The Paper Shipping Sack Recycling Value Ranking for Businesses 

Paper shipping sacks are efficiently designed to provide the optimum properties for product protection while using the minimum amount of packaging material.  To achieve maximum strength per amount of paper used, the fibers in the papers used to construct paper shipping sacks are among the very strongest in the paper industry.  When these fibers can be extracted from recycled sacks, they are extremely useful in adding strength and other performance parameters to other recycled packaging, such as corrugated cardboard containers containing recycled materials. However, when non-recyclable components, such as films, wet-strength paper additives, and significant concentrations of string and tape closures are included, recycling becomes more challenging, and the recovered material consequently becomes less valuable for recycling because of the additional processing required.  Most mills are able to handle printed sacks, which may be included with used corrugated cardboard boxes.

While local conditions may vary, making it imperative to consult your local paper recycler or waste hauler, the list below provides a general guide from the most valuable to least valuable mix of used sacks.

  1. Most Valuable

    Unlined, clean sacks without closure tapes or strings not used to package hazardous chemical or other materials.  Most sacks containing food or agricultural ingredients are in this category.
    1. Large quantities may be bundled for separate recycling and could command a premium price over other grades.
    2. Small and medium quantities of clean used sacks should be segregated and placed with corrugated cardboard containers for recycling in the OCC stream.
  2. Valuable

    A mix of unlined, cleaned sacks not used to package hazardous chemical or other materials, which contain few sacks with string or closures.  Check locally for limits.  Recycle acceptable mixes with old corrugated boxes.
  3. Less Valuable

    Clean sacks, not used to package hazardous chemical or other objectionable materials, which contain plastic films or plastic liners or high concentrations of string or tape closures.  Commingled lined and unlined sacks generally are not suitable for recycling, since recycled paper mills cannot handle feedstocks which contain significant quantities of plastic film-lined sacks.  The recycling option for lined sacks is generally limited to export markets.
  4. Not Recyclable

    1. Sacks used to package hazardous chemical or other objectionable materials which would require special handling or storage.
    2. Sacks containing excessive residues.  Used sacks should always be shaken clean before being segregated for recycling.