E-commerce boom challenges big companies to use sustainable packaging

Published on Tue, Jul 16, 2019 4:00 PM GMT

As Amazon Prime day is upon us, I started to think about how many packages were going to be sent out worldwide during the epic 2 day annual shopping event (well to be honest how much I was going to personally buy!).  Last year Amazon reported selling more than 100 million products!  That’s a lot of paperboard packaging flying around the world. But sadly with most packaging comes plastics. I then started to research more into Amazon and other major manufacturers’ sustainability programs.

In 2008 Amazon launched their frustration free packaging initiative – an invention designed to reduce waste and delight customers with easy to open packaging.  This eliminated the use of the most annoying packaging offenders, clamshell plastic cases & wire ties, most commonly used in children’s toys.   Frustration free packaging is made of 100% recyclable materials (Paperboard), easy to open and designed to ship products in their original packaging. It was designed with the customer in mind, making it much easier to liberate products from their packages whilst reducing unrecyclable waste (plastics).

Amazon is also working with many manufacturers to come up with more sustainable packaging.  One example is Procter and Gamble.  An Amazon packaging engineer visited the plant, pointed to the iconic orange Tide laundry detergent bottles, and challenged the design team to turn the plastic bottle into a box!  The box would then serve as its own shipping container, with a more concentrated formula and reduced packaging waste.  The result was the new Tide Eco-Box that uses 60% less plastic and 30% less water,  resulting in the new box being 4 pounds lighter – all while using recyclable paperboard!

Amazon Basics strip the packaging even further and companies such as Kingston and Monster are following their lead.  Kingston is now selling memory cards and flash drives in simple flat chipboard envelopes, and Monster is selling power strips that come packaged in chipboard boxes that need no other packaging for shipping to customers.

In an effort to further reduce waste, Amazon announced they will be expanding their Frustration-Free Packing Program requirements later this year.

As of August 1, 2019 all items larger than 18″ x 14″ x 8″ or 20 lbs or more sold through Amazon must be designed and certified as ready-to-ship within their Frustration-Free Packaging programs.

Other well-known brands are also moving towards paper packaging.  Experts estimate the paper packaging industry will be an $851 billion industry by 2022.  Current growth rates in paper packaging are approximately 3.5% per year.  What is the key motivator that is driving this push in paperboard?  One word -sustainability!

Apple is well known for its sleek luxurious packaging, but did you know the paperboard used in all Apple packaging comes from responsibly managed forests and the packaging is completely recyclable?Apple has also reduced the packaging size for its products to save on logistic costs and reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint. Apple also replaced polystyrene padding with 100% recycled paper padding in its Macbook Pro packaging.  According to Apple’s Paper & Packaging Strategy, 99% of packaging fibers are sustainably sourced.

McDonald’s, the American fast-food giant has committed that by 2025, 100% of guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources – and also committed to recycle 100% of the packaging left behind at the restaurants.  Each day McDonalds serves approximately 69 million people, therefore the company’s endeavor to use paper over plastic will make a huge impact.

In a world that is moving towards e commerce and sustainability we can see that companies are making a huge effort to reduce plastic waste and move towards recycled and recyclable paperboard.

At Hammond Paper we recognize the need to provide sustainable solutions to our customers.  We believe global warming is real and want to be part of the solution to help stop it.

Operating out of Vaughan, Ontario, Hammond Paper Company has been a reliable source for chipboard and all sorts of paperboard for packaging in Canada for over 25 years.  Whether its sheets you’re looking for or custom sheets or packaging made specifically to suit your needs, Hammond Paper can help.  We’re not just about board – we can do custom laminating, cutting to size, die cutting, round cornering, grooving and more.