Can Bubble Mailers Be Recycled?

It’s becoming more and more important to pay attention to sustainability and do our part by recycling and being conscious of our waste decisions as both consumers and business owners. While it is easy to determine that certain things can be recycled like plastic water bottles, glass bottles, beverage cans, paper, and cardboard, there are a few products that make us hesitate when we reach the decision to put something in the recycle bin or the garbage can. Bubble mailers are one of those tricky products that you may want to think twice about before throwing them straight into the recycling bin. 

One example of a company that is notorious for using bubble mailers (pictured above) is Amazon, who claims to offer recyclable packaging even though it’s not as simple as it seems. Rather than making better packaging decisions, companies like Amazon that actively use bubble mailers place the burden on the consumer to deal with the recycling challenges themselves. Keep reading to learn more about whether bubble mailers can in fact be recycled and if there are any accompanying stipulations so you can make smart, eco-friendly decisions for your business that make a difference.

The short answer and the long answer

The short answer to “can bubble mailers be recycled?” is technically, yes, they can. Plastic based packaging like bubble mailers can theoretically be recycled, but it is not easy since these materials can’t be recycled using standard municipality pickup programs (like the ones who likely come to your home). The best place for consumers to recycle bubble mailers is wherever they can recycle plastic bags like at large chain grocery stores. The reason is that plastic used in bubble mailers and polybags is typically made from polyethylene, which can be recycled the same way a plastic bag can. 

One thing that is important for consumers to pay attention to is that unlike grocery bags, bubble mailers often have shipping labels or stickers applied to them. These must be removed entirely before placed in an appropriate recycle bin either by peeling them off or cutting them out of a package with scissors. Another thing to note is that mixed mediums cannot be recycled.  Bubble mailers constructed with paper on the outside and plastic on the inside are not recyclable unless that liner is separated from the plastic entirely, which is unlikely. The bottom line is that yes, bubble mailers can be recycled, but these added layers of friction show up in the recycling rates of plastics vs. paper based packaging which can make it a hassle for consumers to properly recycle and charges responsible business owners with making strategic and sustainable packaging decisions.

Harsh facts about plastic recycling

While many consumers feel like they are doing their best to recycle responsibly and do in fact recycle plastic, it might surprise you to learn that unfortunately less than 5% of all plastics are actually recycled. This means that even though lots of different plastics can actually be recycled responsibly, very little of it is. This fact is even more startling when you compare it to the recycle rate of paper which is a whopping 66%. 

Some of the best ways to be the exception as the consumer and do your part are to choose recyclable products over those that are difficult to recycle when you can. Another way is to do your homework and due diligence when it comes to recycling so you gain peace of mind that you’re making a difference and doing so responsibly. For business owners, buying sustainable packaging is a very critical step to helping consumers and the environment as a whole.

Opt. for eco-friendly packaging

At Best Mailer, we run a sustainable business and believe in the power of recycling and environmental responsibility. We firmly stand behind our claims of 100% paper, 100% recyclable, and 100% compostable because we care, and because it’s important to us. Our eco-friendly packaging is ideal for sustainable businesses so you can ship with confidence and conscience.

We’re here to provide best-in-class mailers that go head-to-head with bubble mailers and small boxes which any smart business owner should take advantage of. Our products make it so you and anyone you ship to can safely and confidently recycle any of our mailers. With mailers that are as great for the environment as they are for your business, you can easily make a difference starting today.

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Can Bubble Mailers Be Recycled?

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