Amazon has announced that all its delivery packaging in Europe — the boxes, bags and envelopes needed to get products to customers — is now recyclable. This includes items sold by Amazon, and third-party selling partners that use Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).

The first-of-its-kind automated packing technology helps Amazon reduce packaging material across Europe as machines pack each individual item with a minimal amount of required packaging.

How Amazon is reducing packaging

Customers are receiving packages in flexible paper bags, cardboard envelopes and corrugated cardboard boxes, which are easily recyclable in household recycling across Europe. In the past year, Amazon has also grown the number of products shipped without any additional Amazon packaging by more than 50% in Europe. In the UK, Amazon has found that 6 out of 10 customers are happy to receive deliveries without additional packaging to reduce their environmental impact.

All of these efforts combined have led Amazon to estimate that more than 1 billion fewer single-use plastic delivery bags were used across its European distribution network since 2019.

An Amazon Delivery Associate holding Amazon paper and cardboard packaging

Amazon is working with business partners to increase the number of products delivered in easy-to-open, original packaging made from cardboard and paper, that is recyclable and ready to ship to customers without an additional Amazon bag or box. Products are shipped with just an address label added. When packaging is still required, we aim to use lighter, appropriately sized packaging to reduce waste and carbon, while ensuring products arrive safely.

“We’re excited that our European fulfilment network is now using recyclable packaging for customer orders,” said Pat Lindner, VP of Mechatronics and Sustainable Packaging at Amazon. “This is part of our long-term work to be a leader in sustainability, and we’ll continue to invest in innovative technology, machine learning, and more sustainable materials to ensure packaging—whether used by us or other companies—is good for our customers, communities, and the planet.”

Using a science-based approach to packaging in Amazon fulfilment centres

Amazon’s teams around the world continuously work to improve our packaging using a science-based approach to make it more sustainable, including investing in new materials, processes, and technologies. Some of the innovative packaging Amazon is piloting across Europe include padded envelopes made only with paper, reusable delivery bags, and incentives for selling partners to reduce their packaging.

Sustainable deliveries in Scotland’s biggest city will be boosted as Amazon expands its electric cargo bike fleet, following the launch of fleets in London and Manchester last year.

For every shipment that requires packaging, Amazon uses science-based systems to determine the type and size of packaging needed. Machine learning helps to determine which smaller products are suitable for flexible packaging, such as paper bags, which are up to 90% lighter than similar-sized boxes. Over the past five years, these algorithms have reduced the use of cardboard boxes by over 35%. Amazon also uses algorithms to help its fulfilment centres maintain the right mix of box sizes and to reduce packaging for shipments with multiple items.

Packaging is just one area that Amazon is innovating and investing in as it works to become a leader in sustainability.

To learn more about Amazon’s work in sustainability, read our latest sustainability report.