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Amazon Is Making a Major Change to Its Packaging: 'Easier to Work With' Opening an Amazon box is about to look a lot different.

By Sherin Shibu Edited by Melissa Malamut

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon is shifting from plastic air pillows to recycled paper for packages delivered in North America.
  • Amazon said on Thursday that it has already replaced 95% of plastic air pillows with paper.
  • The company wants to completely remove plastic in all packages shipped on the continent by the end of the year.

Amazon is opting for paper over plastic after finding it's better for employee morale — and the environment.

Christian Garcia, an associate at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bakersfield, California, said in a Thursday Amazon press release that paper is "not only easier to work with" as a shipping material but also "gives us more space so it's easier to pack orders."

This ease of use is part of the reason why Amazon has decided to replace plastic air pillows with 100% recycled paper filler for all delivery packages shipped in North America by the end of the year.

Amazon announced the decision on Thursday and added that it has already swapped out 95% of the packaging in its deliveries on the continent so far.

Related: Amazon Side Hustle Made $1.5M in 1 Year, on Track for $30M

This is Amazon's largest effort to reduce plastic packaging in North America to date.


Amazon fulfillment center. Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

The move has a positive environmental effect: Not only will it prevent Amazon from using an estimated 15 billion plastic air pillows annually, but it will also allow customers to receive a material that is easier to recycle.

Amazon "will continue to innovate, test, and scale in order to prioritize curbside recyclable materials," the company's VP of sustainable packaging Pat Lindner stated in the press release.

Related: Amazon, Apple Employees Have Big Salaries — And Burnout

Amazon began working on testing alternatives to plastic packaging in October, at an automated fulfillment center in Ohio. The company stated that it was able to pivot from plastic to 100% recycled paper filler because of its work in the Ohio factory.

At its Prime Day event next month, the retail giant says "nearly all" of its deliveries will skip the plastic and be cushioned instead by paper.

Environmental nonprofit Oceana found that Amazon generated close to 709 million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2021, enough to wrap around the Earth more than 800 times.

Related: Amazon's $1 Billion Innovation Fund Looking for AI Startups

Sherin Shibu

Entrepreneur Staff

News Reporter

Sherin Shibu is a business news reporter at Entrepreneur.com. She previously worked for PCMag, Business Insider, The Messenger, and ZDNET as a reporter and copyeditor. Her areas of coverage encompass tech, business, strategy, finance, and even space. She is a Columbia University graduate.

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