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Can I Recycle ... Tyvek, that untearable wristband material?

March 3, 2011 |  6:49 am

TyvekTyvek is a material made by DuPont that is often made into signs, wristbands, mailing envelopes and other items that need to be flexible, durable, untearable and water-resistant. Though Tyvek is made from woven-together, high-density polyethylene plastic fibers, it is not recyclable in L.A.’s blue bin.

L.A.’s sorting process is not capable of differentiating Tyvek from paper. If Tyvek is mixed with paper, its polyethylene content taints and devalues the recycled paper.

Some cities accept Tyvek for recycling, but that isn’t, in most cases, because the Tyvek is being recycled into other plastic products. It’s because the material makes up such a small proportion of the recycling stream that it is considered an acceptable amount of contamination for recycled paper.

Organizations and individuals that generate a lot of Tyvek waste but cannot recycle it through their cities can do so with a Tyvek recycling kit available through DuPont’s partnership with Waste Management, the country’s largest provider of waste services. The kits cost $15 and can hold more than 250 square feet of Tyvek material.

In Burbank: Yes, but not through curbside recycling bins. It needs to be brought to the city’s Recycle Center and placed in the mixed plastics bin.

Because policies and recommendations vary from city to city, each week we'll ask a sampling of officials from different municipalities to weigh in too. Can you recycle Tyvek in ... 

Glendale? Yes
Long Beach? No
Manhattan Beach? Yes
Pasadena? No
Torrance? No

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo by Bob Chamberlain / Los Angeles Times

Each week we explain the recycling potential for an item that might be confusing. Here are some previous Can I Recycle columns:

Store receipts?

Milk cartons?

Pizza boxes?

Post-it Notes?

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