When associate editor Rosin Saez wrote about a local recycling startup called Ridwell for our June/July issue, her words set off some galling twinges in my soul.
I hadn’t realized all those blue and white Amazon packaging envelopes don’t belong in the recycling bin. I’d been ordering cat vitamins and dish soap with abandon, and stuffing those mailers in the recycling without a second thought.
After Rosin’s story, I shelled out for a yearlong membership to Ridwell, which schleps that packaging, and other tough-to-recycle items from bras to batteries, off your porch and onto some sort of functional future. This week, however, the service announced a onetime pickup of Amazon packaging, for free, to nonmembers during the latter half of July. It's a response to Prime Day, Amazon's annual frenzy of discounts, available only to its Prime members.
Ridwell founder Ryan Metzger says his team will collect those plastic shipping envelopes, poly bags, and plastic air-filled cushions: "The shape on these is so flexible, for regular recyclers, it's very hard to separate." Check out the website for instructions on how to sign up, and the company will designate a day between July 22 and August 1 for you to bag up your abundance of Amazon packaging and leave it on the porch. Ridwell takes the packaging to a specialized facility in Kent and, as GeekWire puts it, all that plastic film “is ultimately processed in Oregon and turned into material such as plastic lumber used in decking.”
Seattle’s hometown multinational online retail juggernaut launched Prime Day just four years ago, but it’s already become a veritable shopping event on par with Black Friday. Ridwell’s move is a canny promotion, for sure, but also a commentary on how rapidly Prime Day has become a thing.