Update from Austin Resource Recovery staff December 2021:
The white and blue Amazon bubble mailer is not accepted at the Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center. It has too much glue attaching the inside clear bubble wrap to the white and blue outside. ARR directed these to the HEB plastic bag stations for recycling.
Don’t forget to remove all the paper shipping and delivery labels. Throw the labels away as they are stuck on plastic film and can’t be recycled that way. Remember that composites, mixes of materials like paper and plastic, or even mixes of plastic types, cannot currently be recycled.
A couple things on this:
- Once again, plastic is hard to recycle. The reason can be a mix of plastics, too much glue, or not have a market for reuse. Cardboard is still easier to reuse and recycle at this point and you can put it in your curbside recycling cart unlike the plastic bubble mailers which need taken to a bag recycling station.
- This is not the City of Austin’s fault or choice so please do not get upset at them. The non-acceptance is direction from the City’s contractor(s), and is a result of the plastic recycling market and what businesses are willing to pay for and reuse from recycled plastics.
- Write to Amazon to use more boxes and/or to take back their mailers themselves for recycling. The brown mailer from Amazon is not a better option, it is also not recyclable in Austin. The contractors won’t accept it for the same reason: the “padding” inside are glue dots so there’s too much glue in the paper to recycle that paper into quality material.
- If your HEB plastic bag recycling station is overflowing, please contact your local and perhaps even corporate HEB to let them know of the issue, especially if it is recurring.
Buying local, using “Near You” feature on your internet searches, and communicating with your family, friends and neighbors for brick-and-mortar/local store locations are going to be ways to be a little more green, more zero waste, more local, and grow communication and awareness of our impact. Talk to your connections about why you are asking where they bought something or if they’ve seen the brand or product locally that you are looking for. I know it’s hard, and I know that with this pandemic, busy schedules, and finding more environmentally friendly choices ironically enough usually means having items shipped to our homes. Just take small little green steps. Work on one item or category at a time and see what you can do. If it doesn’t work out, that is okay. Do what you need to do for you. Perhaps for you your step right now is to stick with Amazon but to hold off on enough purchases they warrant a box instead of envelopes. Or perhaps you can figure out how to get Amazon to default your shipping to boxes, a feat I still have yet to figure out.
Purchase how you need to. Try to keep these factors in mind and if sometimes you can make a greener choice but not always;, great job on the small step. If you are recycling, please help make the “recycling stream” cleaner by properly preparing your items. Thank you.