Shrink wrap recycling is a major part of our overall plastics recycling program at Rubicon®, meaning that if you’re a business owner wondering how to recycle shrink wrap (or if shrink wrap can even be recycled), you’ve come to the right place.

As a business owner, you know that the plastic film that surrounds your deliveries (as well as the styrofoam in the boxes) is necessary to ensure that your goods and products get delivered in the safest way possible. What some warehouse managers and business owners might not realize, however, is that it’s possible to recycle shrink wrap (or stretch wrap) and keep that material out of landfills.

As a Waste Diversion Manager here at Rubicon, I’ve spoken with countless businesses who have been throwing their shrink wrap in the garbage for years because they simply didn’t know that it could be recycled.

Many cities and counties have hard and fast rules surrounding plastics recycling for commercial and residential locations alike, with the most common rule being that only hard plastics—including plastic bottles, jars, and tubs—can be accepted for recycling in these programs. Hard plastics are generally described as something that keeps its shape if you try to flex it, such as plastic detergent bottles, milk cartons, and sports drink bottles. Soft plastics, such as plastic bags, packaging, and, of course, shrink wrap, often cannot be recycled by cities, as they tend to jam machinery at the materials recovery facility (MRF), causing slowdowns, delays, and even breakdowns.

Baling Shrink Wrap Recycling

Thankfully, there is another way. Shrink wrap is in fact a highly recyclable material, which is why if you have a large volume of it coming in and out of your business every week, you’re going to want a way to deal with it the right way.

Assuming the stretch wrap is of a high quality and it isn’t contaminated with tape, packaging labels, or anything else that can reduce the purity of the plastic itself, this shrink wrap can be baled up either on your premises, or it can be picked up by a waste and recycling provider to be consolidated and baled at a separate location.

Rubicon’s Plastics Solutions

We understand that each of our customers have different needs and requirements, which is why we incorporate this thinking into our conversations when we first start speaking with a business about everything from shrink wrap recycling to pallet recovery and collection solutions, and everything in between.

In the case of shrink wrap recycling, we base these solutions primarily on the volume your business is generating. If your business is generating a relatively small amount of shrink wrap every week, you’ll likely want us to assist you with determining available options to accumulate enough material for a pick-up, or have us develop alternative options for recycling lower volumes. On the other hand, if you’re a large commercial business generating a significant amount of shrink wrap recycling every day, there’s a good chance you will benefit from having an industrial baler installed on site. Baled shrink wrap (and other types of soft plastics) are more valuable than non-baled versions, and will therefore be reimbursed at a higher price.

Recycling Shrink Wrap is an Environmental Win

At Rubicon, we help businesses of all sizes find appropriate recycling solutions for all of their waste streams in order to keep as much material out of landfills as possible and live by our mission to end waste. We offer shrink wrap recycling services as part of a broader (multi-stream) recycling plan.

If you have any questions, or you are interested in learning more about Rubicon’s recycling services, please contact us today.

Meredith Leahy is a Circular Economy Senior Manager at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.