7 Best Eco-Friendly Mailers & Sustainable Packaging

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We cover heaps of eco-friendly products here at TheRoundup and receive deliveries pretty much every day.

It’s a constant reminder that we must take a 360-degree approach to sustainability when shopping online.

The best eco-friendly products deserve to be shipped in the best eco-friendly mailers.

Amazon has been my first port of call for eco-friendly mailers for years.

If you find the right product/seller combination, you can be sure to get quality eco-friendly mailers shipped in an eco-friendly mailer.

I was sure this article would be a list of my favorite eco-friendly mailers available on amazon…until I came across noissue.

Safe to say I have "No Issue" with this Overall Winner...

NOTE: If you're not an eco-friendly business looking for branded eco-friendly mailers, then you might want to scroll down a little to the options available on Amazon.

Pros & Cons

Extensive range
Strong eco-credentials
Ideal for eco-friendly businesses
Customization available
Potentially expensive for personal use

They Say: Standout packaging. Circular materials. On-brand. noissue. Bring your brand to life with on-brand packaging that speaks to your creativity and values. Whether you’re starting out or scaling up, our low minimums and circular materials will help you deliver an on-brand unboxing experience. Great for those wow-moments!

We Say: More people than ever are working from home. For many, that means following their dreams and starting a home business.

To ensure you maintain good eco-friendly standards, you’re going to want to think seriously about the mailers you use to send your goods out to customers.

This is where noissue. seriously have your back!

Their entire product range falls into one of three circular frameworks:

  1. Compostable
  2. Recycled
  3. Reusable

And, on the subject of the product range, it’s extensive!:

  • Tissue & Wrapping
  • Stamps & Embossers
  • Stickers & Labels
  • Boxes & Mailers
  • Cards & Tags
  • Tape & Dispensers
  • Bags & Totes
  • Foodsafe & Greaseproof

From small startups to large corporations ordering in bulk.

From full customizations to plain and simple.

noissue. has a sustainable packaging solution that will be perfect for you and your customers.

Personal non-business customers are also welcome. For example, think bespoke shipping boxes for holiday season gifts or wedding gifts.

Saving The Planet One Plastic-Free Mailer At a Time

Just like plastic bags, traditional poly mailers (also known as low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or plastic #4) take hundreds of years to break down and leach toxins into the earth.

Fortunately, there are now numerous sustainable mailer options to help you ditch the plastic bags and ‘mail green’.

Sustainable Packaging Types

Sustainable mailers do not pollute the earth when they reach the end of their life. They can be biodegraded or composted back to nature. Usually either at home or in commercial facilities.

Poly Mailers - Biodegradable / Compostable

Eco-friendly poly mailers are made from plastic-like materials that can biodegrade or compost under the right conditions.

Bubble Mailers - Biodegradable / Compostable

Similar to a poly mailer, a biodegradable/compostable bubble mailer offers more protection to fragile items.

Mailer Boxes - Biodegradable / Compostable

Usually made from cardboard, mailer boxes are more rigid than poly mailers. This makes them ideal for shipping bulky and heavy items.

Always ensure that any mailers containing cardboard or paper use trees from a sustainable source. The Forest Stewardship Council certification is a good one to look out for.

Brown Bag Mailers - Biodegradable / Compostable

Brown bags are a hybrid of poly mailers and mailer boxes. They’re usually made from cardboard-like materials but are not as rigid as mailer boxes.

Paper Envelopes - Biodegradable / Compostable

Brown paper envelopes are often more sustainable than white ones. This is due to the harsh chemicals used to bleach white envelopes.

Kraft Paper - Biodegradable / Compostable

Kraft paper is a thin version of cardboard (usually sold on a roll or in sheets, like gift wrap). It’s great for wrapping/shipping hard, sturdy items, such as books.

Other Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Look Out For

  • Recycled Mailers: Mailers made from recycled materials (such as recycled paper that you can recycle again) are a very sustainable option.
  • Reusable Mailers: Reusing old mailers (even ones made from non-eco-friendly materials) is also an excellent way to boost the sustainability of your mailings. Just be sure to dispose of them responsibly when they reach the end of their usable life.
  • Don’t Use Too Much: When choosing your mailer options, think carefully about what it is you're shipping to ensure you only use what you need. Don’t cut back too much though. You don't want your item arriving damaged!
  • Practice Life Cycle Thinking: Take time to consider the full environmental impact of your mailer choices (from start of life to end of life). Doing so will help you identify small changes that make a big difference. This applies more to companies but is also helpful for individuals who want to make a difference.

Biodegradable Mailers v Compostable Mailers

The definition of biodegradable and compostable has become somewhat blurred over the years.

They’re often interchanged for each other or simply misused.

But there’s a subtle difference between compostable mailers and biodegradable mailers, as explained here.

Six Eco-Friendly Packaging Options We Loved - All Available on Amazon

They Say: Made of PBAT and modified corn starch in accordance with the standards of ASTM 6400, EN13432, BPI, and OK COMPOST HOME. This material is BPA-free, non-microplastics, and represents a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to traditional plastics. These biodegradable shipping envelopes are resistant to moisture, water, punctures, and stretching.

