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So long plastic air pillows: Amazon shifting to recycled paper filling for packages in North America

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So long plastic air pillows: Amazon shifting to recycled paper filling for packages in North America
News

News

So long plastic air pillows: Amazon shifting to recycled paper filling for packages in North America

2024-06-20 23:48 Last Updated At:23:50

Amazon is shifting from the plastic air pillows used for packaging in North America to recycled paper because it's more environmentally sound, and it says paper just works better.

The company said Thursday that it's already replaced 95% of the plastic air pillows with paper filler in North America and is working toward complete removal by year's end.

“We want to ensure that customers receive their items undamaged, while using as little packaging as possible to avoid waste, and prioritizing recyclable materials,” Amazon said.

It is the company's largest plastic packaging reduction effort in North America to date and will remove almost 15 billion plastic air pillows from use annually.

Almost all customer deliveries for Prime Day this year, which happens next month, will contain plastic no air pillows, according to Amazon.

The e-commerce giant has faced years of criticism about its use of plastic from environmental groups, including a nonprofit called Oceana, which has been releasing its own reports on Amazon’s use of plastic packaging.

Matt Littlejohn, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Oceana, said that Amazon's efforts to reduce plastic packaging is welcome news, but that there's still more that the company can do.

“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 America fulfillment centers away from plastic,” Littlejohn said in a prepared statement. "Then, the company should expand these efforts and also push innovations like reusable packaging to move away from single-use packaging everywhere it sells and ships.”

There has also been broad support among Amazon investors who have urged the company to outline how will will reduce waste.

The company disclosed the total of single-use plastic across global operations for the first time in 2022 after investors sought more details on plans to reduce waste. The company said that it used 85,916 metric tons of single-use plastic that year, an 11.6% decrease from 2021.

Amazon began transition away from plastic air pillows in October at an automated fulfillment center in Ohio. The company said that it was able to test and learn at the center there, which helped it move quickly on transitioning to recycled paper filling.

The transition process included changing out machinery and training employees on new systems and machines.

Amazon discovered through testing that the paper filler, which is made from 100% recyclable content and is curbside recyclable, offers the same, if not better protection during shipping compared with plastic air pillows, the company said.

Christian Garcia, who works at Amazon's fulfillment center in Bakersfield, California, said in a release that the paper filler is easier to work with and that the machinery gives staff more space so that it's easier to pack orders.

Ongoing efforts to reduce waste include a campaign to ship items without any additional packaging, the company said. In 2022, 11% of all of Amazon's packages shipped worldwide were without added delivery packaging.

Other efforts include piloting new technology with artificial intelligence and robotics company Glacier to use AI-powered robots to automate the sorting of recyclables and collect real-time data on recycling streams for companies. It's also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy on new materials and recycling programs.

FILE - The Amazon logo is seen, June 15, 2023, at the Vivatech show in Paris. Amazon is moving from putting plastic air pillows in its packages to using recycled paper filling instead, a move that's more environmentally friendly and secures items in boxes better. The company said Thursday, June 20, 2024 that it's already replaced 95% of the plastic air fillers with paper filler in North America and is working toward complete removal by year's end. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

FILE - The Amazon logo is seen, June 15, 2023, at the Vivatech show in Paris. Amazon is moving from putting plastic air pillows in its packages to using recycled paper filling instead, a move that's more environmentally friendly and secures items in boxes better. The company said Thursday, June 20, 2024 that it's already replaced 95% of the plastic air fillers with paper filler in North America and is working toward complete removal by year's end. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

The Republican National Convention culminates Thursday with former President Donald Trump expected to accept the party’s presidential nomination, achieving a comeback four years in the making and anticipated even more in the past week in light of Saturday’s assassination attempt.

He is expected to accept his third consecutive party nod in prime time before thousands of supporters at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. Trump's running mate JD Vance addressed the same crowd on Wednesday.

Trump’s election opponent, President Joe Biden, tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling Wednesday in Las Vegas and is experiencing “mild symptoms” including “general malaise” from the infection, the White House said.

Follow the AP’s Election-2024 coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024

Here's the Latest:

JD Vance introduced himself to a national audience Wednesday after being chosen as Donald Trump’s running mate, sharing the story of his hardscrabble upbringing and making the case that his party best understands the challenges facing struggling Americans.

Speaking to a packed arena at the Republican National Convention, the Ohio senator cast himself as a fighter for a forgotten working class, making a direct appeal to the Rust Belt voters who helped drive Trump’s surprise 2016 victory and voicing their anger and frustration.

The 39-year-old Ohio senator is a relative political unknown, having served in the Senate for less than two years. He rapidly morphed in recent years from a bitter critic of the former president to an aggressive defender and is now positioned to become the future leader of the party and the torch-bearer of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” political movement.

