Eco-Tips: How to Recycle Amazon Plastic Bags?

Collect Amazon plastic bags, ensure they’re clean, and take them to a store drop-off location designated for plastic recycling.

We were surprised to discover that Amazon contributes significantly to the environmental impact of plastic bags. According to Oceana, Amazon produced about 709 million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2021 due to the rising online shopping culture. The plastic bag disposal rate increased by 18% compared to the previous year.

Knowing this fact, there is an urgent call to recycle Amazon plastic bags and replace them with eco-friendly packaging alternatives.

recycle amazon plastic bags
How to Recycle Amazon Plastic Bags?

It is crucial to reduce the burden on landfills and prevent further worsening of Amazon’s environmental impact. Fortunately, Amazon has started initiating recycling programs and practicing eco-friendly disposal of Amazon bags to reduce the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags.

In the following article, we will explore more about Amazon’s environmental initiatives, including the methods and how to recycle Amazon shopping bags. Scroll down to find out more!

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon plastic bags can be recycled by collecting them and taking them to designated store drop-off locations.
  • Bags must be clean and free of labels or stickers before recycling.
  • Amazon has initiatives like Amazon Second Chance for recycling and reducing plastic use.
  • Consumers play a crucial role in recycling efforts and reducing environmental impact.
  • Alternatives to recycling include reusing Amazon plastic bags for household purposes or creative projects.

The Impact of Plastic Bags on the Environment

We believe you have received much information about the severity of environmental impacts caused by plastic bag waste. According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, approximately 1 MILLION plastic bottles are sold globally EVERY MINUTE!

Meanwhile, an estimated FIVE TRILLION plastic bags are used worldwide annually. Can you imagine how terrible this is for our planet? The earth is choking to death!

Speaking of Amazon, the giant e-commerce platform contributes at least 709 MILLION POUNDS of plastic packaging waste every year. Worse, 26 million pounds of that end up in our waterways and oceans.

recycle amazon plastic bags
Garbage is Left on the Side of the Road in the Forest

The increasing, uncontrolled use of plastic waste is deeply concerning, causing damage across ecosystems. Almost every ecosystem line experiences damage caused by this notorious waste.

The United Nations states that about 800 marine species are impacted by plastic waste in our seas. Examples include the discovery of a gray whale stranded near Seattle with its stomach full of plastic bags (around 20!) and a golf ball!

The chaos doesn’t stop there! A harbor seal pup was found dead on the Scottish Island of Skye, bearing a small piece of plastic wrapper in its intestine. How much more suffering will these beautiful creatures endure due to our unwise use of single-use plastic bags?

To mitigate these horrendous impacts, sustainable packaging solutions may be the best answer. Unfortunately, the development of these products takes time, not to mention some properties considered inferior to conventional plastics.

One way you can at least contribute is to find the nearest plastic bag recycling locations and follow local recycling guidelines. You can also choose to recycle Amazon plastic bags and reuse Amazon bags in an effort to reduce single-use plastics consumption.

Given the significance of recycling, we detail Amazon’s sustainability efforts, specifically in terms of recycling, in the next section.

Amazon’s Initiatives for Plastic Bag Recycling

Being one of the top 10 largest companies globally, Amazon plays a significant role in the world economy, particularly in the U.S. Sadly, the increasing popularity of online shopping has led to high production of plastic bag waste by this giant e-commerce company. Oceana notes that e-commerce packaging data continues to rise.

recycle amazon plastic bags
Amazon Delivery Parcel

In 2019, it was estimated that around 465 million pounds of Amazon plastic bags were produced, increasing to approximately 599 million pounds in 2020. This number surged to 709 million tons in 2021!

Amazon’s plastic footprint also grows around 18%, following the same report.

Given this alarming statistic, a petition has emerged to reduce plastic waste at Amazon by offering customers plastic-free choices. The good news is that Amazon has started taking plastic pollution prevention measures seriously by introducing recycling programs, which we will discuss shortly!

Initiatives by Amazon to Reduce Plastic Bag

While we have outlined facts from legitimate sources regarding Amazon plastic bags’ waste production from 2019 to 2021, we discovered an interesting fact about how Amazon handles critics.

CNBC news reported a 0.4% decline in Amazon’s carbon emissions from 2021 to 2022. Additionally, Retail Dive mentioned the company is considering recyclable materials in Amazon packaging to reduce its contribution to plastic waste generation.

Amazon Offers Used Device Drop-off in Locker Locations
Amazon Offers Used Device Drop-off in Locker Locations

On its website, Amazon claims to have successfully reduced global additional shipping bag usage by 11%. In Amazon Europe, they have completely eliminated plastic bags, opting for 100% recyclable and compostable packaging.

Beyond that, you can also spot recycling symbols on plastic bags they use to ship. You can use the barcode that directs you to the website where you will learn how to recycle plastic bags.

Moreover, Amazon provides a recycling center for the plastic bags they generate, with steps you can learn in the following section. The service is managed by Amazon Second Chance, allowing you to upcycle plastic bags, sell used electronics, and repair items purchased from the company.

