Can You Recycle Laminated Paper?
Paper is a common term in our vocabulary. This is thanks to the wide range of functions and uses that we apply it to. Even in our digital world, paper still remains indispensable. Typically, for something that is widely used, it is only normal that we are concerned about how to dispose of it.
One thing that easily comes to your mind is to recycle the paper. Well, that is a good choice. This is because you can generally recycle paper. However, this is the case the same when it comes to laminated paper.
Precisely, can you recycle laminated paper the same way you would recycle your normal paper? Is laminated paper also biodegradable? All these are questions that are important if we must take care of our environment.
Well, we are concerned about our environment. But, we also bet you are looking to get the right answers. Well, we have got you covered. In this article, we will answer all your questions and tell you what you need to know!
Is Laminated Paper Recyclable?
There is no doubt that recycling is one of the best human inventions. It allows us to reduce the amount of trash in our environment. In turn, this ensures that we can prevent our environment from pollution and encourage sustainable living.
However, even with the increasing attention to recycling, various materials exist that you cannot recycle. This is usually due to the materials that make them up. So, the question is whether your laminated paper falls under the category of materials that you cannot recycle.
Well, and unfortunately, the laminated paper does fall under the category of materials that you can not recycle. We bet that this surprising given that you must have heard that you can recycle paper. Well, do not let this surprise you. We will explain why.
The reason you cannot recycle your laminated paper is thanks to the lamination. Precisely, while you can process paper to produce another item, the lamination prevents this. You will recall that the purpose of lamination in the first place is to protect the paper from damage.
More importantly, the lamination is done using a plastic material. So, on the one hand, we need water for the recycling of paper materials. But, on the other hand, we need heat to break down plastic materials. Unfortunately, it is technically impossible to break down the plastic material responsible for the lamination without damaging the paper material.
As such, it becomes difficult for the recycling center to recycle laminated paper. It will have to first contend with the lamination, which is almost impossible. Even where it is, it becomes impossible for the recycling center to salvage anything of the paper.
In turn, the best option that anyone has got is to reduce the use of laminated paper. Of course, you can always opt for a sheet protector or plastic sleeve. This is more effective as you can take the paper out of the sheet protector in the future. After this, it becomes easy to recycle the paper while still reusing the plastic sleeve.
However, that is not all. We can also apply these papers to a wide range of uses. This way, they do not end up in landfills. So do not worry; we will tell you some of these options to apply your laminated paper to later in this post.
Is Laminated Paper Biodegradable?
Once it is clear that your laminated paper is not recyclable, you must have realized that this material will eventually find its way to a landfill. So, you are most likely wondering if the material is biodegradable. After all, if it is not, it only means that the laminated paper will last hundreds of years there and contribute to environmental pollution.
You can make better choices, and we will tell you whether your laminated paper is biodegradable. However, first, let us explain in detail what biodegradability is all about.
Generally, when we talk about biodegradability, a material can break down thanks to the effect of bacteria. Then, precisely, this material decomposes such that it ceases to exist anymore. So, when we say the material is biodegradable, it means if left in a landfill, it will decompose and cease to exist in a short while.
You must remember that the phrase “in a short while” is quite vital in understanding the concept of biodegradability. Precisely, for a material to be regarded as biodegradable, it must break down in a short period. As such, materials that take considerable time, usually hundreds of years to break down, will not be considered biodegradable.
So, now, let us get back to whether the laminated paper is biodegradable.
Unfortunately, while the paper in itself is biodegradable, laminated paper is not. This is thanks to the process of lamination that the paper had undergone. As you will recall, laminated paper is a combination of paper and plastic. As you must know, plastic materials are generally regarded as nonbiodegradable.
This is because they take thousands of years before they break down. More precisely, the whole idea of lamination is tailored to protect the paper from damage. So, it is only normal that even after getting to the landfill, the lamination continues to protect your paper from bacteria and decomposition.
