Is Amazon packaging biodegradable? (5 steps by Amazon for better packaging) 

In this article, the biodegradability of Amazon packaging will be discussed. Other related topics covered will be:

  • What is biodegradable packaging?
  • What are the advantages of biodegradable packaging?
  • What are the disadvantages of non-biodegradable packaging?
  • What is the case with Amazon packaging?
  • How green is Amazon packaging?
  • Is Amazon packaging biodegradable?
  • FAQs

Is Amazon packaging biodegradable? 

Amazon packaging is indeed biodegradable and compostable. There are a lot of green endeavours that are taken by the company to ensure the company’s advance towards sustainability. 

These include frustration-free packaging, AI-based better packaging, plastic-free packaging, and packaging from recycled materials. 

What is biodegradable packaging?

In order to probe into the biodegradability status of Amazon packaging, it is important to know what biodegradable packaging really means.

Biodegradable packaging simply means that the packaging material is made from biodegradable material instead of non-biodegradable material. 

You may wonder why is biodegradability important. The reason is that biodegradability ensures that there is the least possible strain caused on the environment and human health. 

Non-biodegradable materials are linked to a multitude of harmful effects on the environment like global warming, pollution, degradation of land, loss of life, and deforestation. 

Biodegradable packaging simply means that the packaging material is made from natural materials such as mushrooms, cornstarch, recycled paper, organic fabrics and sugarcane. 

Since natural materials are involved and there are lesser extents of artificiality, it is mostly accepted that biodegradable packaging is better off in terms of sustainability and environmental betterness. 

However, some researchers beg to disagree. As per a number of burgeoning academic endeavours, it is excavated that biodegradable packaging may also be toxic and harmful to the environment and people. Further, biodegradable packaging is not that biodegradable because it may take more than three years to fully degrade. 

Regardless of these divergences, the positive impacts of biodegradable packaging as compared to non-biodegradable packaging can not be ignored fully. 

The need for biodegradable packaging is also important because, with the increased consumerism and shifting trends towards online shopping, large amounts of packaging materials are used. 

There are a plethora of online markets and shops that let customers shop without being careful of any geographical or locational boundaries. A person may be living in India but he has the power to use goods made in China, thanks to online shopping. 

When it comes to online shopping, there are some websites that really take the attention. One such website is Amazon which perhaps is the biggest online website that deals with all kinds of materials and services. 

What are the advantages of biodegradable packaging?

As it can be guessed, biodegradable packaging is packed with a number of advantages and applications that are good for the people, the planet and the economy as well.

In this section, we will explore the various benefits of biodegradable packaging so that a stance may be edified on why it should be preferred as compared to non-biodegradable packaging. 

One big advantage of biodegradable packaging is that it leads to a reduction in carbon footprint. This is because biodegradable packaging makes use of green and natural materials. 

Non-biodegradable packaging, on the other hand, makes use of harmful fossil fuels to make the materials for packaging. This leads to the emissions of harmful greenhouse gases like methane or carbon dioxide. 

GHGs lead to global warming and several other anomalies like deforestation, loss of habitat, loss of life, disruptions of ecosystems et cetera. 

Another great advantage of biodegradable packaging is that it avoids the use of harmful and toxic materials like plastics. It already has been seen that biodegradable packaging is made from natural materials like sugar cane or mushrooms. 

These natural materials can degrade in a short span of time as compared to synthetic plastics which may take more than 900 years to degrade. 

Plastics are also linked to numerous other medical complications like skin diseases, mutations, cancer, eye infections, et cetera. 

Another stood out advantage and application of biodegradable packaging is its ease of disposal. Biodegradable packaging can be disposed of without having to worry about its degradation because it will happen readily. 

Unlike non-biodegradable packaging, which may take many hundred years, biodegradable packaging will not cause such problems. 

Other than being recycled, biodegradable packaging can also be used to make compost because it contains organic and natural materials. This compost can be used as a natural fertiliser to increase the organic content of the soil. 

Increased organic content will also mean better plant growth and production and increased water retention profiles. This will assist in water conservation endeavours as well. 

What are the disadvantages of non-biodegradable packaging?

Non-biodegradable packaging is mostly made from synthetic polymers. The most common synthetic polymers are plastics which are known to cause a lot of harm to people and the planet. 

