Amazon Mailers

*This post has been updated December 2019 to provide additional information on how to contact Amazon and alternative methods of accessing a pickup site.

There’s been some confusion with the Amazon mailers so I’m going to clarify how to handle each one.

This is Amazon’s first mailer. It’s a yellow paper envelope lined in clear plastic bubble wrap. It’s a composite/mixed material and difficult to separate. It goes in the trash.

This is Amazon’s second mailer, the “environmentally friendly one.” It is white and blue (it’s white and gold in September for supporting a cause) and it can only be recycled in a bag recycling station like at a grocery store or at the Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center. You are supposed to try to remove the paper label so I cut that part out and recycle the rest with my other plastic bag materials.

This is Amazon’s newest mailer. It is brown paper with a foam material inside. Amazon’s mailer says it’s recyclable. It’s a composite/mixed material and difficult to separate. This is not recyclable in Austin. One of the Zero Waste Block Leaders called one of the City of Austin’s contractors directly and were told this goes in the trash.

Unfortunately we cannot request particular packaging from Amazon at checkout. If you choose to use them, try and order enough material at one time to warrant a box that can be easily reused and recycled. I hope this helps. If you would like to leave packaging feedback on Amazon, WikiHow has this helpful article. Amazon’s general feedback portal is here. If you have time, please consider providing packaging feedback. The more of us that comment/use our voices, the more likely Amazon and other sellers will improve their packaging choices. Otherwise with our silence sellers can think we’re happy with the choices they are making for us.

Amazon has more Prime pickup options now. I’m not sure if the material is still in an envelope or box at pickup, but if it’s not this may be a packaging-free option for you. My closest location is difficult for me to access unless one has a parking permit or pays to park in a garage and walk a bit (there is no loading/pickup zone), and hours are limited, so it’s not feasible for me right now but as one of my readers pointed out, one could walk, bus, ride a bike, or maybe a scooter (some spaces prohibit scooters so check first) to the location.

Please let me know if you have done a pickup, how it goes/went, and what the packaging was like. Thanks!