Eco-Tips: How to Recycle Amazon Bubble Envelopes?

To recycle Amazon bubble envelopes, first remove any labels or stickers, then clean the envelope. Next, separate the bubble wrap from the outer paper layer if possible, and check with local recycling centers or store drop-off locations that accept plastic film for recycling.

The urgent need to recycle Amazon bubble envelopes is essential for several reasons. Online shopping from various giant companies, including Amazon, has become more popular since the COVID-19 pandemic. This popularity has further increased during specific events, such as Black Friday, where the Pew Research Center recorded a total of $303.1 billion spent from October to December.

recycle amazon bubble envelopes
How to Recycle Amazon Bubble Envelopes?

Following this trend, the production of Amazon plastic waste and bubble envelopes is also expected to increase. This increase is because these padded mailers protect the goods customers have ordered.

To reduce the environmental impact of Amazon’s packaging materials, it is crucial to understand how to recycle padded envelopes and explore eco-friendly packaging options that meet customer needs.

Hence, we have summarized some key points to mitigate these issues and find biodegradable mailer alternatives below!

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon bubble envelopes contribute significantly to plastic waste and are challenging to recycle due to their mixed materials.
  • Proper recycling involves removing labels, cleaning the envelope, and separating materials if possible.
  • Few recycling centers accept these envelopes because they require specialized processing.
  • Upcycling or reusing bubble envelopes is encouraged to reduce environmental impact.
  • Check local recycling programs or store drop-off locations that participate in plastic film recycling.

The Importance of Recycling Bubble Envelopes

Reducing Amazon packaging waste, especially the bubble mailers as they contribute to the rising trend of landfill disposal. The bubbles are generally made of polyethylene plastics which are non-biodegradable materials, causing further harm to the environment.

In the following, we will learn more about the importance of Amazon packaging recycling and the benefits of upcycling bubble mailers.

1. Impact of Disposing of Amazon Envelopes Improperly

A 2022 study revealed that online shopping generates 4.8 times more packaging waste compared to in-store purchasing. Considering the delivery process, which carries a higher risk of item damage, forcing sellers to provide more protection.

Amazon itself employs bubble envelopes to package some of its items. Unfortunately, similar to other plastic packaging, this Amazon bubble-lined plastic envelope also has a negative impact on our environment.

recycle amazon bubble envelopes
Impact of Disposing of Amazon Envelopes Improperly

They are made of plastic film that does not naturally decompose and, of course, takes hundreds of years to fully break down.

The accumulation of these plastic wastes in landfills can be highly harmful to the surrounding ecosystem. The chemicals used to create the bubbles, for instance, can leach into the ground and contaminate it.

When it rains, these harmful substances can find their way into waterway systems, such as rivers and lakes, and ultimately end up in the ocean. Moreover, when the plastics break down into microplastics, they contaminate the soil, sea, and air, eventually entering the human body through inhalation or the food chain.

The impact of improper Amazon bubble mailer disposal can be substantial on all aspects of the environment. Therefore, it is crucial to recycle Amazon envelopes properly through upcycling or recycling, which you will learn about in the next section.

2. Benefits of Recycling Bubble Wrap

Amazon plastic film recycling in bubble wrap and padding has numerous environmental benefits. Remember what we mentioned about how they burden the landfill?

recycle amazon bubble envelopes
Benefits of Recycling Bubble Wrap

You can recycle the bubble wrap and reduce that burden. This is because the recycling process potentially reduces the demand for new plastic production derived from fossil fuels, another non-biodegradable source.

Therefore, recycling can eventually lower carbon emissions and mitigate the environmental impacts of extracting and processing materials for plastic production.

In addition, recycling promotes better waste management for bubble mailers, as it helps in reducing landfill waste. With this approach, we can also give a second life to bubble envelope materials and also minimize the environmental footprint of online shop packaging disposal.

Challenges in Recycling Amazon Bubble Envelopes

Though recycling offers promising results when it comes to plastic waste reduction, the approach also arrives with challenges. One of the most common issues is the complexity of bubble envelope materials.

As you know, the Amazon envelope with padding includes plastic film and plastic bubble combination. The fusion of these materials makes it difficult for plastic film recycling drop-off recycling and services to handle the separation effectively.

recycle amazon bubble envelopes
Challenges in Recycling Amazon Bubble Envelopes

Consequently, the recycling process becomes intricate. Thus, the recovery of these valuable materials is less effective.

Following the same problem, there’s a lack of recycling facilities that can process bubble wrap and similar plastics attached to the envelopes due to unavailable specialized machinery.

Many recycling services are only equipped with tools and equipment to handle only conventional plastics. They cannot handle the unique characteristics of bubble wraps, which are commonly made of diverse plastic polymers.

recycle amazon bubble envelopes
Amazon Prime Logo on a Plastic Buble Envelop

Customers, in addition, also have little knowledge about the how-to guidelines for bubble wrap recycling. Most of them are not well-informed about the specific nature of these envelopes, thus only several facilities can accept them.

That being said, a significant number of bubble wraps from packaging are often dumped in bins and end up in landfills rather than sent up to recycling centers for bubble envelopes. This, of course, is another environmental problem that will need further attention.

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How to Recycle Amazon Bubble Envelopes?

The relationship between mailer packaging and the environment is a bit intricate. Since there’s a limitation of the recycling centers for bubble envelopes, people tend to ditch the wraps to the trash.