These effects can be: 

  • Pollution
  • Global warming
  • GHG emissions
  • Rise in temperature
  • A rise in sea levels
  • Melting glaciers
  • More floods
  • Frequent droughts
  • Unprecedented weather patterns
  • Insects attacks
  • Land degradation
  • Food shortage
  • Food security concerns
  • Species endangerment 
  • Infiltration into the food chains
  • Loss of aquatic life
  • Accumulation of plastics
  • Disruptions of ecosystems

However, it may also be asserted that the effects of polymers are not just limited to the environment, they are also impactful on health as well. Below are the common health issues that arise from non-biodegradable polymers:

  • Abnormality
  • Reproductive complications
  • Hormonal issues
  • Damage to foetus
  • Necrosis
  • Skin damage
  • Eye allergies
  • Organ defects
  • Cancer
  • Mutation
  • Psychological complication
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Neuro-toxicity
  • Neurological complications 

What is the case with Amazon packaging?

Based on the details given forward in the previous sections, a stance can be built on how important packaging is and how essential it is to shift towards biodegradable packaging. 

In this section, we will explore how green and biodegradable Amazon packaging is. What are the green endeavours adopted by Amazon and how far does it need to further travel? 

Since Amazon is one of the leading online retailers, it is imperative that it will use a huge amount of packaging materials because packaging is an important part of the online business. 

Packaging ensures that the products are not damaged in any way and that the functional and utilitarian value of goods inside is ensured. 

However, the sad part of this is that the materials used for packaging are harmful. Most commonly used materials may include packaging peanuts, styrofoam and bubble wraps.

The problem with this kind of packaging is that it is not degradable and will pollute water streams, soil and also the atmosphere. 

As per a study conducted in 2019, Amazon packaging led to the production of more than 400 million pounds of plastic waste.  

How green is Amazon packaging? (5 steps by Amazon for better packaging) 

Although the facts and figures narrate otherwise, there are a number of endeavours that must be appreciated and given due credit. These steps are in accordance with the green principles and green philosophy. 

Here is a list of some endeavours done by Amazon to advance a step forward toward sustainability:

  • Option of plastic-free delivery
  • Frustration free programs
  • Amazon Day
  • Use of recycled material 
  • Use machine learning to reduce packaging materials 

Amazon has enabled customers to opt for plastic-free deliveries. However, customers will have to go an extra mile for it. Customers can now contact Amazon customer representatives and can ask them to not get plastic packaging deliveries.

Another limitation of this endeavour is that this option is not available everywhere. This means that only a handful of places are given the liberty of plastic-free packaging. 

Another great initiative by Amazon is its pledge to reduce the amount of packaging material. In regard to this, the company makes use of better algorithms. The company’s vision is to rely on machine-based artificial intelligence to make use of fewer packaging materials. 

It is claimed that because of these algorithms, Amazon has been able to reduce the packaging material by more than 34%. 

Amazon pledges to make use of recycled materials in the packaging process to reduce the effect on the environment by reusing materials. In 2020, Amazon also promised to make use of 100% recycled material for device packaging by the year 2023. 

In 2008, Amazon introduced the frustration-free program of packaging which asserts that the least amount of packaging may be used to ensure that there is the least amount of stress put on the environment. 

It was the result of these endeavours that Amazon managed to reduce more than 2,00,000 tons of packaging material. In North America alone, Amazon claims to reduce packaging material by 30,000 tons.

Is Amazon packaging biodegradable?

Although there are a lot of endeavours taken by Amazon to shift toward sustainability, the major question still is whether Amazon packaging is biodegradable or not.

Biodegradability is the degradation caused by the microbes so that waste may become a part of nature again and the cycle keeps up.

If there is no biodegradability, there will be negative impacts on the environment and the people. These impacts have been studied in the previous sections in detail. 

With Amazon’s pledge to biodegradability, the answer to the main question is not hard to guess. 

Yes, Amazon packaging is biodegradable because it is made from natural and organic materials. It can also be made into compost which can be used as fertiliser too. 

While Amazon does not reveal the exact materials used to make Amazon packaging, it is not that hard to guess. The common materials used for biodegradable packaging include sugarcane, sugarbeets, mushrooms, organic fabrics, and recycled paper. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that Amazon packaging is indeed biodegradable and compostable. There are a lot of green endeavours that are taken by the company to ensure the company’s advance towards sustainability. 

These include frustration-free packaging, AI-based better packaging, plastic-free packaging, and packaging from recycled materials. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Amazon packaging biodegradable?

Which plastic is used in non-biodegradable packaging?

HDPE is used most commonly in non-biodegradable packaging. 

How many packages does Amazon ship in a day?

Amazon ships roughly 1.6 million packages in a day. That is over 60,000 orders per hour. 

References

  • Siracusa, V., Rocculi, P., Romani, S., & Dalla Rosa, M. (2008). Biodegradable polymers for food packaging: a review. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 19(12), 634-643.
  • Davis, G., & Song, J. H. (2006). Biodegradable packaging based on raw materials from crops and their impact on waste management. Industrial crops and products, 23(2), 147-161.

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment