Two ways Amazon plans to reduce the waste it creates

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Amazon.com says it plans to cut the use of plastic packaging in Germany, shifting its model to pressure from the European economic giant. Have adopted environmental policies on a large scale,

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It’s the latest effort by the company to rethink its packaging, including a recently announced US effort to keep refrigerated groceries cold at the time of delivery.

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Amazon AMZN,
-2.12%
This week it said its German logistics hub would replace all single-use plastic packages with paper-based bags or cardboard boxes by the end of the year.

Exceptions include when third-party sellers provide products in packaging that can be re-labeled for delivery, and when couriers are asked to leave products at outdoor locations during rains, the company said. .

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Environmental groups in Germany have long urged Amazon, as one of the largest online retailers, to lead the way in reducing unnecessary waste.

The Ocean Conservancy says that its global garbage-collection campaigns that began in 1986 have collected more than 357 million items from beaches and waterways.

An analysis of the 17 most commonly collected items, including cigarette butts, plastic wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic bottle caps, straws and stirrers, found that the vast majority of waste collected by volunteers is not recyclable under most circumstances. Is.

Historically, Amazon has been dinged by environmental groups for its packaging and limited recycling opportunities.

Advocacy group Oceana in a report titled “Amazon’s Plastic Problem Revealed” drew from e-commerce packaging market data as well as a peer-reviewed report published in the journal Science. It found that shipped plastic packaging generated 465 million pounds of waste, with 7 billion packages delivered by Amazon in 2019. As a result, Oceana estimated that 22.4 million pounds of that plastic packaging ended up in waterways and marine ecosystems.

The plastic film commonly used in Amazon packaging is not recyclable. Oceana says municipalities and material recovery facilities have not been able to sort and process polyethylene plastic film on a large scale as part of curbside recycling programs.

For at least one part of its delivery packaging, Amazon is looking to make a change.

The company is launching recyclable grocery delivery packaging in the US that will maintain the temperature of cold and frozen products throughout the delivery window.

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Amazon says its new, select packaging for groceries is made from recyclable materials and is “curbside” recyclable for the consumer. The company says that Amazon began developing the packaging in 2019 to improve the stability of plastic liners and bubble-bag insulation.

The new packaging, which will be used for Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh Delivery, uses the recycled paper tissue layering commonly used in the moving and packing industry, Amazon says.

Recycling is confusing – how to be smart about everyone who removes plastic

Joe Rake, a senior program manager for the grocery delivery packaging team at Amazon, said he couldn’t find a solution on the market that would meet the company’s thermal and sustainable design needs, so Amazon designed its own packaging.

The company has also pushed toward more renewable energy sources as a way of reducing its large carbon footprint. This includes a major investment in the newly trading electric-vehicle company Rivian RIVN,
-2.37%,

In its annual sustainability report released in June, Amazon said its activities emitted the equivalent of 60.64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020. This was up from 2019, when it reported 51.17 million metric tonnes, an increase of 15% year over year.

Amazon shares are up 8.9% so far this year, while the S&P 500 SPX,
-2.27%
Up 24% in the same stretch.

Jeff Bezos is giving nearly $100 million to groups serving homeless families

And: Jeff Bezos donates $100 million to Obama Foundation to honor John Lewis

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