Having this concerning issue, we have some plastic envelope recycling tips as well as step by step on how to recycle Amazon bubble envelopes. We also include some drop-off locations where you can send your bubble wraps below!

1. Step-by-step Guide on Preparing Amazon Bubble Envelope for Recycling

Here’s the step-by-step guide to preparing Amazon bubble envelopes before recycling and how to recycle them:

  • First thing to do is to collect used Amazon bubble envelopes. While doing so, make sure they are empty of any contents, including paper inserts, and make sure there are recycling symbols on mailers.
  • Then, peel off any shipping labels or stickers on the envelope. It will help the recycling staff to sort and process the bubbles effectively.
  • Don’t forget to clean the envelope using a microfiber cloth to prevent contamination during the recycling flow.
  • Next, separate different materials of your composite envelope (e.g., detach the padding from plastic film) to enhance the recycling efficiency.
  • After that, bundle the cleaned and label-free bubble envelopes together to allow the recycling staff to unload your recyclables easily.
  • You can check local recycling centers’ websites or other online platforms to find suitable drop-off locations. Also, we recommend contacting them directly to know about their services. For Amazon, you better check to find the store drop-off spots around the US, as it belongs to the Amazon Second Chance program.

2. Alternative Recycling Programs

Identifying local recycling programs for Amazon bubble envelopes can be tricky, but we have some simple tips to help you find the right one for your needs. You can start by checking the guidelines provided by local recycling centers or municipal recycling programs.

Generally, they offer such information on their websites, including a list of acceptable materials, instructions on preparation for recycling, schedules, and drop-off locations.

Alternative Recycling Programs
Alternative Recycling Programs

While browsing their websites, we recommend looking for specific details on whether they accept plastic film and bubble wrap for recycling.

Additionally, you should also check some environmental organization websites, such as Earth911 and RecycleNow. These websites include databases where you can input your location and zip code to explore nearby recycling drop-offs that accept bubble mailers.

In addition to traditional recycling methods, consider exploring alternative recycling programs. Larger retail chains usually offer take-back programs for certain packaging materials, which you can use to send off your bubble wraps.

We suggest checking with local big-box stores and supermarkets that participate in such programs. For instance, Walmart is known to participate in this initiative by providing drop-off containers at selected locations.

Alternatives to Recycling Amazon Bubble Envelopes

Instead of discarding your bubble wrap, it’s better to upcycle your plastic mailers. The reuse of plastic mailers is actually pretty great for shipping your letters or other small items, knowing they have a sturdy construction that makes them suitable for protecting items during delivery.

Nonetheless, don’t forget to remove the existing labels to ensure the envelope is clean and ready to use.

Another upcycle idea is to turn Amazon bubble envelopes into some art. For example, you can make a custom-sized padded envelope for mailing delicate items by cutting and reshaping the Amazon mailers.

Also, try to use the bubble to cushion fragile items and wrap decorative elements for craft projects, promoting bubble wrap envelope sustainability.

Alternatives to Recycling Amazon Bubble Envelopes
Alternatives to Recycling Amazon Bubble Envelopes

For the rest of the remaining bubble wraps you have, you better go to some supermarkets that offer recycling bins around their selected locations.

Walmart and Target, for instance, are known to have drop-off containers that allow customers to bring their recyclables, including plastic film to recycle. Terracycle also provides Terracycle envelope recycling for those who want to ditch their padded mailers!

But, we recommend approaching their staff to know details about what kind of items are acceptable. Also, it’s worthwhile to ask about their take-back initiative programs and how you can participate in this recycling system.

Furthermore, Amazon also provides such a program as their responsibility for our environment through Amazon’s environmental initiatives, where you can look for store drop-off by checking one on It’s available in the US only.

Future of Packaging in E-commerce

The future of eco-friendly packaging looks promising as awareness of plastic waste and its negative effects on the environment continues to increase. Based on our research, several innovations have been commercialized to replace plastic mailers.

One widely available option is the padded envelope from EcoEnclose, made from fibers derived from 100% recycled materials that are accepted in almost all recycling centers across the US.

Looking at this innovation, we can conclude that biodegradable and compostable bubble envelopes have great potential to truly replace the current plastic padded envelope.

Packing Yellow Bubble Envelopes for Shipping
Packing Yellow Bubble Envelopes for Shipping

From an environmental perspective, these padded mailers are more environmentally friendly due to the biodegradable materials used in their production. However, these cool innovations cannot effectively reduce the use of plastic envelopes without the involvement of policymakers.

Governments and international bodies also play a crucial role in encouraging eco-friendly plastic alternatives. Supportive policies could include incentives for businesses using reusable materials or penalties for those still using plastic.

The integration of innovation and policy will create a harmonious environment that supports the reduction of production and use of plastic mailers while embracing zero-waste envelope alternatives.

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Final Thoughts

All in all, recycling Amazon bubble envelopes is essential to reduce the environmental consequences of plastic packaging. So, if we know how to properly ditch them by recycling, we significantly contribute to saving our environment.

Meanwhile, the company can also actively participate in this movement by switching the padded mailers into biodegradable ones. And, don’t miss out on the importance of policymakers who can enact supportive regulations to boost sustainable practices. Remember, a collective effort can lead to a more sustainable future!