Amazon Does Away With Plastic Bubble Cushions

Amazon no longer uses plastic bubble cushions in packaging in Germany. This applies both to items that Amazon sells directly and to items from sales partners who ship their products via Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).

Plastic bubble cushions protect package contents and are lightweight: that is why they have been part of many of Amazon’s packages. The largest mail order company is now removing this filling material from its range. Instead, items will be packed with 100 percent recycled and 100 percent recyclable packing paper to prevent movement in the boxes and protect the items, the company explains. This is the latest step by Amazon to reduce single-use plastic packaging in German logistics centers, a spokesperson says. In December 2021, Amazon had already announced a switch from outer packaging made of single-use plastic to paper shipping envelopes and bags in Germany.

Packaging that is easy to recycle is important for customers, says Olivier Pellegrini, Director Customer Delivery Experience at Amazon. Amazon says it has reduced the weight of packaging per outbound shipment by more than 36 percent and saved more than one million tons of packaging material since 2015. That is the equivalent of two billion shipping boxes.

Exceptions remain

Although Amazon is working hard to reduce single-use plastic packaging, customers in Europe can still receive products in plastic packaging under certain circumstances. For example, if a product comes in a suitable single-use plastic bag provided by the manufacturer, Amazon will still ship it in that manufacturer-provided bag. This avoids adding unnecessary additional packaging material, said the company says. If a bag contains contents that could spill, Amazon may decide to add an outer layer of plastic packaging. Plastic filling material, such as bubble wrap, will still be used if needed, for example, to protect fragile items such as glass.