We Say: These poly mailers are made using corn starch and certified by TÜV AUSTRIA to be fully compostable (both industrial composting and home composting).

It’s a strong, durable, and waterproof mailer bag. You could definitely reuse it many times before tossing it onto the compost heap.

I also love that non-toxic, water-based ink has been used to color this compostable bag.

They Say: KIPULU is on a mission to save the Earth, one compostable package at a time. Certified Toxic-Free Ink by Dincerto and International Standards are being used on KIPULU High strength seams for maximum protection. Superior tear and puncture resistance. The surface easily accepts ink, stamps, and labels.

We Say: These bubble padded mailers offer more protection than poly mailers while still maintaining high sustainability standards.

The manufacturer states that this eco-friendly packaging material will fully compost within 3-6 months (depending on conditions) and leave nothing behind.

They will even fully compost within 15-18 months in landfills. Impressive stuff!

These compostable credentials do come at a shelflife cost, though.

The manufacturer advises that these bubble mailers will last 12 months in storage temperatures below 95F. Something to bear in mind if you're a bulk buyer like me

The plastic-free self-sealing nature of these bubble bags means that no tape or glue is required.

They Say: Crush-resistant mailers fold to provide double walls of protection on front and sides. These one-piece mailers fold together in seconds. No tape, Glue, or stapler needed. Corrugated Mailers are super strong yet lightweight to save on postage and packaging materials, perfect for shipping small, lightweight, fragile items.

We Say: These cardboard box mailers are perfect for mailing small, fragile items.

They’re made from top-quality 32ect-B kraft corrugated cardboard and are fully compostable.

They get shipped to you flat. You then fold them into a box when you need them. No glue, tape, or staples are required.

They are small. If you’re looking to ship bigger items, the next option might be more what you’re looking for.

They Say: Made of corrugated kraft cardboard and high tile paper. This mailer box is lightweight but sturdy. Front locking tabs and side flaps provide double strength and shipping security. The brown color is ideal for gift packaging and small business. Get creative and decorate the box with flowers, personalized stickers, or ink stamps for a bright new look.

We Say: If you’re looking for eco-friendly kraft box mailers but need more choice with it comes to size, then PHAREGE is worth a look.

They have eco-friendly box mailers available in the following sizes:

  • 4” x 4” x 2”
  • 7” x 5” x 2”
  • 9” x 6” x 2”
  • 11” x 8” x 2”
  • 13” x 10” x 2”
  • 6” x 4” x 3”
  • 9” x 6” x 4”
  • 12” x 9” x 3”
  • 12” x 9” x 4”

You can view their full range here.

They Say: Be prepared for sending out business letters, holiday notes, important documents, and photos with these versatile number 10 envelopes. The kraft paper design allows these envelopes to stand out when compared to traditional white envelopes, and the warm brown color provides a welcoming feel.

We Say: I’ve not got a great deal to add.

These are great value basic #10 envelopes that don't cost the earth…financially and literally!

They Say: The honeycomb paper packaging is made of reusable and degradable environmentally friendly kraft paper cushioning material, making nature more green and beautiful.

We Say: I recommended this kraft cushioning paper in my 9 Most Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper & Gift Bags article, and it's still my ’go-to’ when shipping fragile gifts (usually wine to my parents!).

A little goes a long way, thanks to its 1:1.6 stretching ratio, and my grape-based offerings always arrive undamaged.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Most Eco-Friendly Mailer?

This is a tricky one to give a specific answer to as it depends on your needs. Is the item heavy, fragile, susceptible to water damage, etc.?

All of these will have a bearing on the mailer you choose. First, identify your needs, and then select a mailer that you can reuse and eventually dispose of in a zero-waste manner.

What Are Compostable Mailers Made Out Of?

Soft compostable mailers are usually made from a renewable, corn-based plastic called PLA. Rigid compostable mailers are usually made from cardboard/kraft paper.

Can You Shred Envelopes With Plastic Windows?

I would not recommend doing so. This might lead to blockages and eventually burning out the shredder motor.

The Final Word

It’s pretty clear what we need to be doing when shipping our awesome eco-friendly gifts and cards to our loved ones. Use sustainable, eco-friendly mailers that can be recycled, composted, or biodegraded.

However, the sustainable packaging issue is less clear regarding companies and brands.

Sure, in an ideal world, everything we buy would come shipped with zero plastic.

However, as this report by Patagonia highlights, sometimes the environmental cost of wasted/damaged stock outweighs the benefits of some sustainable mailers.

A balance needs to be found here.

We should all do our bit to use sustainable mailers whenever possible. To help limit plastic waste and reduce carbon emissions.

But maybe don't freak out when a company uses plastic mailers to protect the items they’re sending. Especially if that plastic mailer can be reused/repurposed multiple times before being disposed of as responsibly as possible.

Get In Touch

Where do you buy your eco-friendly mailers? Have I missed your favorite poly mailer or kraft box of choice? Drop me a line and let me know.

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James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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