At its facilities in Ohio, United States, Amazon innovates with automated machines to create 100% paper-based e-commerce packaging.
According to the corporation, the transition eliminates the need for a plastic coating without compromising weight, durability and size.
The company highlights that the conversion is based on rebuilt machines, improving custom-made technology and the transition from plastic air cushions to paper fills.
“This is an important milestone for our US fulfillment centers. I am incredibly proud of the teams that developed new technologies to eliminate plastic packaging,” said Pat Lindner, vice president of Mechatronics and Sustainable Packaging at Amazon.
“This is just the beginning, as we continue to discover more ways to eliminate and reduce plastic packaging for our customers,” adds the manager.
Light packaging through machinery
In recent years, the company has significantly reduced packaging using machine learning. This type of packaging is up to 90% lighter than similar rigid corrugated cardboard boxes.
To lighten and reduce its packaging formats, the company’s packaging engineers redesigned machines that previously created items using unfilled plastic bags.
The machines now use a built-in sensor to identify the correct size for non-padded paper packaging of products, including clothing, kitchen items and sports equipment.
A heat sealing technology is also used to ensure items are closed securely. This process reduces empty space and excess waste and does not compromise product safety.
Machines that create more durable packaging
In addition to upgrading the machines, the company also developed a paper that stretches, is more weather-resistant than regular paper and can be heat-sealed.
All packaging elements were tested to ensure the package was curbside recyclable.
They had machines that created durable , lightweight, appropriately sized packaging, but they were not curbside recyclable. So they took on a challenge and invested in creating new packaging that customers could easily recycle.
Finally, since 2015, the company has reduced packaging weight per shipment by 41%, on average. Which represents more than 2.1 million tons of packaging materials avoided.