- Amazon has introduced recyclable packaging for cold items shipped to customers from its Amazon Fresh online grocery service and Whole Foods Market, the retailer announced Wednesday in a post on its website.
- The packaging, which is made from recycled paper, is designed to preserve frozen or chilled products like poultry, vegetables and ice cream as they are being transported to customers and can be disposed of curbside with other household recyclables, Amazon Vice President of Grocery Stephenie Landry wrote in the post.
- Amazon is expanding its use of sustainable packaging for grocery orders as food retailers draw public attention to their efforts to adopt Earth-friendly business practices.
The new insulated packaging from Amazon builds on a variety of steps the e-commerce giant has taken over the years to reduce the burden on the environment posed by containers it uses to ship items to customers.
The company's shift to insulated packaging that can be thrown away via curbside recycling bins will replace 735,000 pounds of plastic film, 3.15 million pounds of natural cotton fiber and 15 million pounds of non-recyclable mixed plastic annually, Landry said.
The new shipping material, which according to Amazon makes plastic liners or bubble bag insulation unnecessary, is produced in a variety of locations in the United States, reducing the distance it needs to travel to reach Whole Foods locations and Amazon Fresh grocery hubs and stores, Landry added.
In designing the packaging, Amazon sought to come up with easily recyclable material able to keep cold foods at a safe temperature while also being compact and inexpensive, Joe Rake, a senior program manager on the company's grocery delivery packaging team, said in comments included in Landry's article.
The packaging employs a type of recycled paper tissue layering that is commonly used for moving and packing goods and was repurposed by Amazon for grocery deliveries, according to Rake. Amazon began piloting the packaging in 2020, he said.
Amazon has positioned the packaging step as being part of its sustainability commitment to become a net-zero carbon business by 2040.
Amazon's introduction of the packaging follows the company's move in 2018 to begin using frozen, recyclable water bottles in place of gel packs to keep products cold during transport, Rake noted.
Other companies that ship perishable food to customers, including meal kit makers HelloFresh and Blue Apron, are also engaged in projects to reduce their environmental footprint through the development of sustainable packaging. Meanwhile, retailers have been stepping up their efforts to develop sustainable alternatives to the single-use plastic bags still used by many consumers to carry groceries home when they shop at stores in person.