On-Package Recycling Symbol

On-Package Recycling Symbol for Food Paper Shipping Sacks

The PSSMA has worked with the Fiber Box Association (FBA), American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and US recycling mills to develop a marking system that clearly identifies paper shipping sacks that can be recycled in a commingled collection with cardboard boxes (Old Corrugated Containers – OCC).

The greatest potential for multiwall sack recycling exists for unlined paper shipping sacks used to package food ingredients and products. Those are the only sacks authorized to use the PSSMA recycling emblem which provides an ‘on-package’ reminder that these sacks may be recycled along with OCC. That category of sacks is the largest single summary commodity sack, accounting for 41% of all 2015 paper shipping sack production.

Unlined food paper shipping sacks offer the greatest potential for recycling, and are authorized to use the PSSMA Recycling Logo shown here. As the logo indicates, the easiest way for most sack users to recycle these sacks is to include them with the corrugated boxes that are already widely recycled. For information regarding the use of this emblem, see below. To obtain approval to print the logo on paper shipping sacks, contact your PSSMA member paper shipping sack supplier or PSSMA. Sack suppliers that are not PSSMA members should contact PSSMA for further information on use of the logo.

Using the Paper Shipping Sack Recycling Symbol

The Paper Shipping Sack Manufacturers’ Association (PSSMA) makes available for voluntary use by its members* on certain food paper shipping sacks of the recycling emblem shown below in compliance with these criteria:

  • Prior to beginning any multiwall sack recycling program, check with local paper recycler to understand local conditions and requirements.
  • Approval for use shall be obtained from the purchaser of the paper shipping sacks.
  • The emblem should be printed at a readable size on the sack.  If the sack contains a freight certification mark, the recycling emblem may be placed in the vicinity of the freight certification stamp.
  • Sacks using the recycling emblem shall be free of plastic or film linings.  Sacks with plastic or film linings shall not use the recycling emblem.
  • Sacks shall be emptied of all contents prior to recycling.
  • Sacks shall not contain residual materials that could pose a hazard to the health of workers during the recovery and recycling process, or that could interfere with the operation of paper recovery and recycling equipment or systems, such as sacks containing residual cement or chemicals.
  • The primary means of recycling sacks marked with the recycling emblem shall be comingling with the cardboard/old corrugated container paper recovery stream.  Advice regarding the use of other recycling methods, such as separate baling of multiwall sacks shall be determined by recycling service providers.

Sacks containing plastic films or liners, non-paper closures and other non-paper components, or residuals may be recyclable in certain situations.  Recycling of such sacks should be discussed with local recycling service providers.  Working in conjunction with customers destined to receive the recycled materials, they can provide advice regarding the suitability and methods for recycling.

* Suppliers of paper shipping sacks for use in the US who are not members of PSSMA should contact PSSMA for licensing arrangements.