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Amazon Takes Major Step to Eliminate Plastic Pillows from Packaging

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jun 24, 2024

Amazon Takes Major Step to Eliminate Plastic Pillows from Packaging

Amazon has announced a significant environmental initiative aimed at reducing its plastic usage in packaging by phasing out the use of plastic air pillows.

As of now, the e-commerce giant has successfully eliminated 95% of these plastic fillers in North America, with the goal of completely removing them by the end of the year.

In a substantial shift toward sustainability, Amazon plans to replace the plastic air pillows with paper fillers that are made from 100% recycled content and are fully curbside recyclable. This change is projected to decrease the use of nearly 15 billion plastic pillows annually.

The initiative started in October 2023, when Amazon launched its first U.S. automated fulfillment center specifically designed to eliminate plastic-delivery packaging. The move to paper fillers was made possible through collaboration with suppliers to ensure the materials are both sustainable and practical for recycling.

Pat Lindner, the Vice President of Mechatronics and Sustainable Packaging at Amazon, highlighted the company’s dedication to environmental responsibility. “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,” Lindner stated in the announcement.

This initiative is not Amazon’s first foray into reducing packaging waste. In 2015, Amazon introduced the Ships in Product Packaging program, aimed at minimizing the use of Amazon’s signature brown boxes. The program allows products to be shipped in their original packaging, thereby reducing the additional packaging required and supporting Amazon’s sustainability goals.

Plastic pollution has long posed a significant threat to our environment, but it has surged dramatically with Amazon’s rapid expansion, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2021 study by the nonprofit ocean conservation organization, Oceana, revealed that Amazon generated 599 million pounds of plastic waste in 2020. Additionally, the study estimated that the plastic waste from Amazon’s air pillows alone could wrap around the Earth over 600 times.

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Featured Image courtesy of Amazon

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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