Skip to content

Ultimate Guide To Recycling Envelopes

recycling envelopes header

Welcome to our Ultimate Guide To Recycling Envelopes. Whether you’re looking to find out how or where to recycle envelopes or which supermarkets accept plastic envelopes for recycling, you’ll find it here.

Did you know that most envelopes CAN be recycled? With so many different types of envelope such as coloured paper, window envelopes, padded mailers etc. there is often confusion as to whether they can or cannot be recycled.  As a society we are becoming more and more aware of environmental concerns. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle and do our bit to preserve the planet for future generations. Here’s our guide to where to and how to recycle all types of envelope.

How To Recycle Envelopes

Click on the image below for our handy Guide To Recycling Envelopes. Our simple to follow chart will tell you how and where to recycle all types of envelope. 
How To Recycle Envelopes

Are envelopes recyclable?

Yes, most envelopes can be recycled. The type of envelope you have will determine how to recycle and also the area you live in can affect too. This may seem odd, but different local authorities have differing facilities. Most areas accept paper envelopes in their household recycling collections, but a few UK councils are unable to offer this service kerbside. This is because they may not have the equipment to screen out the adhesive glue on envelopes. If this is the case, you can instead take to your nearest paper bank (find your nearest via the Recycle Now website). Or alternatively you can tear off the flap and pop the remaining paper into your recycling!

Check your local authority household recycling rules via

Plastic type envelopes, such as padded bubble bags or poly mailers, can also be recycled! You can pop them into the carrier bag recycling point at your local supermarket**.  The exception to this rule is any ‘mixed material’ envelopes. This includes ‘Jiffy’ style mailers with paper outer and plastic bubble wrap inner and also metallic bubble bags with foil outer and plastic bubble wrap inner. These unfortunately are not yet recyclable, but if you open carefully you could always re-use!

The great news is that recycling facilities and services are continuously improving, so we predict that soon all types of envelope will be recyclable from your household kerbside service.

Please use our handy HOW TO RECYCLE ENVELOPES chart for an easy guide envelope recycling.

Why should I recycle envelopes?

Recycling is important. Lifestyle changes in modern times have resulted in a huge amount of rubbish and waste, causing a massive negative impact on the environment. Landfill sites take up space and give off dangerous gasses leading to pollution and much of the waste takes many years to decompose, endangering wildlife and polluting oceans.

By recycling we can decrease the number of landfill sites and preserve natural resources for future generations. Using recycled materials also requires much less energy than manufacturing with unprocessed materials. Recycling paper saves around 60% of the energy needed compared to using raw materials!

Can you recycle envelopes with plastic windows?

If your envelope has a plastic address window it CAN still be recycled. Modern recycling machinery is well equipped to handle this with heating elements that melt adhesives and screen out the plastic windows.

If your household paper recycling accepts envelopes, you do not need to remove the address window - just pop the whole envelope into your paper recycling.

If your local authority is one of the few that does not accept envelopes in your kerbside paper recycling, you can instead take to a local recycling centre. Alternatively you can tear out the address window (plus any other areas with adhesive on, such as the flap) and pop the paper parts into your household recycling.

Find your nearest recycling centre via the Recycle Now website

Can you recycle envelopes with stamps?

Yes. In the same way that recycling machinery can screen out address windows, it will also handle stamps on envelopes. As before, providing your household kerbside recycling accepts envelopes (most of which do), then you can put the whole envelope into your paper recycling at home. 

What about the adhesive glue strip on the flap of the envelope?

If your household paper recycling can accept envelopes, you do not need to worry about the glue strip on the flap of envelopes as the recycling machinery will melt this away in the screening process. If your local authority specifies you cannot put envelopes in your household paper recycling (you can check this via you can simply tear off the area of the envelope with the adhesive glue on. Alternatively you can pop the whole envelope into the paper recycling at your local recycling centre. Find your nearest recycling centre via the Recycle Now website

Can padded bubble wrap envelopes be recycled?

Some can, yes. Recycling padded envelopes depends on the material it is constructed of. Colourful plastic bubble wrap lined envelopes, like our gloss bubble bags, can be recycled in most areas. You cannot usually do this in your household/kerbside recycling, but head to your local Asda or Sainsbury's supermarket and pop them in the carrier bag collection point!
Other supermarkets also offer this service - click here for more information.
Padded envelopes with shredded paper/card inner can be recycled in your standard paper kerbside box. Again, check your local authority as to whether you need to remove the glue strip on the flap (but if in any doubt, just rip this off and pop the rest of the envelope in recycling box).
Any ‘mixed material’ padded envelopes cannot be recycled unfortunately. This applies to paper finish padded envelopes (‘Jiffy Bag’ style) with paper outer and plastic bubble wrap inner and metallic style envelopes with foil outer and bubble wrap inner. If you open carefully, you could instead re-use the envelope?


Too much info to remember? Why not download our HOW TO RECYCLE ENVELOPES chart as an easy, handy guide!

Where can I recycle plastic Gloss Padded Bubble Bags?

We're pleased to advise that our Gloss Padded Bubble Bag range is recyclable! While most kerbside household recycling cannot yet facilitate, your local Asda or Sainsbury's supermarket will happily recycle for you - just pop them into the carrier bag collection point in store.

Morrisons, Tesco and Co-operative also offer this recycling service, but have asked that you check with your local store to be certain they can accept, as recycling facilities in some areas can vary.