How to Recycle Packaging

An Overview On Recycling Packaging

Packaging waste is generated in every single room of your home - bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room, garage, utility room, and laundry room, to name a few. As one of the biggest contributors to the waste bin in most homes in North America and Europe packaging is very difficult to get away from. If you’ve already read through Ecolife’s article on the plastic island and our guide to choosing eco-friendly packaging, then you’re already familiar with the biggest eco-problems associated with packaging waste:

  • Huge volumes: 30% of the average American’s trash bin[1] and 64 million tonnes in the EU in 2001.[2]
  • Wasted resources: Made from petroleum byproducts, timber resources, and other materials, packaging has a very short life relative to the energy and resources used to make them.
  • Seaborne plastic packaging: 10% of the 100 million tonnes of plastic produced every year worldwide end up in the sea either as it falls off of ships and platforms or gets blow from land.[3]

So how do you go about recycling your packaging so that you can shrink the size of your trash bin and feed your blue bin? Ecolife has a variety of articles and guides for reducing your packaging waste through a comprehensive packaging recycling plan for your home.


Reducing packaging waste

In addition to our top tips on reducing waste, you’ll find a wealth of information on cutting packaging waste with the following Ecolife articles:

  • Precycle by stopping packaging waste before it starts - choose unpackaged products
  • Choose whole foods which often come unpackaged
  • Adopt a zero-mile or 100-mile diet by purchasing unpackaged food produced close to home
  • Make your own cosmetics and personal care products


Recycle packaging waste

Packaging is often easily recyclable, and you’ll find  plethora of recycling resources in our database that lists companies and nonprofits that work to turn used packaging into useful new products. For guidance on recycling specific types of packaging, check our articles on these packaging topics: 

In addition to recycling your packaging in your blue bin or by taking it down to a local recycling center, you may able to be able to compost many packaging materials, including cardboard, paper, and some biodegradable plastics.



1 Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, And Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2008. (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2010, from US Environmental Protection Agency:

2  Effectiveness of packaging waste management systems in selected countries: an EEA pilot study. (2005). Retrieved June 28, 2010, from European Environment Agency:

3  The Trash Vortex. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2010, from Greenpeace:

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