For electronics recycling, Amazon partners with ERI through an innovative recycling bin program. For other recyclables, Amazon collaborates with The Recycling Partnership to ensure proper disposal and recycling of Amazon plastic bags. We appreciate this movement, given Amazon’s significant impact on the environment as a major e-commerce platform.

How Consumers Can Recycle Amazon Plastic Bags?

recycle amazon plastic bags
Amazon Prime Cardboard Parcel

Learning the proper Amazon plastic bags disposal is crucial to help reduce the accumulation of plastic waste in our landfills. Instead of just disposing, consider recycling!

Amazon itself has provided the Amazon Second Chance service to accommodate recyclables. To try this service, you can follow the step-by-step guide on how to recycle Amazon plastic bags.

1. Steps to Prepare Amazon Plastic Bags for Recycling

How to recycle Amazon plastic bags, you ask? That’s actually easy but you must prepare the recyclables before sending them out to the recycling centers for plastic. Read on to find out!

  • First thing first, collect the bags in one bigger bag. Make sure the bag has the “Store Drop-Off” label as they are acceptable ones to recycle.
  • Then, inspect any possible contaminant. Check for any non-recyclable items or residues that may be there. You must also remove labels or stickers to speed up the sorting process at the recycling centers.
  • Don’t forget to empty the contents. Make sure your bags are empty and free from any food stains or debris.
  • If you spot stains, you can clean them with a damp microfiber and let them air dry.
  • Next, flatten your bags to ease the handling and save some space. You can also bundle the plastics if necessary.
  • Last but not least, bring the recyclables to the nearest store drop-off. It’s also possible to dump them on your curbside. Nonetheless, you must check detailed information with your local municipality.

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2. Drop-off Locations and Take-back Programs

Before you are going to recycle Amazon plastic bags, you better know some of the plastics that are accepted in the recycling programs. Here’s the list!

  • Grocery and produce bags
  • Bread bags
  • Plastic stretch wraps
  • Newspaper bags
  • Plastic mailers with compatible label
  • Wraps around paper products (paper towels, diapers, and more)
  • Cereal bags
  • Any flexible polyethylene-based plastics, such as HDPE or #2 plastics and LDPE or #4 plastics
  • Most importantly they MUST have the Store Drop-Off labels

If you are living in Europe or other countries and continents outside America, you can find the drop-off locations here.

For the United States citizens, you can find the store-drop locations around you. The recycling bins are generally spotted in the store entryway. You can also subscribe to the local curbside services if they take plastics to recycle.

Amazon Locker Hub for Product Pick Up
Amazon Locker Hub for Product Pick Up

Considering every state has a different website and guideline for recycling, we highly recommend you visit them to get further information. However, we have some resources to help you with clues about the recycling and take-back programs. Please visit these resources:

3. Reuse of Amazon Plastic Bags

Repurposing Amazon plastic bags can be one way towards a circular economy in packaging. We usually shred them to create cushioning or padding when shipping items.

These DIY packaging materials also help prevent glass breakage at home when they are stored in storage boxes. This method has proven effective in promoting a culture of conscious consumption by encouraging alternative uses before recycling.

In addition to turning the bags into padding, you can also explore creativity by transforming plastics into a water-resistant tote bag for reusable shopping. Try accessorizing it with colors and decorations according to your taste to create a versatile yet lovely shopping bag.

Last but not least, although we don’t always recommend it, you can use the bags to accommodate household waste instead of purchasing plastic trash bins.

The Future of Packaging: Moving Beyond Plastic Bags

With the increasing public awareness of how notorious plastic waste is, there’s a rising trend to create innovations that promote zero-waste packaging. The use of starch from various food sources and plants is among the most intensively researched.

Some include studies on biodegradable plastics from cassava starch, potato starch, and corn.

Additionally, various plants containing cellulose and pectin are being developed to reduce plastic pollution in the environment. This development is not without the role of consumers who are increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of plastics.

The Future of Packaging
The Future of Packaging

A survey by McKinsey states that 43% of US consumers consider environmental impact before making a purchase.

Furthermore, 72% and 70% of consumers see compostable and plant-based packaging as the most sustainable. This trend influences the global sustainable packaging market, estimated to reach US$ 285.3 billion in 2024 (Future Market Insights).

Amazon joins the trend by striving to reduce plastic use in their business. They have Amazon Second Chance, providing recycling, repairing, and upcycling services across the US, Canada, and Europe, making it easier for customers to recycle Amazon plastic bags.

However, we believe it would be even better if they could initiate community recycling projects among their customers as a tangible commitment to reducing plastic pollution on the planet.

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Final Thoughts

Recycling Amazon plastic bags is crucial for environmental sustainability. The giant company produces a massive amount of plastic packaging waste yearly, potentially polluting our environment. Additionally, Amazon has witnessed an increase in its plastic footprint, escalating environmental concerns.

Therefore, we believe recycling programs can be a smart solution to reduce the negative impact of plastic on the environment and promote circular economy initiatives across their partners and customers.

As consumers, it is our responsibility to continually support sustainability and urge companies and policymakers to prioritize environmental issues over profits. Let’s be the changemakers for the sake of a healthier planet!