Blog Post

How to Recycle Amazon Packaging

My family loves online shopping from Amazon. My wife and I both work and have kids. The last thing we want to do – or have time for – is going to the store. Seemingly every day, we receive packages of diapers, gifts, household supplies and clothes. We even do grocery shopping online.

The result? Colossal cardboard piles of Amazon packages.

So if you’re like me and my family, make the most of your spoils from Amazon shopping and make your recycling count.

Amazon Package Recycling Instructions

1. Flatten the boxes

Start by breaking down the boxes and flattening them as much as possible. Remove any tape or labels from the surfaces of the cardboard.

2. Separate packing materials

Take out any plastic air pillows, bubble wrap, packaging peanuts, Styrofoam, or other packing materials from inside the box. These should be disposed of separately in accordance with your local recycling guidelines.

3. Check for recyclability

Before recycling, make sure to check if your local service provider accepts corrugated cardboard packaging in their recycling program. Some areas have specific rules about what types of cardboard can be recycled.

4. Clean and dry

Ensure that all cardboard pieces are clean and free from any food residues or liquids before placing them in your recycling bin. Contaminated paper products cannot be recycled and, in fact, can ruin entire batches of recyclables.

5. Bundle or stack neatly

If required by your local recycling rules, bundle or stack flattened boxes together to make handling easier for collectors and processors.

Pro Recycling Tip

Keep a box cutter near your recycling cart, but safely out of reach of children.

Check Your Local Service Provider

When it comes to recycling Amazon packages, or anything for that matter - be sure to check the recycling guidelines of your local service provider.

Different cities and regions have varying guidelines for recycling, so it's essential to know what options are available in your area.

Remember, every small action counts towards a more sustainable future!

Drop-Off Locations

If curbside pickup is not available in your area, don't worry! There may still be drop-off locations where you can take your Amazon packages for recycling. These could be at designated facilities or even at certain retail stores that participate in recycling programs.

Don't Contaminate Your Amazon Packaging

When it comes to recycling Amazon packaging, one important thing to keep in mind is to avoid contaminating your cardboard packaging.

Despite the jumps in recycling, it’s estimated that more than 40 percent of material entering U.S. landfills is paper-based, including cardboard. These items are easily recycled and could save landfill space while preserving valuable natural resources. One way to do this is by making sure your Amazon packaging doesn’t get contaminated.

Contamination occurs when non-recyclable items are mixed with recyclable ones, making the entire batch unsuitable for recycling. And when this happens, the whole batch of recycling must be removed from recycling and put into the landfill.

Contamination can also happen if your Amazon package is dirty or stained from food waste, paint, or other similar contaminants.

Fun Cardboard Facts

With as many boxes as my family uses, it’s no surprise that cardboard recycling numbers have increased dramatically in the past two decades. 

Since 1995, the amount of cardboard recovered for recycling has increased by more than 50 percent, according to the American Forest & Paper Association.

Rumpke’s Cardboard Numbers

Rumpke has witnessed similar trends. Take our Cincinnati recycling facility, for example. Cardboard made up about 5 percent of our recycling volume from residential and commercial programs in 2010, and we’re approaching 17 percent in 2016. 

While some of the larger boxes become building blocks or crayon canvases, the majority get flattened and placed in our recycling cart. I’m becoming a recycling cart Tetris expert. 

Granted, the makeup of our material depends on how much other stuff we bring in for recycling, and recently we’ve seen a steep decline in newspaper. However, it’s staggering to see spikes like this from a single material.

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