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Amazon Replaces 95% of Plastic Air Pillows with Recyclable Paper, Avoiding 15 Billion Plastic Pillows Annually

Amazon Replaces 95% of Plastic Air Pillows with Recyclable Paper, Avoiding 15 Billion Plastic Pillows Annually

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Key Impact Points:

  • Amazon replaces 95% of plastic air pillows with recyclable paper filler in North America.
  • Effort aims to avoid nearly 15 billion plastic air pillows annually.
  • Full removal of plastic air pillows targeted by end of the year.

Executive Summary:

Amazon has announced a significant reduction in plastic packaging, replacing 95% of plastic air pillows with paper filler across North America. This move is part of a broader initiative to enhance sustainability and reduce waste. Amazon aims for full removal of plastic air pillows by year-end, potentially avoiding nearly 15 billion plastic air pillows annually.

Amazon has announced a landmark achievement in its sustainability efforts by replacing 95% of plastic air pillows from delivery packaging in North America with paper filler. This significant change is part of Amazon’s broader initiative to completely remove plastic air pillows by the end of the year.

We’re constantly inventing and thinking big to make our packaging small,” said Pat Lindner, VP of Mechatronics and Sustainable Packaging. “We want to ensure that customers receive their items undamaged while using as little packaging as possible to avoid waste, and prioritizing recyclable materials.

The removal of plastic air pillows represents Amazon’s largest packaging reduction effort in North America. The initiative will prevent nearly 15 billion plastic air pillows from entering the waste stream annually. For this year’s Prime Day, almost all deliveries will be free of plastic air pillows.

I’m proud of the cross-Amazon collaboration to make a positive impact on the customer delivery experience with easier to recycle materials,” Lindner added. “It’s a great example of how we thoughtfully test and scale new solutions to protect our customer experience.

This transition began with Amazon’s first U.S. automated fulfillment center in Ohio, where plastic air pillows were replaced with paper filler. This pilot allowed Amazon to quickly implement the change across hundreds of fulfillment centers, involving thousands of employees in new system training.

Christian Garcia, a fulfillment associate at the BFL1 center in Bakersfield, California, shared his enthusiasm: “I’m so excited we’re changing over to paper. It’s not only easier to work with, but the machinery gives us more space so it’s easier to pack orders. And I’m proud to be a part of a change that allows customers to recycle at home.

Amazon’s investment in reducing packaging waste includes programs like the Ships in Product Packaging program, which ensures items can be shipped safely in their own packaging, eliminating the need for additional packaging. In 2022, 11% of all Amazon packages globally shipped without added delivery packaging.

Additionally, Amazon is innovating new materials and recycling solutions. Collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy and Glacier, a San Francisco-based AI and robotics company, Amazon is developing AI-powered robots to automate recycling sorting and collect real-time data on recycling streams.

Related Article: U.S. Plastics Pact Unveils Roadmap 2.0 with Bold Goals to Eliminate Plastic Packaging Waste

Teams across Amazon continue to advance sustainability initiatives, from improving packaging to electrifying the delivery fleet and investing in renewable energy. Amazon’s ongoing efforts are detailed in their Sustainability Report, reflecting their commitment to providing customers with a more sustainable shopping experience.


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