Amazon has stopped packing products in single-use plastic delivery bags and envelopes in its distribution network in the UK. This includes items sold by Amazon and third-party selling partners that use Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).
Customers will now be receiving packages in flexible paper bags and cardboard envelopes instead, which are more easily recyclable in household recycling across the UK, and reduce volume compared to deliveries in corrugated cardboard boxes. Customers will continue to receive larger deliveries in cardboard boxes. Amazon is also increasing the number of products that can be shipped in their original packaging provided by the manufacturer, with only an address label added.
“We have made changes in our supply network that enable us to remove single-use plastic delivery bags in the UK,” said John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “Customers are already receiving more deliveries in easily recyclable paper and cardboard, and we will keep innovating and finding ways to use more sustainable packaging.”
While we work hard to reduce single-use plastic packaging material, there are a few instances where customers in the UK may still receive products in plastic packaging:
- While Amazon controls the packaging for items shipped to customers direct from its own Fulfilment Centres, more than 50% of sales comes from third party selling partners, many of which are small and medium-sized businesses who sell to Amazon customers via the Amazon store. In some cases the selling partners ship directly to customers themselves, in which case Amazon does not control the packaging. We share our expertise on more sustainable packaging options and encourage selling partners to use them.
- When a product comes in a single-use plastic bag from the manufacturer and the bag is suitable, Amazon will deliver the product to the customer in the manufacturer-supplied bag. This avoids the addition of unnecessary extra packaging.
- Plastic preparation material such as bubble wrap may still be used where necessary, for example to protect fragile items like glass.
- In specific weather conditions, Amazon may require to add an additional single-use plastic bag to the paper and cardboard packaging to protect orders that are left on the door steps of our customers from rain.
From cardboard boxes to flexible bags, Amazon is working to improve the sustainability of its packaging. The company has right-sized packages to match the products using less material overall, and has increased the amount of recycled content that goes into making them. Since 2015, Amazon has reduced the weight of outbound packaging per shipment by more than 38%, and eliminated more than 1.5 million tons of packaging material. All paper bags, cardboard envelopes and cardboard boxes used by Amazon across Europe are 100% recyclable.
Amazon’s packaging programmes encourage vendors to pack their products in easy-to-open material that is 100% recyclable and ready to ship to customers without additional Amazon packaging. The company tests packaging in a dedicated, state-of-the-art lab and in fulfilment centres across the globe to identify specific steps that vendors can take to improve their packaging, and ensure products are protected all the way to the customer’s doorstep. The company is also encouraging third-party sellers who do not use Amazon's fulfilment network and are responsible for their own packaging choices - to use more sustainable packaging.
Discover more about Amazon’s sustainable packaging efforts.