Recycle your letterpress polymer plates and film

We don’t want printing to harm the planet any more than it must. So we make sure our plates have another life after they’re done printing.

To recycle your photopoylmer plates, you have two options.

#1. Mail the plates back to us. Boxcar Press Photopolymer Recycling; 509 W. Fayette St., #135; Syracuse, NY 13204.

#2. Bring your plates to one of these drop-off spots.
Look for the big brown plate recycling box with our logo on it in any of these places.

location street city state zip
AS220 Community Printshop 95 Matthewson St, #204 Providence RI 02906
The Arm 281 N 7th Street, Williamsburg Brooklyn NY 11211
Wells College 170 Main Street Aurora NY 13026
Virginia Arts of the Book Center 2125 Ivy Road, Suite 5 Charlottesville VA 22903
WNY Book Arts Collaborative 468 Washington Street Buffalo NY 14203
Genesee Center for the Arts & Education 713 Monroe Ave Rochester NY 14607
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center 8230 Georgia Ave Silver Spring MD 20910
Baltimore Print Studios 18 West North Ave,
Station North Arts District
Baltimore MD 21201
MICA Print Shop 1300 W Mount Royal Ave Baltimore MD 21217
Crayton-Heritage Letterpress Printing 2321-B Distribution Street Charlotte NC 28203
Atlanta Printmakers Studio 675 Metropolitan Pkwy SW Stud 6026 Atlanta GA 30310
Igloo Letterpress 39 West New England Ave Worthington OH 43085
Iowa Center for the Book 216 North Hall Iowa City IA 52242
Minnesota Center for Book Arts 1011 Washington Ave S Minneapolis MN 55415
Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts 1104 South Wabash Ave, Suite 200 Chicago IL 60605
San Francisco Center for the Book 300 De Haro Street, Suite 334 San Francisco CA 94103
School of Visual Concepts 500 Aurora Ave N Seattle WA 98109
Seattle Central Community College Publishing Arts – Central Campus 1701 Broadway Seattle WA 98122
Studio on Fire 1621 E Hennepin Ave Minneapolis MN 55414
University Of Arizona – School of Art – Book Art and Letterpress Lab 1031 N. Olive Street, ROOM 208e Tucson AZ 85712

Want to become a plate recycling drop off spot? email us

What we can recycle:

  • metal and plastic polymer plates purchased from us
  • blue plastic release paper that sticks to the adhesive
  • mylar overlay (on unexposed polymer)
  • plate bags (both clear biodegradable bags and the black light blocking bags)
  • film

What not to send:

  • paper trash or other debris stuck to your plates
  • cardboard

How to package your photopolymer plates.

  • Clean the ink off the plates.
  • Keep plastic-backed and steel-backed plates in separate bags.
  • On the outside of the box, write what kind of plates are inside: “metal plates,” “plastic plates,” or “metal and plastic”
  • You can cut down your plates so they’ll fit in a smaller box if you want to save on shipping.

This is what happens to your plates, film and bags.

  • plastic-backed polymer plates and polymer bags: baled as low-grade mixed plastic and used to make consumer goods such as outdoor furniture or plastic lumber.
  • film: sent out for silver recovery, where the silver is refined and recycled into the silver industry. Once the silver has been extracted, the plastic film is baled and recycled into the plastics industry, where it is used to make products like outdoor furniture and plastic lumber.
  • steel-backed plates: the polymer on steel-backed plates is burned off in the smelting process. The steel is turned into other steel products.