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

Source: Amazon

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Amazon has taken a significant step towards sustainable e-commerce by eliminating plastic delivery packaging at its automated fulfillment center in Euclid, Ohio.

This initiative, announced last October, marks the first such transition in the company's U.S. operations and has rapidly expanded to cover 95% of Amazon's shipments.

The transition involved replacing plastic air pillows with paper filler made from 100% recycled content. This change required extensive collaboration with suppliers, coordination across hundreds of fulfillment centers, and retraining thousands of employees on new machinery and systems.

Amazon's testing, verified by a third-party engineering lab, found that the paper filler offers equal or superior product protection compared to plastic air pillows. The new packaging is also curbside recyclable, enhancing convenience for customers.

This initiative builds on Amazon's ongoing efforts to reduce packaging and increase recyclability. In 2022, 11% of all packages shipped globally by Amazon required no additional packaging through their Ships in Product Packaging program.

The company is also investing in innovative materials and recycling solutions. A partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy aims to develop new materials and recycling programs. Additionally, Amazon is piloting AI-powered robots with Glacier, a San Francisco-based company, to automate recyclable sorting and collect real-time data on recycling streams.