As you can guess, laminated paper is also not compostable. So, as you try and avoid allowing your laminated paper to get to the landfills and do not consider using it in your compost mix. You will only damage the balance of the mix. We bet that you do not want this.
Is Laminated Paper Bad for the Environment?
If you cannot recycle your laminated papers and they are also not biodegradable, you must have realized that this option is not the best for your environment. However, if you are still in doubt, let us clarify for you.
Laminated paper is bad for your environment. And we will explain just why we have said this. First, we will start with the fact that laminated paper is paper.
If there is anything that is bad for the environment, it is the production of papers. Generally, thanks to paper production, we continue to cut trees down. In turn, this widespread deforestation continues to affect our environment through increased erosion and weather instability. There is no doubt that this does not spell good news for the environment.
Over the years, these problems have been mitigated through recycling. Precisely, by recycling paper material, the pressure on these trees has significantly reduced, leading to increased environmental protection. However, with laminated paper, this pressure is back.
Since you cannot recycle them, the paper industry is deprived of valuable raw material, leading them to go back to tree falling. We bet you would agree that a material that results in increased deforestation can hardly qualify as good for the environment.
You would even have to consider the significant carbon emission that is involved in tree falling. When you consider all these, it all leads to one conclusion—laminated paper is bad for the environment.
As if that is not bad enough, the laminated paper also contributes to the problem of landfill pollution. As we have established, laminated paper is nonbiodegradable. As such, when they make it to landfills, they continue to accumulate space and pollute the environment for a significant period.
For instance, in hot climates, these laminated papers will burn and release toxic fumes into the environment. On the other hand, rainfall and erosion will also contribute to this material traveling as a pollutant. We bet you would agree that this is not the best way to take care of our environment.
As such, be clear on the effect of laminated paper on your environment – it is bad news.
How to Recycle Laminated Paper?
If you are so interested in recycling your laminated paper, there might be a way forward. Obviously, you already know that you cannot recycle your laminated paper through conventional methods. So, is there any other option that you can take advantage of?
Well, TerraCycle is one company that offers to recycle your laminated paper. However, it not free. You will need to pay around $97 for their services. They will then send you a box that you will place the trash in.
Afterward, you send it back to them, and they will take care of the recycling process for you. They have a technology that allows them to separate the plastic material from the paper material. Then, they recycle it simultaneously.
How Do You Dispose of Laminated Paper?
As you now know, recycling might not really be an option for your paper material. However, allowing them to get to the landfill is not the best bet either. So, here are some things you can apply your laminated paper to.
1. Create Dry-Erase Boards
You can always make dry-erase boards with your laminated papers. They are an easy way to put them to good use. What you need to do is get yourself some magnetic tape, usually self-adhesive options. Then attach it to your laminated paper.
You can then place the laminated paper on your locker or fridge. Remember that you need a metallic surface for the magnetic adhesive to work. Once this is done, you have got a board that you can write on and erase with a dry paper towel or tissue.
2. Line Your Table
You can also use it to line your table to prevent your workplace from getting stained. All you need to do is lay some sheets of this laminated paper on your table. You can also tape the laminated paper to your surface. This will ensure that it does not get displaced.
Afterward, you can be sure that your workspace does not get stained. Of course, you can always remove the laminated paper once you are done.
3. Use as Craft Item
You can also use your laminated paper as a craft item. All you need to do is cut the paper with scissors. You can then cut into various shapes. You can also use it for a wide range of other projects. So, you can be sure to get value without worrying about destroying your environment.
There is no doubt that we should all be concerned about our environment, especially considering the significant impact that waste seems to have on our environment. Generally, we can always recycle to reduce waste. However, if you have got yourself a laminated paper, that might be impossible.
As such, you must reduce your use of these products. Otherwise, you should also endeavor to ensure that you reuse or repurpose these materials. This will ensure that you reduce the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills. In this article, we have told you the various options that you have. So, read up and stay committed to protecting the environment.