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Recycling Symbols Explained

Recycling Symbols Explained

As climate change becomes even more important in 2022/23 it's now an essential responsibility for brands and consumers alike to start making the environmentally conscious change to sustainable packaging.

Whether you’re just starting your journey in business or a seasoned professional, you’re likely to start seeing more and more logos on your packaging you send to customers.

Luckily, here in the UK we have various recycling symbols that offer a simple and helpful way of identifying how to dispose of paper envelopes, padded envelopes and much more.

Our handy guide below highlights the most common used in the envelope industry to help demystify and help answer the question 'What envelope is right for me?'.

What Recycling Logos Mean?

Mobius Loop Symbol

Mobius Recycling Symbol

This is the most recognised and well-known logo associated with envelope recycling.

It is usually used to indicate that the envelope is recyclable rather than being made of recycled materials, and is commonly found in our popular coloured peel & seal envelope range.

Our Coloured Peel & Seal Envelopes are made of a high quality 120gsm paper and eco adhesive glue strip makes these the ideal choice for larger businesses looking for a recyclable option which can be collected by their kerbside waste collection.

Green Dot Symbol

Green Dot Recycling Symbol

Rather than meaning the product is recycled or recyclable, the Green Dot means that the manufacturer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging in Europe.

Companies like Ecologi are one example of helping businesses to give back to the cause. One All Colour Envelopes intends to be a part of in the future (watch this space).

FSC Symbol

FSC Recycling Symbol

The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) symbol indicates that this packaging and/or product contains wood or wood fibres from well-managed sources. Our new range of book wraps found here are a great example of this.

Compostable Symbol

Compostable Recycling Symbol

Also known as the 'Seedling Logo' this means the item is certified to be industrially compostable according to the European standard EN 13432/14955.

Compostable items should never be placed in the recycling - they are designed to break down and would contaminate recyclable plastics. They should instead be placed in with your garden waste.

Widely Recycled Symbol

Widely Recycled Symbol

This logo is used and mainly applied to packaging that is 'widely recycled' meaning that at least 75% of local authorities will accept in their kerbside recycling service our envelopes and specifically board back envelopes found here fall within this.

Check Locally Symbol

Check Locally Recycling Symbol

This symbol is applied to packaging that 20-75% of local authorities will accept in their kerbside recycling service (such as some plastics).

Tidyman Symbol

TidyMan Recycling Symbol

The tidy man symbol provides the reminder not to litter.


Want to see all the recycling symbols?

Visit Recycling Now for more information.

Commonly Asked Questions?

Can white envelopes be recycled?

What is the best way to recycle these? Most envelopes (even those with windows) are paper and can be reused for recycling.

Can you recycle envelopes with adhesive glue strip on the flap?

If the recycling paper at home accepts envelopes, there is no glue in the envelopes since the recycling machine melts the paper during screening. The local government has stated that you should not leave an envelope in the recycling bin (you may check it online). Alternately, you could place all the envelopes at the recycling centre or at the recycling centre. Find your nearest recycling centre on the Recycle Now website.

Can I put envelopes in my household recycling?

The answer to this will vary according to the facilities of the local authority, but most places accept paper envelope collections. Some of Britain's council areas are unable to provide kerbside service, and this could result in their lack of equipment to screen out glue in envelopes. If that's true, you can simply go into the nearest bank. You can also cut the cover out and throw the rest in recycling, EASY!

Can you recycle envelopes with glue?

Generally, envelope recycling can be done using glue. This has happened because real glues are made from biologically stable materials, such as animal collagen compounds. But it would not be a big problem for recycling plants, as this could damage their paper recycling processes – especially if the pulp is converted back into paper. Fortunately, many recycling facilities are not concerned about small quantities of pollutants, so envelopes with glue are no problem.

Can you recycle envelopes with plastic windows?

Modern recycling equipment is fully equipped with heated materials that melt adhesive and remove plastic windows from the machine. If your household recycling accepts an envelope, you can simply put the entire envelope in the recycling. When your local authorities are not willing for the recycling of envelopes at the kerbside, you can go directly to an area recycling site.

Alternately, you could take off your windows and put the paper pieces back in your recycling bin.

Can bubble bags be recycled?

Padded envelopes are popular because they are easy to use — you just fill it, seal it and send it. However, our new range of eco-friendly padded envelopes are designed with shredded-paper-to do exactly the same job but are fully recyclable — and even compostable.

How can we reuse envelopes?

It's one of many commonplace stationery items that we forget sometimes. In reality, it is a miracle that continues – despite a surge of technology, including email and text message technology. Nevertheless, envelopes have become extremely popular and billions are still used each year.

So how can we reuse them? Well technically because they are made from recycled material you are already re-using them.

What is Plastic Tax?

At the beginning of April this year, we saw the plastic tax come into effect in the UK.

This means that any plastic packaging that has been manufactured or imported in the UK containing less than 30% recycled plastic is now taxed at £200 per tonne.

The aim of this tax is to lead businesses to positive change and start thinking with a sustainable mindset, avoiding landfill and incineration.

To help, we introduced a new innovative range of our eco-friendly recycled paper allowing our customers to start that journey today!

Plastic free/paper based solutions are just one way All Colour Envelopes help you, your business and the environment at the same time.


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