Amazon’s recyclable mailing bags are a game changer

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Amazon employees have worked hard in their contributions to the development of recyclable mailing bags and they’ve reached the UK! Great news for the planet but a shame for those who enjoy popping bubble wrap.

Amazon’s new paper padded recyclable mailing bags are the creation of the innovative scientists, engineers, and technicians at Amazon’s packaging and materials lab. It’s all brought to physicality by heating a form of glue, similar to that used to make cardboard boxes. More than 100 million of the new mailers have been shipped to customers and Amazon is recognising the consumer desire for greener packaging.

How were the recyclable mailing bags produced?

Between the sheets of lightweight paper that make up the mailer is padding produced by the glue material. It helps create mailing bags that protect customer orders, avoid the need for bulky boxes, allow more packages to fit into courier vehicles and aid a smaller carbon footprint—all of which are key parts of achieving The Climate Pledge and reaching the Paris Agreement 10 years early.

Before the packaging was officially released a reality check conducted in fulfilment centres found an issue with the mailers being too stiff, making it time consuming when opening and packing items. Creating packaging that is easy to open and handle is something I notice Amazon working hard at. It is clear that they want customers to have the quickest process in every way possible from ordering to pulling items out of bags and boxes.

Eventually, through improvements to the padding distribution and flexibility the reworked design passed lab tests and got a thumbs up from associates.

This rapid kind of innovation allowed us to immediately start testing new mailer designs to make something recyclable for our customers and easier to use for our associates.
– Vas Obeyesekere, senior industrial designer, Amazon packaging lab

There are lots of sensible initiatives that online retailers can introduce to minimise their environmental impact, and issues around the financial costs of sustainability need to be forgotten. Amazon is making these moves because they are being led by one of the biggest customer bases in the world today, it makes sense to listen or risk being left behind.

2 Responses

  1. So long as councils accept them and don’t add them to the lopng list of ‘contaminated’ recyclable products… then all is good.


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