Amazon plans to eliminate plastic in its mailer bags as part of an effort to cut down on waste, decarbonize and improve overall sustainability, according to the company’s 2022 sustainability report released this week. It’s also boosting attention to packaging lightweighting and elimination.
The company is “phasing out padded bags containing plastics in favor of recyclable alternatives,” the report says. Some of the bags are solely made of plastic while others are a blend of plastic and paper; the mixed materials can present recycling challenges. In the U.S. and Canada last year, the company replaced 99% of padded bags made from a mix of plastic and paper with paper-padded bags that the company says are recyclable.
Upon announcing the production of its 1 billionth EarthKraft recyclable paper padded mailer last month, Georgia-Pacific noted that Amazon provided feedback in 2020 that consumers are demanding sustainable alternatives to plastic mailers. Walmart is also among the companies switching from plastic to paper mailers for e-commerce.
In 2022, Amazon packaged 40% of its deliveries in corrugated boxes, 11% shipped in their own container without additional packaging and 49% shipped in flexible mailers, comprised of either or both plastic and paper. Information in the 2021 sustainability report shows that SIOC in 2022 was up from 8% the previous year, and box use was down from 43%. The numbers illustrate Amazon’s shift away from boxes and toward alternative packaging like flexible mailers.
Read more about Amazon’s packaging targets and achievements here: PackagingDive/Amazon