The Inside of Your Amazon Box Looks Different Now

Those plastic air pillows are (mostly) a thing of the past
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2024 4:55 PM CDT
The Inside of Your Amazon Box Looks Different Now
   (Getty Images / AdrianHancu)

If you've long enjoyed the satisfying sound of popping the air pillows that come in your Amazon box, you'll have to settle for a crinkling noise instead. The company on Thursday announced it has made major strides in its effort to eliminate plastic packaging material from its boxes in North America. Amazon said in a news release that it has swapped out all but 5% of its air pillows for paper filler in its shipments across the continent and is "working toward full removal by the end of the year."

CNBC reports the pillow-elimination effort started in October, with Amazon noting that a third-party engineer lab confirmed the paper filler "offers the same, if not better, protection to products than plastic air pillows." The company calls it "Amazon's largest plastic packaging reduction effort in North America" and one that "will avoid nearly 15 billion plastic air pillows annually." The New York Times reports that the plastic film used to make the pillows "is the most common form of plastic litter in the sea and seabed close to the shore," and that the North American market makes up 70% of Amazon's sales.

Quartz reports that come next month's Prime Day, nearly all deliveries will be free of the plastic air pillows. The paper filler now used in the boxes is made from 100% recycled content and can be recycled curbside. The Times does point out that paper filler isn't entirely without environmental impact: While paper is more likely to be recycled than plastic, it releases methane if it ends up decomposing in a landfill instead. (More stories.)

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