The first millennial to join the top of a major party ticket, Vance enters the race as questions about the age of the men at the top — 78-year-old Trump and 81-year-old President Joe Biden — have been high on the list of voters’ concerns. He also joins Trump after an assassination attempt against the former president — in which Trump came perhaps millimeters from death or serious injury — underscoring the importance of a potential successor.

▶ Read more about Vance’s RNC speech

The third nights of conventions are traditionally about the running mate and how they round out a presidential ticket. Certainly, Vance has become a presence at the convention — mentions from the podium, his name now on signs together with Trump, appearances with the former president on the first two nights of the convention.

But Trump is a dominant figure — even when measured against other U.S. presidents and world leaders. Pick any speaker Wednesday and their most passionate pitches were not about “Donald Trump and JD Vance.” They were about Trump.

“This is a man I know and the president we need for four more years,” said Kellyanne Conway, a former Trump adviser. “He will always stand up for you.”

Trump’s former White House physician, Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, called Trump “the greatest president this country has ever had” and “a president who even took a bullet for our country.”

It’s Trump’s party and his alone. No running mate can change that, especially not a freshman senator who has yet to celebrate his 40th birthday.

▶ Read the AP’s takeaways from night 3 of the RNC.

The convention is gaveling out after a benediction from Rev. Packy Thompson of Houma, Lousiana.

Thompson thanked God for Trump. “I also thank you for protecting him from the evil that was perpetrated last Saturday,” he said.

And the gathering is adjourned until Thursday.

“Tonight, J.D. Vance, the poster boy for Project 2025, took center stage. But it’s working families and the middle class who will suffer if he’s allowed to stay there,” Michael Tyler, Biden campaign communication director, said.

“Backed by Silicon Valley and the billionaires who bought his vice presidential selection, Vance is Project 2025 in human form – an agenda that puts extremism and the ultra wealthy over our democracy.”

Vance made a pledge to voters: “I pledge to every American, no matter your party, I will give you everything I have.”

He added, “To serve you and to make this country a place where every dream you have for yourself, your family and your country will be possible once again.”

After the speech, Vance’s extended family flooded the stage to an unusual song for a Republican convention – Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”

The song became a political staple in 1992 when a very different young politician from a humble background ran for national office. That was Bill Clinton, who is, of course, a Democrat.

Law enforcement officers gather at campaign rally site for Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is empty Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pa. Trump's campaign said in a statement that the former president was "fine" after a shooting at his rally in Butler (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Law enforcement officers gather at campaign rally site for Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is empty Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pa. Trump's campaign said in a statement that the former president was "fine" after a shooting at his rally in Butler (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is covered by U.S. Secret Service agents at a campaign rally, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is covered by U.S. Secret Service agents at a campaign rally, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surround by U.S. Secret Service agents at a campaign rally, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surround by U.S. Secret Service agents at a campaign rally, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage at a campaign event in Butler, Pa., Saturday, July 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage at a campaign event in Butler, Pa., Saturday, July 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he is helped off the stage at a campaign event in Butler, Pa., on Saturday, July 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he is helped off the stage at a campaign event in Butler, Pa., on Saturday, July 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Wisconsin Carlos Jimenez dresses up as Captain America at the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Wisconsin Carlos Jimenez dresses up as Captain America at the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, speaks during the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, speaks during the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump's shadow is seen as he departs the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump's shadow is seen as he departs the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Vice Presidential Nominee Sen. JD Vance speaks during the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Vice Presidential Nominee Sen. JD Vance speaks during the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump departs after the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump departs after the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A general view during rehearsals at the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

A general view during rehearsals at the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, gestures to the crowd after speaking at the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, gestures to the crowd after speaking at the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, speaks at the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, speaks at the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Vice Presidential Nominee Sen. JD Vance and wife Usha Chilukuri Vance acknowledge the crowd during the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Vice Presidential Nominee Sen. JD Vance and wife Usha Chilukuri Vance acknowledge the crowd during the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

President Joe Biden and Maritza Rodriguez, Biden for President Latina adviser, greets patrons at Linda Michoacan Mexican Restaurant, during a stop in Las Vegas, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden and Maritza Rodriguez, Biden for President Latina adviser, greets patrons at Linda Michoacan Mexican Restaurant, during a stop in Las Vegas, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden walks up the steps of Air Force One at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a speaker at the UnidosUS annual conference broadcast on the White House's YouTube channel. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden walks up the steps of Air Force One at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a speaker at the UnidosUS annual conference broadcast on the White House's YouTube channel. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump reacts during the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump reacts during the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump talks to Sen. Marco Rubio during the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump talks to Sen. Marco Rubio during the Republican National Convention Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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