In a significant shift towards sustainability, Amazon and its European partners have announced that its fulfillment operations are now fully 100% regarding recyclable delivery packaging. European deliveries are packed in recyclable paper bags, cardboard envelopes, and boxes or no added packaging. According to Amazon, this includes items sold by Amazon and third-party selling partners that use Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).
Customers across Europe can now expect to receive their orders in packaging that local recycling programs can easily process. Over the last year, the number of items shipped without additional packaging has surged by more than 50%, reflecting a concerted effort to minimize waste. When packaging is still required, the company aims to use lighter, appropriately sized packaging to reduce waste and carbon while ensuring products arrive safely. These combined initiatives have Amazon estimated to have avoided using more than one billion single-use plastic delivery bags from its European distribution network since 2019.
“We’re excited that our European fulfillment network is now using recyclable packaging for customer orders,” said Pat Lindner, VP of Mechatronics and Sustainable Packaging at Amazon. “This is part of our long-term work to be a leader in sustainability, and we’ll continue to invest in innovative technology, machine learning, and more sustainable materials to ensure packaging—whether used by us or other companies—is good for our customers, communities, and the planet.”
For every shipment that requires packaging, Amazon uses science-based systems to determine the type and size of packaging needed. Machine learning helps us determine which smaller products are suitable for flexible packaging, such as paper bags, which are up to 90% lighter than similar-sized boxes. Over the past five years, these algorithms have reduced the use of cardboard boxes by over 35%. We also use algorithms to help our fulfillment centers maintain the right mix of box sizes and reduce packaging for shipments with multiple items.
Amazon's commitment to sustainability goes beyond packaging. The company is a founding member of The Climate Pledge, with ambitious goals to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and to power its operations with renewable energy. Introducing electric delivery vehicles further underscores its dedication to reducing its carbon footprint.