Plastic Free Postage

Kia Ora! Here’s an interesting plastic free hurdle I’ve recently come across. I’ve been mailing a few parcels of late, as I’m selling things on Trademe or sending my friends packages. I quickly realised it can be really confusing and sometimes costly if you are trying to post something with your own packaging. I used to use the NZ Post bags, however these are plastic and often get tossed straight in the bin afterwards. So what can we do to minimise the amount of plastic used in mail?


I have been posting parcels wrapped in wax paper & recycled brown paper bags, and taped using a plastic free tape. You need to be careful with this option as sometimes it can be more expensive than the pre-paid bags (why??! This makes literally no sense! Here’s looking at you NZ Post), more often than not it’s cheaper. Although one time the postal cashier tried to sell me a plastic pre-paid bag to put my already paper wrapped package in.


I found this plastic free tape at The Warehouse Stationary in Downtown. It’s not cheap at $7 for a small roll though. The tape is made from plant cellulose so can be composted. Paper tape is a great affordable alternative.

During Plastic Free July I received a package in a plastic postage bag. I opened it carefully and put it aside to re-use. I took the re-used postage bag confidently to the counter to pay for the postage:
Me- I’d like to pay for postage please
Cashier- Um… is that a re-used postal bag??
Me- Yes.
Cashier- *silence and typing* … Uh… next time turn the bag inside out so it’s not confusing..
Me- Ok that makes sense
Cashier-  That will be $2.70…. At least you are reducing the amount of rubbish…
Me- *ding ding ding!* Yes that’s it! This is a single use item and it does not need to be plastic!
Success! My re-using of the postage bag got the postal worker thinking about the wastefulness of these bags.



So while it is totally possible to re-use these bags, it’s best to turn them inside out. However myself and some other plastic free goers have noticed that sometimes it’s cheaper to just buy new pre-paid bag. This is really frustrating, as shouldn’t it cost less when you are reusing?

The bags are a plastic 4 and can be recycled in the soft plastic scheme. However recycling is should always be the last option. 

There is currently a petition to NZ Post to consider an alternative to plastic postal bags. Please read and sign it!


  1. azerowastewarrior   •  

    Ha! Yeah, I've done the reusing NZ Post plastic bags to send stuff. It really confuses the heck out of staff! They really have a ways to go with sustainable practice. Now I just don't buy things online unless the seller agrees to send it sans plastic, which is usually not a problem. Where do you get your plastic-free tape from?

  2. Amanda Chapman   •  

    The tape that is pictured I bought from Warehouse Stationary, it wasn't cheap- about $7! I just use paper masking tape these days, had a roll floating around my house.

  3. Marino   •  

    Hi. Just came across your post and wondering where you got that Scotch tape from and what is the tape made out of since it is not plastic?
    I see warehouse stationery sells the brand but not sure if they sell this particular packaged one.

    • Amanda Chapman   •     Author

      Hi Marino,
      I purchased this tape from Warehouse Stationary a few years ago. I got it from the Downtown one when the mall was still there! It’s a cellulose tape, so it’s made from plants. I think paper tape is also an option to use as well. I hope you can find some!

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