Amazon sets the Tone for Sustainable Delivery Packaging

Plastic packaging reduction and simplification, Amazon covers the bases for sustainable packaging and deliveries with paper-based alternatives to plastic

These days retail customers can no longer ignore when a parcel arrives with an abundance of empty space inside. Companies are aware that packaging must be kept to a minimum, and also navigate these demands while ensuring that products remain in one piece. 

One of the steps taken by Amazon, despite still slipping up when it comes to ‘right size, right package’ is to eliminate plastics and any other harmful materials. The company was also one of the first to cut down its parcel sizes, therefore creating the image that the majority of its customers might see as a brand trait. Wherever Amazon parcels are delivered, they’re difficult to miss. 

While a number of its packaging shapes are standardised, Amazon uses paper-based material to fill in and protect products, which eliminates plastics like bubble wrap and polystyrene from its offering. 

To gain a snapshot of the global retailer's great packaging achievements so far, here are a few things the company shared. 

  • 41% packaging weight reduction since 2015 - resulting two millions ton reduction of packaging 
  • 11.6% decrease in plastic us across the globe 
  • 11% of orders shipped without additional amazon packaging 
  • In Europe replaced single-use delivery packaging with 100% recyclable
  • In India eliminated single-use plastic film from the country’s fulfilment network 

Only the necessary packaging used for delivering goods globally 

There are one of two steps that can be taken to not only reduce the environmental impact of packaging, but also streamline logistics with more concise consignments and small delivery footprints of individual items. This is something that organisations have been working on for years as they look to retain the shelf appeal of their goods while reducing as much weight and bulk as per their customers’ requirements. 

However, as online retailers cover the packaging function for a number of goods, firstly the need for shelf appeal is reduced as more customers search online for what they need, and this, therefore, means that product packaging can be simplified through Amazon. All branding is covered on the website. 

From a sustainability perspective, buying online is always seen to be a significant way to reduce environmental impact, and packaging is one of the areas in which it shines. When it comes to packaging, though, Amazon is expanding its use of paper to ensure that all products are distributed in reusable materials. A further talking point for the future is how the company will influence its vendors to reduce their plastic consumption. Being one of the most prominent industries in China—where many products are sourced from to this day—plastic is a major burden on sustainable distribution and is fuelled by a global economy that thrives, in part, off a number of plastic goods. 

Can Amazon influence a global packaging shift? 

Much like the platform has influenced major transitions in the global supply chain, it’s to be discussed as to how Amazon could potentially influence more sustainable progress among businesses across the world. Simply wrapping products in cardboard and paper does not deny the emissions and potential waste to come of the items that its packaging contains. 

As Amazon expands its plastic reduction programme, can it become an influencer for the goods industry and make more efficient use of packaging throughout its entire supply chain?

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