Acrylic signage has been trending in the wedding industry for the past several years. You can find them being praised by wedding blogs for their sleek and modern aesthetic as more and more couples opt to break the traditional decor vibes. It's also a relatively affordable material, making them a huge hit for budget brides and grooms shopping on Etsy.
However, what a lot of engaged couples (and even wedding professionals) don't consider, is that acrylic is extremely difficult to recycle.
Acrylic is an industrial grade plastic (Group 7), which means it can’t be thrown into your recycling bin with your milk carton and chobani cups. Very few municipal recycling facilities have the proper equipment to process acrylic scraps.
Acrylic was invented to be used in industrial settings as a more durable and lighter weight option to glass - like airplane windows and construction sites. It was engineered to be extremely strong and last for decades in their industrial uses. This material was not designed to be used for one pretty sign at a wedding and then tossed in the garbage.
The result of acrylic waste is this:
So, what can we do to prevent acrylic waste in the wedding industry?
Don’t use it at all!
REUSE acrylic pieces (as rentals!) You can check out the acrylic pieces that I have for rent
If rentals aren’t an option, design your pieces so that they can be repurposed after the fact (home decor, etc.)
Above all, always ensure that at the end of its life, your acrylic is being recycled responsibly (keep reading for more info on that). If you are a vendor and it’s going to be up to your client to recycle, provide them with the necessary information to do so.
Your best option to recycle? Bring it back to the manufacturer! My acrylic supplier (in Chicago - Petersen Plastics) is able to recycle scrap pieces. If you bought it online, or from a hardware store, you can still find an acrylic manufacturer in your area and ask if they can take your scraps.
Other recycling resources
Google: “Recycle acrylic in [your city]”
http://www.recyclerfinder.com/ (input your zip code and select “Plastics - Industrial”)
Purchase recycled sheets: http://www.greencastus.com/
Thank you for considering how your wedding has an environmental impact! Please feel free to share this link with your clients or vendors, and reach out to me with any questions!