At PAC, we often get the question: What are the most eco-friendly mailers? While this may seem like a very simple question to answer, it is important to understand that many variables play a role in how we view mailers and their environmental sustainability.
It may seem intuitive to label a paperboard mailer as more eco-friendly than a poly mailer. After all, isn’t the paperboard mailer made from a recyclable, renewable resource? Not so fast. We must consider that each mailer material (virgin vs. recycled) has beginning-of-life environmental impacts and end-of-life options (compostable, recyclable, trash). The other part of the eco-equation is knowing how much fossil fuel and clean water are required and how much CO2 is produced throughout manufacturing. By looking at the bigger picture, we can see how different types of mailers match up on a variety of important sustainability criteria and decide which type of mailer is the most eco-friendly.
Let’s look at some of the most popular mailers and their ecological impacts:
Each value represents a toll that the mailer takes on the environment. From the creation of the product, throughout transport, and ending with recycling, the Flat Poly Mailer has the least negative environmental impact, followed by the Poly Bubble Mailer.
It is important to note that just because a mailer is recyclable doesn’t mean it will end up being recycled. Once a mailer has been identified as recyclable, the next step is to find out how to recycle it properly. Not all recyclable plastic is accepted in the curbside bin. The good news is, there are thousands of grocery stores across the country that accept recyclable plastic films. Visit https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/ to learn more and find a location. Also, consider using a How2Recycle label on your mailer, to help inform your customers about their recycling options and make it more likely that your mailer will end up where it should.
In addition to producing recyclable mailers, PAC Worldwide has made a commitment to sustainability to continue research, development, and progress toward a cleaner, greener future.