All our delivery packaging in Europe—the boxes, bags and envelopes needed to get products to our customers—is now recyclable. This includes items sold by Amazon, and third-party selling partners that use Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).
We’re thrilled for our customers to receive packages in flexible paper bags, cardboard envelopes and corrugated cardboard boxes, which are easily recyclable in household recycling across Europe. In the past year, we’ve grown the number of products shipped without any additional packaging by more than 50% in Europe. These combined initiatives mean we estimate to have avoided using more than one billion single-use plastic delivery bags from our European distribution network since 2019.
In addition to working with vendors to increase the number of products delivered in easy-to-open original packaging made from cardboard and paper, that is recyclable and ready to ship to customers without an additional Amazon bag or box, products are shipped with just an address label added. When packaging is still required, the company aims to use lighter, appropriately sized packaging to reduce waste and carbon, while ensuring products arrive safely.
“We’re excited that our European fulfilment 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.”
Our teams around the world continuously work to constantly improve our packaging, using a science-based approach to make it more sustainable, including investing in new materials, processes, and technologies. Some of the innovative packaging we’re piloting across Europe includes padded envelopes made only with paper, reusable delivery bags, and incentives for selling partners to reduce their packaging.
For every shipment that requires packaging, we use 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 fulfilment centres maintain the right mix of box sizes and to reduce packaging for shipments with multiple items.
Packaging is just one area in which we’re innovating and investing as we work to become a leader in sustainability, together with being co-founder of and the first signatory to The Climate Pledge, a commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040. As part of this goal, we’re on a path to reaching 100% renewable energy across our operations by 2025 and have more than 9,000 electric delivery vehicles in our global delivery fleet.
To learn more about Amazon’s work in sustainability, you can read our sustainability report here.