Stickers allow you to decorate your laptop and other personal items, imbuing them with some of your personality, somehow labeling them as yours. That’s why it’s so easy to end up overstocking and overusing them.
So, how can you sustainably dispose of old stickers? Can you recycle them? Can you compost them? That’s what we’re going to discuss today.
Are stickers made from plastic or paper?
Most sticky labels are made from plastic vinyl – this is because this material is durable and moisture resistant. However, this is not the only type of plastic that can be used to make them – polyester, polypropylene, and acetate can be used as well. These are particularly used for outdoor and decorative stickers.
Another material that can be used to make sticky labels is fluorescent paper. This is commonly used to create sticky notes used in industrial and manufacturing processes and can’t afford to be missed.
Can you recycle stickers?
No, you can’t recycle them. Because they contain adhesives, they can gunk up recycling machines and destroy them. Beyond that, the adhesives on sticky labels are in quantities too low to effectively separate and reuse. Another thing that makes them unrecyclable is the fact that they are covered by weather-resistant coatings like polypropylene plastic resins, silicone, and PET.
This makes the recycling process too cumbersome and risky for recycling facilities. Ultimately, to properly recycle sticky notes, facilities would need to get specialized machines.
Are stickers biodegradable?
Those made of plastics – don’t biodegrade. Those made of paper will biodegrade but will leave their plastic coating behind.
Can stickers go in the compost?
Since sticky notes are usually made of plastics, they can’t be added to your compost heap. Even those made of paper usually have a plastic coating that makes them unsuitable for your compost pile.
Are stickers environmentally friendly?
Stickers aren’t environmentally friendly, particularly because their production involves plastic. This means that they contribute to the plastic waste that ends up polluting the seas and being eaten by aquatic life. Even when they end up in landfills, they just stay there for decades and can end up being eaten by animals who access the site.
What do you do with old stickers?
Apart from throwing your old sticky labels in the trash, you can also reuse them. But this is only possible for a small percentage of them – those made of a specific type of polypropylene. These sticky notes usually have less adhesive than other types. This makes it easy to peel them off one surface and stick them on another.
Whatever you do though, don’t reuse these stickers on your face – they can irritate your skin. If you want to place it on your face, opt for one that has been labeled as a cosmetic one and has been tested for use on skin.
Go easy on the stickers
When it comes to traditional stickers, the only way to be sustainable is to reduce how many of them you use. But if you really need them in large quantities, opt for recent more environmentally friendly options like those made of wood and cellophane.
By the way, if you use sticky notes only for making some sort of notes, we suggest choosing post-it notes instead – they are much easier to recycle!