Amazon ditches single-use plastic delivery bags for recyclable paper

Amazon switches single-use plastic delivery bags to recyclable paper
since 2015 it has reduced the weight of outbound packaging per shipment by more than 36%.
// Amazon has stopped packing products in single-use plastic delivery bags across its own distribution network in the UK
// The move is the latest in a series of measures to optimise packaging for the products customers order most often

Amazon has revealed it has stopped packing products in single-use plastic delivery bags in its own distribution network in the UK as it ramps up its sustainability drive.

The online giant is also increasing the number of products it sells that can be shipped to customers in their original packaging provided by the manufacturer, rather than being placed inside an additional cardboard box – with only an address label added.

The company said it has successfully switched single-use plastic bags to recyclable paper delivery bags and cardboard envelopes in the UK for orders shipped from Amazon’s Fulfilment Centres.

The move is the latest in a series of measures to optimise packaging for the products customers order most often, which Amazon said have resulted in it removing the equivalent of two billion shipping boxes in packaging material globally since 2015.


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In recent years the business that had faced criticism from green groups over the levels of packaging waste it produced said the recyclable paper delivery bags and envelopes were more easily recyclable in household recycling across the UK, and are made with more recycled content, and reduce volume compared to deliveries made in corrugated cardboard boxes.

“We have made changes in our supply network that enable us to remove single-use plastic delivery bags in the UK,” said John Boumphrey, UK country manager at Amazon.

“Customers are already receiving more deliveries in easily recyclable paper and cardboard, and we will keep innovating and finding ways to use more sustainable packaging.”

The company said it had also made a number of investments to improve the sustainability of its packaging, including developing right-sized packages to better match products, using less material overall, and increasing the amount of recycled content that goes into making its packaging.

It added that since 2015 it has reduced the weight of outbound packaging per shipment by over 36%, and eliminated over one million tonnes of packaging material – the equivalent of two billion shipping boxes.

Amazon also pointed to a study by Oliver Wyman and Logistic Advisory Experts which concluded that ecommerce results in between 1.5 and 2.9x lower greenhouse gas emissions than stationary retail – including the returns process.

At the same time, ecommerce saves four to nine times the traffic it generates with customers’ deliveries only representing 0.5% of total traffic in urban areas, the researchers claimed.

Amazon explained that it is working to reduce these emissions further through its Climate Pledge campaign, which calls on companies to set a net zero emission target for 2040 – 10 years earlier than most national targets.

As part of its decarbonisation efforts, Amazon also said it is on a path to reaching 100% renewable energy across its operations by 2025 and has ordered more than 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, with thousands already making deliveries to customers in Europe.

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