RECYCLING vaccine shipping containers

Merck has made a decision to discontinue the current shipping container recycling program on April 1, 2016. Last year, Merck created 2 new shipping containers in an effort to reduce the number of containers needed to ship our vaccines. Additional new containers will be introduced in 2016. Fewer containers will reduce the amount of recycling needed as well as align with Merck’s goal to support the environment by providing better packaging and shipping solutions.

What’s changing?

  • Effective April 1, 2016 UPS will no longer accept shipping containers on behalf of Merck for recycling.
  • Additionally, pre-paid UPS recycling return labels will no longer be included in new deliveries from UPS for Merck products.

What’s not changing?

  • Shipping containers will continue to be made from EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) which is a recyclable material.

Important notes

  • After April 1, UPS will no longer accept containers on behalf of Merck for recycling
  • Local or regional options for recycling of polystyrene may exist in your area; please contact your local municipality or township for specific information
  • Information regarding recycling has been updated on®. You can access this information under ‘Professional Resources’ or at
  • The current process for handling product returns is not changing
  • If you have any questions, please contact the Merck Vaccine Customer Center at 1-877-829-6372, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM ET
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Merck discontinuing its recycling program?
Why does Merck continue to use Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) to ship vaccines?
Where can I send my shipping containers for recycling if I want to continue to recycle on my own?
What is Merck doing to reduce the number of shipping containers being sent?
Do you think Merck will offer shipping container recycling again in the future?
What is Merck doing to support the environment?
Is there someone at Merck I can speak to regarding this decision?
Do other vaccine manufacturers or distributors offer shipping container recycling programs?

UPS=United Parcel Service.

VACC-1063886-0005 03/16