Did you know the EPA estimates that 75% of all waste can be recycled? Unfortunately, a lot of waste winds up in landfills, which is why corporate commitments to recycling are so important.
If you’re an avid Amazon shopper like me, you may be wondering: are Amazon boxes recyclable? I did a lot of research on this, and here’s what I discovered about recycling Amazon boxes!
Are Amazon Boxes Recyclable?
Amazon boxes are recyclable and accepted in most curbside recycling programs in the U.S. and around the world. Cardboard Amazon boxes can be recycled alongside other household paper products, and Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging offers certified recyclable packaging with no excess materials for enhanced eco-friendliness.
If you want to know more about Amazon packaging, including how to recycle Amazon paper packaging and if Amazon boxes are recyclable, then keep reading!
Are Amazon Packages Recyclable?
What’s great about shopping online with Amazon is that almost all of the packaging is technically recyclable or reusable, although some pieces make it easier to recycle than others.
When you get an Amazon package in a cardboard box, you can simply put it out with the rest of your recycling. Padded plastic mailers are a little more difficult, as not all places have dedicated plastic recycling programs.
According to the EPA, the overall volume of recycled plastic remains quite small, around three million tons for a recycling rate of just under 10 percent.
While Amazon and other retailers are focusing more on recyclable plastic packaging, it’s not always feasible if your city or county doesn’t recycle it properly.
That’s why many people try to reuse Amazon plastic packages or check with their local recycling center to confirm the plastic recycling policies.
Keep in mind that Amazon has package recycling instructions on its website, and you can also change your packaging preferences for gifts and some specific items.
Also, if you buy a few small items on Amazon, they may be packaged together to help keep the packaging to a minimum.
After all, even though Amazon packaging is recyclable, the leading e-retailer is still trying to cut down on unnecessary shipping materials.
Are Amazon Labels Recyclable?
Not only are Amazon boxes recyclable, but so are the package labels. Luckily, modern recycling processes can break down most of these labels even if they are still stuck on boxes.
As Amazon has committed to further sustainability initiatives in recent years, the company has worked to improve the compatibility of its labels with recycling practices.
That being said, if you’re able to get the label sticker off, it can speed up the recycling process and also safeguard against security threats.
You wouldn’t want discarded materials to wind up in the wrong hands on the way to the recycling plant, which is why a lot of Amazon shoppers try to take off the labels anyway.
Are Amazon Fresh Bags Recyclable?
Amazon Fresh paper bags are recyclable through the majority of curbside recycling programs, and so are the water bottles that may come in your order.
However, if your Amazon Fresh order includes dry ice plastic film, this is not recyclable and needs to be discarded in the garbage instead.
Similar food packaging, like the gel packs that sometimes come with Prime Now grocery deliveries, can’t be recycled, although Amazon says it tries to keep them to a minimum.
Are Amazon Insulated Bags Recyclable?
Amazon’s foil bubble insulation bags, unfortunately, cannot be recycled, although you could reuse them at home.
Insulation bags are used for larger grocery deliveries to keep refrigerated or frozen products cold, but Amazon’s commitment to sustainability means these bags are only used when necessary.
If you get an insulated bag in your Amazon package, either save it for a picnic or road trip or discard it in the garbage.
How To Recycle Amazon Packaging?
Amazon boxes are 100% curbside recyclable, meaning you can put them out with your normal recycling.
If you can remove the tape beforehand, that’s a big plus, although it’s not required as the tape typically falls away on its own when the cardboard is soaked and broken down.
Another tip from Amazon is to flatten cardboard boxes before putting them in the recycling bin, which helps with both breakdown and storage.
The same goes for paper-padded mailers that many books and smaller Amazon items come in.
Regarding the bubble-lined plastic bags Amazon uses to protect fragile items, you may be able to pop them directly into the recycling bin. However, check with your city first.
If plastic packaging is not accepted curbside, there are store drop-offs where you can recycle this plastic film.
Paper envelopes, cardboard folders, and brown packing paper are all accepted in curbside recycling unless your city says otherwise.
Even plastic bags and air pillows are accepted in more and more city recycling programs.
What Is Amazon’s Second Chance?
Amazon’s Second Chance is Amazon’s product and packaging recycling program. The company gives customers the chance to trade in certain items and get tech devices repaired to minimize product waste.
In addition to a shop with pre-owned items at a slight discount, Amazon also has a special recycling resource through Second Chance, where the company explains how to recycle each type of packaging.
As outlined on Amazon’s recycle packaging page, all the different packaging materials can be recycled or reused.
Select packaging, such as gift bags, are only reusable at the moment while Amazon transitions to 100% recycled material.
Amazon Second Chance allows you to trade in, recycle, or return electronics purchased from both Amazon and other electronic retailers.
Kindle e-readers, tablets, Bluetooth speakers, home security devices, and wireless routers are usually eligible for trade-ins or recycling.
What Is Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging?
Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging is a big part of the company’s commitment to sustainability and recyclable packaging.
This certified packaging is used on thousands of Amazon products, and it’s 100% recyclable with fewer materials.
One of the key perks of Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging is how it’s lab-tested to protect against damage even though it keeps packing materials to a minimum.
If you’re looking for an efficient, eco-friendly solution for online shopping, then this packaging can make a big difference.
Not only does this sustainable packaging protect products and the environment, but it’s also easier to open.
There are no wires or plastic ties, so you won’t need scissors, and you’ll only receive the packaging required to contain your items.
Amazon automatically ships eligible items in Frustration-Free Packaging, which has helped the company cut out over 1 million tons of packaging, the same as 1.6 billion cardboard boxes.
Are Amazon Devices Recyclable?
If you have an Amazon device like a Kindle e-reader or an Echo smart speaker, you can take advantage of Amazon’s trade-in and recycle options.
The process varies slightly for each device category, but generally, you can expect to answer a few questions about what type of tech gadget you have and its current condition.
Both working and non-working devices are eligible, although some will give you trade-in benefits straight away to apply to the purchase of a new device on Amazon.
Next, Amazon gives you a shipping label so you can send the device in for free. If you ever have further questions about how to recycle Amazon devices, you can contact Amazon directly for additional assistance.
Are Amazon Gift Cards Recyclable?
Amazon gift cards are recyclable, as are plastic gift cards from other leading retailers.
You can put Amazon gift cards in with the rest of your plastic recycling, and then it will be processed into new cardboard materials.
Just keep in mind that while Amazon gift cards are recyclable, their special gift bags are not. Thankfully these gift bags are reusable and will soon be replaced by gift cards made with 100% recycled materials.
Is Amazon Recycling Safe?
Overall, Amazon’s recycling programs are very safe and a great way to look after the planet. With a commitment to further sustainable changes, most people say Amazon is on the right track with its recycling efforts.
One concern people often have with trading in or recycling electronics is personal privacy. Amazon makes it easy and stress-free through its trusted electronics recycling program, starting with the recommended factory reset.
After resetting your device and backing up your personal data elsewhere, you can deregister the device from your Amazon account.
As long as your settings are backed up, they can be restored on a new compatible device.
Amazon takes safety seriously with all electronic trade-ins, and you can do the same with box recycling.
Try and remove your shipping label whenever possible for added security and peace of mind. It’s okay if you forget occasionally, as all information will be destroyed once the box is broken down and recycled.