Ever wonder about the recyclability of envelopes with plastic windows in them? I know some people throw them in the trash because they think the plastic renders them useless for paper recycling. I don't do that, because my understanding is that the envelopes are still recyclable, but I have always wondered why.
In her blog Fake Plastic Fish, Beth Terry sheds some light on the subject: recyclers "accept the plastic windows because they are easily separated from the paper during the pulping process, and the plastic washes away." (Of course, then, as she notes, there is that niggling little question about where "away" is.)
Another thing I didn't know is that some of those plastic windows aren't actually plastic, but specially processed paper called glassine, and that some envelope makers nowadays offer windows made of corn-based PLA, which is compostable in certain (limited) facilities but still problematic.