter supplements.
- 3 plastic envelope windows. From Kaiser Permanente, from my insurance broker, and one whose contents I can’t remember. The Kaiser envelope contained a patient survey which offered the option of switching to online surveys in the future. So I’ve made the switch, and there will be one less future envelope window.
- 2 plastic envelope windows from tax documents. It’s that time of year, isn’t it? I’ve finally gotten around to doing our taxes. *Sigh*
Announcement: Next week I will be hosting the Green Moms Carnival right here at Fake Plastic Fish. And because I am the host and get to determine the topic, all the carnival posts will have something to do with plastic. If you’d like to participate in the carnival, please either email me or the carnival at greenmomscarnival [at] gmail [dot] com. You don’t have to have children to participate. You don’t even have to have a vagina. That’s how inclusive this bunch is.