Amazon reduces plastic packaging in North American deliveries

Amazon has replaced 95 per cent of the plastic air pillows from delivery packaging in North America with paper filler, working toward full removal by end of year, the company says.

The removal of 95 per cent of Amazon’s plastic air pillows is a step in its path to avoid and reduce packaging—and part of our multi-year effort to remove plastic delivery packaging from North America fulfillment centres. To date, this will be Amazon’s largest plastic packaging reduction effort in North America and will avoid nearly 15 billion plastic air pillows annually.

“I’m proud of the cross-Amazon collaboration to make a positive impact on the customer delivery experience with easier to recycle materials,” said Pat Lindner, VP of mechatronics and sustainable packaging. “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 end of year and will continue to innovate, test, and scale in order to prioritize curbside recyclable materials.”

Last October, Amazon announced its first US automated fulfillment centre in Ohio to eliminate plastic delivery packaging, including the transition from plastic air pillows to paper filler. This allowed it to test and learn and move quickly on transitioning to paper filler for 95 per cent of shipments in less than a year. The company collaborated with suppliers to source paper filler made from 100 per cent recycled content, while coordinating the transition across hundreds of fulfillment centres.

Amazon discovered that paper filler offers the same or better product protection than plastic air pillows. The paper filler is curbside recyclable, making it easier for our customers to recycle at home, and made from 100 per cent percent recycled content.

This effort builds on Amazon’s investment in reducing packaging and increasing curbside recyclability, the company said. This includes programs like its work to ship items without additional packaging. In 2022, 11 per cent of all packages shipped by Amazon globally were without added Amazon delivery packaging through the Ships in Product Packaging program, where Amazon tests and certifies products to ensure they can ship in their own packaging.