Sticky Notes A Recycling Friend or a Foe?

Being organized in life can be fun, especially when using sticky notes. Our work and home lives are filled with brightly colored stacks of sticky notes. When it comes to sticky notes, a great friend of mine, I was saddened to hear that they are not easily recycled.

The recycling world is making advancements and trying hard to keep up with consumer products; however, the use of pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA’s) is proving to be a problem. What happens with sticky notes is, the part we all love, the part which sticks, is hindering the papers ability to be recovered into pulp. According to the California Government, when mixed with water the PSA portion of the sticky note “deforms under heat and pressure, making it difficult to screen or filter out of the pulp.” Not to mention the paper itself can damage recycling equipment by getting stuck or lodged in the process. Some recycling plants refuse to take the adhesive based product while other mixed paper plants can and will recycle the PSA products. As a solution to this concerning issue, research on developing an adhesive which is compatible with current recycling techniques is on its way. With research supported by the US Postal Service, a major user of PSA products, the product line of water-soluble and recyclable compatible adhesives are available.

The push to make sticky notes more recyclable friendly is happening but the truth is the transition in the PSA product industry is not quite there. Here are some alternatives to help create less of a sticky note waste.

  1. Check before purchasing your sticky notes to see if the manufacturing company used recycling compatible, or a water soluble adhesives.
  2. Cut off the sticky portion of the sticky note, and recycle the regular paper.
  3. At home or in the work environment create a sticky note discard box, similar to a discard paper box. Research the nearest recycling program that accepts mixed paper and bring your sticky notes there.
  4. Purchase 3M sticky notes, which have been made so the adhesive is easily removed during the recycling process.
  5. Download sticky note Apps. Make use of your technological devices by using sticky note apps on your iphones, ipads, or computer.
  6. Do it Yourself Project! Collect paper scraps from work or at home. Cut them into the size you would like and staple them together. They do not stick, but it becomes your own home made paper stack, which reuses paper before sending it off to be recycled.

Ultimately, you decide if sticky notes are your friend or a recycling foe.

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