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The life of your mail with Earth Class Mail

Joanna Heep

Joanna Heep

August 24, 2021

The life of your mail with Earth Class Mail

More than 129 billion pieces of mail were delivered last year. Once it’s opened and read, most mail ends up in the trash. The average household throws out 13,000 separate pieces of mail each year.

But even when you recycle your mail, it can be difficult to confirm it’s actually recycled. 

In 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that only 68% of all paper and cardboard recycling actually ends up being recycled each year. Sometimes, municipal recycling departments and waste companies have shipped recycled materials overseas or the paper gets contaminated and can’t be recycled.

As a result, more than 17,000 tons ended up in landfills. Of the 267.8 million tons of solid waste, only 94.2 million tons were recycled or composted. 

Does my recycling actually get recycled?

At Earth Class Mail, we keep our customers' mail secure and safely shredded and recycled. We know what happens to your mail every step of the way, so we can be confident that your mail doesn’t end up as waste. 

That’s not always the case when you recycle paper through your city or private waste contractors. In the past, municipalities and collection companies have been caught not actually recycling the paper, plastics, and other recyclable materials intended for recycling. Instead, they shipped items to China for processing.  China stopped accepting imported recyclable items in 2017. As a result, the materials had nowhere to go and with no plan developed, recycling ended up in U.S. landfills.

Other times, your recycled materials get contaminated by liquids or waste inadvertently put in a recycling container. This forces processors to dispose of items that could have been recycled. 

The life of your mail with Earth Class Mail

We partner with Shred-It to recycle and repurpose our customers’ mail. Each year, they provide us a certificate of destruction telling us how many pounds we recycled and how many trees we saved. 

We know the step-by-step process our customers’ recycled mail goes through, so our customers can trust that not only is their mail secure and shredded, but also recycled and repurposed. Once mail and important documents are scanned by our HIPAA-compliant team members, we put the items into a locked console. 

We shred everything in those consoles and transport the remains  to a paper mill for recycling. The shredded paper is turned into “pulp” where all chemicals and printing ink are removed. Then manufactured into new paper products.

Once a piece of mail, now a...

Some items your mail is repurposed into are paper plates and napkins, homes, clothing (activewear, swimsuits, shoes), furniture, and more! 

Purchasing products that are 100% recycled are a great way to save natural resources and decrease the pollution produced from manufacturing processes. Brands like Girlfriend Collective make clothes from recycled water bottles. 

Taking it a step further

When you’re an Earth Class Mail customer, you're taking the steps to making an impact on the environment.

Your junk mail along with any mail you don’t want a physical copy of is recycled. Our commitment to the environment goes beyond that. We’ve partnered with the National Forest Foundation to plant trees in areas across the United States that need reforestation the most. When you sign up for a virtual mailbox with Earth Class Mail, we plant a tree for you. Learn more about our green initiatives

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