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Amazon will no longer sell plastic air cushions in North America.

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image credit: Amazon .com

The e-commerce company claims to have already replaced 95 percent of plastic air packing with totally recyclable paper filler.

Amazon is on pace to remove all plastic air pillows from its North American delivery packaging. On Thursday, the business said that it had replaced 95 percent of its plastic air pillows with paper filler and expects to discontinue the use of plastic air packaging by the end of the year.

Amazon estimates that this adjustment will result in the elimination of about 15 billion plastic air cushions per year. Unlike traditional packaging, paper filler is produced entirely of recycled material, allowing customers to recycle it at home conveniently. According to Amazon, the paper filler “offers the same, if not better, protection.”

Despite converting from single-use plastic delivery bags in Europe and India, and adopting made-to-fit paper packaging in Australia and Japan, Amazon has been hesitant to transition to paper in the United States. Last year, Amazon eliminated plastic packaging from an Ohio warehouse, replacing plastic bubble mailers and air pillows with recyclable paper packaging.

Amazon still has a severe plastic waste problem in the United States.
According to a recent analysis by the nonprofit conservation organization Oceana, the company’s packaging will generate 208 million pounds of plastic waste in the United States by 2022. Oceana appreciates Amazon’s promise to eliminate plastic air pillows in North America, but understands that more effort remains to be done.

“While this is a significant step forward for the company, Amazon needs to build on this momentum and fulfill its multiyear commitment to transition its North American fulfillment centers away from plastic,” says Matt Littlejohn, Oceana’s senior vice president of strategic initiatives, in a statement. The nonprofit wants to see Amazon phase out single-use plastic packaging “everywhere it sells and ships.”



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