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Amazon Replaces 95% of Plastic Packaging in North America with Paper Filler

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Amazon has achieved a significant milestone in its sustainability efforts by replacing 95% of the plastic air pillows used in delivery packaging across North America with paper filler. This initiative aims for complete removal of plastic air pillows by the end of the year.

The company is committed to ensuring that customers receive their items undamaged while minimizing packaging waste and prioritizing recyclable materials. This shift away from plastic air pillows marks Amazon’s largest plastic packaging reduction effort in North America, expected to eliminate nearly 15 billion plastic air pillows annually. For Prime Day, nearly all customer deliveries will be devoid of plastic air pillows.

Pat Lindner, VP of Mechatronics and Sustainable Packaging at Amazon, expressed pride in the collaborative effort, stating, “It’s a great example of how we thoughtfully test and scale new solutions to protect our customer experience. We are working towards full removal in North America by the end of the year and will continue to innovate, test, and scale in order to prioritize curbside recyclable materials.”

Last October, Amazon introduced its first U.S. automated fulfillment center in Ohio to eliminate plastic delivery packaging, transitioning to paper filler. This pilot project facilitated the swift transition to paper filler for 95% of Amazon’s shipments within a year. The initiative involved sourcing paper filler made from 100% recycled content and coordinating the transition across hundreds of fulfillment centers, including retraining thousands of employees and updating machinery.

Testing revealed that paper filler provides equal, if not better, protection for products compared to plastic air pillows. Additionally, the paper filler is curbside recyclable, making it easier for customers to recycle at home.

In 2022, Amazon shipped 11% of all packages globally without added Amazon delivery packaging through its Ships in Product Packaging program. This program tests and certifies products to ensure safe shipping in their own packaging.

Amazon continues to innovate in materials and recycling solutions, collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy and piloting AI-powered robots with San Francisco-based company Glacier to automate recycling sorting and reduce landfill waste.

Amazon’s ongoing commitment to sustainability reflects its dedication to reducing its environmental footprint while maintaining customer satisfaction.