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  • How to reuse / recycle waxpaper? - reader's question

How to reuse / recycle waxpaper? - reader's question

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  • By admin
  • Date February 9th, 2011 11:07
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  • I noticed you using this in packaging projects, how do you reuse or recycle wax paper? – @geek_green Usually recycling paper is pretty straight forward as most curbside programs accept the material. But it gets a little hairy when we start getting into soiled paper, paperboard, coated paper, wax paper or (gulp) pizza boxes. How can you quickly determine a paper’s chance at recycling? The most important thing to understand is that paper is recycled by using water. The whole batch gets washed and rinsed so adding any type of oil to the mix essentially contaminates and ruins the batch. Grease and oil are not as big of a problem for plastic, metal and glass, as those materials are recycled using a heat process. Here the residue foreign material is simply burned off. But when paper products are recycled, they are mixed with water and turned into a slurry. Since we all know water and oil don’t mix, the issue is clear. With all that being said, the simple answer is no = wax paper is not recyclable because it is coated with…well wax. Wax paper is considered to be “mixed paper.” Other coated paper products that cannot be recycled include food contaminated paper, waxed cardboard milk and juice containers, oil-soaked paper, carbon paper, pet food bags, sanitary products or tissues, thermal fax paper, stickers and plastic laminated paper such as fast food wrappers. So you need to gun for a reuse, because recycling or composting is not an option. There are quite a few reuse options actually – the most common and easiest is to reuse it as… wax coated paper. If your only “contaminant” is powdered sugar or flour, you can simply wipe off the paper with a damp cloth and use it again. We’ve used it for a range of packaging solutions, from food packs for organic bakery items to soap bar packaging. For our soap packaging, we had an instruction card with the product explaining the impact and limitations of this packaging, and instructing the user not to dispose of the paper into the trash. Alternative reuse options were illustrated as well. With a little stretch of the ol’ noggin, you can find a reuse project for even the most complicated of items. The brand reported back to me that they received an email from a customer who shared that she throws them into a big pot of water and boil them outside. As the wax melts and floats to the top, she scoops it out and puts the wax into a separate container to harden. When there's no more to melt off she lets it cool and uses the slurry for paper making. The wax gets turned into blocks that are either used to make crayons for the kids or in some cases candles. Pretty creative, huh?
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