Beyond Plastic

Amazon announces first fulfillment center without plastic packaging

Staff | TPIN

On October 18th, Amazon announced its first US automated fulfillment center without single-use plastic delivery packaging. The fulfillment center in Euclid, OH is the first with an upgraded packaging machine that uses recyclable paper packaging instead of plastic, replacing plastic air pillows with paper filler and plastic mailers with paper ones.

Amazon’s announcement shows the e-commerce company is making progress towards the commitment it made in July to phase out plastic padded mailers and that viable alternatives to plastic packaging are available now. This is a good step in the right direction. 

However, the company has still not put a timeline on their efforts or made a larger commitment to phase out all single-use plastic in their packaging. As one of the world’s largest retailers, Amazon should be a leader in reducing single-use plastic and should set an ambitious deadline for reducing its plastic footprint.

The plastic that Amazon and other e-retailers wrap around our online deliveries litters our communities soon after we open our packages and can linger for decades. In 2021, Amazon generated an estimated 700 million pounds of plastic waste, enough to circle the Earth more than 800 times in the form of air pillows.

Most plastic is not recycled, but instead is landfilled, burned in incinerators, or breaks into small pieces in the environment.  Micro-plastics have been found in nearly every corner of the globe, as well as human bodies, potentially with harmful impacts.

In order to solve our plastic waste crisis, we need companies like Amazon to step it up and show the world that we can move beyond plastic. 

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