Home News Amazon says it will stop using fluffy plastic shipping pillows

Amazon says it will stop using fluffy plastic shipping pillows

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It’s a common sight in Amazon packages: plastic air pillows designed to keep products safe during shipping, but which are also sent to landfills by the billions.

Now, under pressure from environmentalists to reduce its use of plastic packaging, the world’s largest online retailer is about to replace all of its fluffy plastic pillows with recycled paper filling.

Amazon said the move will eliminate nearly 15 billion inflatable mattresses used in North America each year. The Seattle-based retail giant said it was its “largest plastic packaging reduction initiative” to date. In a press release Thursday.

This is just one way that companies are responding to outcry from citizens and environmental groups over retailers’ use of plastic packaging, especially Online Shopping Continue to soar.

Oceana, an ocean conservation group that has long clashed with Amazon over its use of plastic, called the move “good news for the ocean and the company’s customers.” But it called for further reductions in single-use packaging, such as the padded plastic envelopes that Amazon continues to use.

These pillows are made of plastic film, which scientists have found is The most common plastic waste In the sea and on the seabed close to the coast. Plastic film Can be fatal to wildlife Unlike paper alternatives, plastic films are generally not compostable or Curbside Recycling Program.

A Recent Reports Research from Oceana found that protective packaging such as air pillows account for more than a third of global e-commerce packaging weight.

Thursday’s announcement covers Amazon’s largest markets, the United States, Canada and Mexico, which together account for more than 70% of Amazon’s global sales. Amazon said it has replaced about 95% of plastic pillows with paper ones in those markets and is working to eliminate plastic pillows entirely by the end of this year.

Amazon says it has phased out plastic air cushions in Australia and has stopped using nearly all single-use plastic packaging in India and across Europe. But those changes have been slower in other parts of the world. In 2022, Amazon reported a nearly 12% reduction in its global use of plastic packaging compared with the previous year.

Environmental and consumer groups have been working on multiple fronts to curb the flood of plastic packaging waste. Earlier this year, some Pushing for New York State Bill The plan aims to reduce the use of plastic packaging by 50% within 12 years by requiring manufacturers to find more sustainable options or pay a fee.

The bill would also ban some toxic chemicals currently used in packaging, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, vinyl chloride and formaldehyde. The bill has passed the state Senate but has not yet been sent to the state Assembly for a vote. California, Oregon, Maine and Colorado have already passed similar legislation.

Of course, there’s still the thorny question: What happens to the extra paper Amazon uses?

Paper is recyclable and biodegradable, making it a far better choice than plastic. However, according to one study, the climate impact of paper can vary widely, depending on the materials used in the pulp. 2021 UN Report Single-use plastics were compared to other forms of packaging.

If paper bags end up in landfill, they contribute to methane pollution as they biodegrade, which in turn contributes to global warming. On the other hand, paper bags are actually more likely to be recycled. If plastic bags end up being incinerated, they release toxic chemicals.

Amazon said it is moving forward with a multi-year effort to eliminate all plastic shipping packaging from its North American shipping hubs. Completely free of plasticAccording to the company.

In other good news for shoppers? Amazon said its engineers tested how well paper protects products during shipping and found it works just as well or better than plastic pillows.

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