Amazon will soon be bringing out a new packaging which is made from entirely curb side recycling and recycled paper. Everyone loves the speed and convenience of delivering your groceries online. Majority of us are committed to continue the drive innovation around packaging that comes with the groceries making it much easier for the customers to recycle. Chilled as well as frozen foods will arrive in insulative packaging would be considerably easier for consumers to recycle from their home. By converting to the curb side recycling will reduce material waste dramatically while replacing 15 million pounds of non-recyclable plastic, 735,000 pounds of plastic film, and 3.15 million pounds of cotton fibre each year.
Amazon have committed to The Climate Pledge which aim to become a net zero carbon company by 2040. They also aim to remain a sustainable business for the employees, the customers, and most importantly the planet overall. Amazon have always wanted to find a more sustainable solution for bubble bags and plastic liners primarily used to store froze and chilled produce. The criteria that needed to be considered came down to five important factors. Firstly, they wanted to ensure that the packaging met their own standards of food safety and maintained the product chill chain. Moreover, the packaging needed to be small and compactible for the thousands of delivery drivers. They would maintain the food-safe temperature the boxes would take considerably more room resulting in few deliveries per vehicle. This would therefore mean more deliveries would have to be made which would result in more carbon emissions. Another big factor needed to be considered would be that the new packaging needed to be easily recyclable with customers able to leave it with the other curb side recyclable material. It would need to be scalable and affordable to customers as its crucial that Amazon grocery delivery is accessible to everyone. Lastly, they aimed to use far less packaging and are creating new packaging solutions every day, and the answer sometimes is to use less off the packaging.
They started off by taking inspiration from their own sustainable packaging innovations and everyone at Amazon are constantly working on reducing waste, increasing recycling, and providing ways customers can reuse and recycle their products. The overall goal being sending less material to landfill and back to the circular economy group. They made progress in delivery packaging back in 2018 with the use of frozen water bottles as alternatives to gel packs to act as a grocery insulation which was greatly reusable recyclable by customers. In 2019, Amazon came up with an idea of finding a solution for bubble bag insulation and plastic liners but nothing on the market was able to meet their physical, thermal, and sustainable design criteria which encouraged them to come up with a solution themselves. They settled on a version of recyclable tissue paper which is common in the moving industry with Amazon reinstalling this with this grocery delivery customers.
Amazon tested the thermal effectiveness of all recyclable paper in their own internal thermal labs to meet the needs for the delivery chill chain. This is the process of keeping frozen foods frozen and keeping refrigerated products chilled all at the correct temperature until the customers delivery window is closed. While doing this experiment, they tested out worst case scenarios while in temperature barriers and changed how the thickness of the packaging would affect the results. They moved towards the pilot stage in 2020 they began to see consistent results and conducted pilots in various cities under a variety of temperature scenarios. While they were rolling this out, Amazon’s food safety team carried out secret shopper programs to validate the thermal effectiveness of the specified packaging. They pay very close notice to customer and employee feedback, and they look on how best to pack the orders with the new packaging.
There was an urgent need to search for sustainable solutions which can eradicate hard to recycle materials and are focused on scaling these solutions. While using this recycling packaging, Amazon hope they will encourage other businesses and companies to follow in their footsteps and find fresh, sustainable solutions for communities and customers around the world.
Another invention Amazon came up with in 2008 was Frustration Free Packaging (FFP) which helps manufacturers reduce the packaging waste while developing a sustainable alternative for online fulfilment. FFP programs ask manufacturers to use packaging that’s 100% recyclable ready to be delivered without the need to use additional boxes. by June 2021, Amazon had eradicated over 1 million tonnes of packaging by 2015 and have reduced the weight of outgoing packaging by over 36%.