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November 14, 2019

How to Recycle your Holiday Shipping Packaging

It’s that wonderful time of year.  It’s time for friends, family, food, pretty lights, gifts, holiday music and tons of boxes and plastic wrappings from everything we ordered online.

Ten years ago, the world looked a lot different when it came to shopping.  Sadly, the days of shopping malls and going to local stores to purchase your holiday gifts (and everyday items) seem to be taken over by the ease of ordering everything you need from the comfort of your home.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with placing online orders.  I order plenty online.  However, I am often faced with a ton of large boxes and awkward plastic remnants from the items I ordered.  Chances are, if you’re like me, you’ve asked these questions:  Is it recyclable? What do I do when my recycle cart is full?  Could there be a better way to dispose of all of these boxes?  Is there a service that will come pick up my leftover boxes?

Large companies such as Amazon have taken notice of all the extra packaging and waste that consumers are faced with once they receive their order.  One quick tip:  If you click on any item that you ordered, there is an option that says “is it recyclable” and gives you the answers for the packaging you ordered.

To make life a little easier, attached is a downloadable PDF with a quick reference to what can be recycled and/or how.

Currently, there is not a local service here in Denver that specializes in picking up shipping boxes (could be a nice business venture, huh!?).  However, Amazon does have a nice recommendation of what you can do with your boxes.

The program is called the Give Back Box.  I love the idea of this program.  We all have things laying around the house that we don’t use anymore and should probably donate.  This program allows you to put these items into a box, print a free shipping label, and the box is then sent to charities which will sort through the boxes and give the items to those in need.

“Give Back Box® provides vendor services to retailers and charities, giving each and every cardboard box a second life to help people in need. So it is also a ‘green’ solution! Reuse your online shipping boxes in which you received your purchases, or any other cardboard box you may have, to donate your unwanted household items: such as gently used clothing, shoes etc., to make a major difference in the life of another person.”

Amazon also has a trade-in program.  You can receive a gift card for exchanging the eligible items.

The City of Denver, who is in charge of collecting the trash, recycling, and composting materials, gives all homes one 65-gallon trash cart and one 65-gallon recycle cart.  However, you can call 311 (or call 720-913-1311) to request a second recycle cart and/or a larger trash cart! The larger carts come in 95-gallon sizes.  Each home may have up to two 95-gallon recycle carts, and one 95-gallon trash cart.  Click HERE for the Acceptable Materials for Recycling as well as a list of items that cannot be recycled.

If you have more recyclable materials than recycle carts to hold it, you can drop those items off, for free, at the Cherry Creek Recycling Drop Off Center.

So now that we’ve covered options for boxes, what about all the packaging that comes inside of the boxes?  Well, some of it is recyclable, some is not.  For grocery bags, plastic film material, dry cleaning bags, food storage bags, and shipping pillows, you can drop these items off at several local grocery stores.

What about electronic items?  Many, if not most, electronic items cannot be recycled as easily as paper and plastic items.  However, PCs for People is a great place to turn to if you have a large quantity electronic items that you don’t want anymore.  To request a free pick up, you must have a large quantity of electronic items to recycle.  Nonetheless, there are many events around the city in which PCs for People place bins for you to drop off any of those unwanted items.

And Amazon has an option for recycling both functioning and non-functioning electronic devices.

Obviously, the topic of recycling can get very in-depth.  We hope to explore this important topic more in depth in the future.  This article is just to give you some tips and additional help when it comes to answering these common questions especially around the holiday season.

If you have any other tips for recycling Amazon boxes, we would love to hear them!


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