Amazon uses less material for its packaging

On 11 April, Vercelli hosted Amazon's first Delivering the Future event in Europe at its new Operations Innovation Lab. The company opened the doors of its European innovation hub to offer a glimpse of the latest technologies, including advanced robotics solutions and artificial intelligence-based innovations, designed to transform the future of work across Amazon's European network of logistics centres.

The Lab is an international innovation centre where a team of scientists and engineers from around the world develop and test technologies to help associates do their jobs better and serve customers better. The Lab also plays a role in the development of new and innovative sustainable packaging and as a training centre for employees working with Amazon Robotics technologies.

Investing in technology for Amazon's logistics centres
Created in 2017, the lab is a true hub for the global team working on mechatronics and sustainable packaging. By the end of 2024, this team will be responsible for installing more than 1,000 new technologies across Amazon's European network of logistics centres, representing an investment of more than 700 million euros over the past five years. These cutting-edge technologies include pallet handling and product sortation equipment, as well as self-driving units that support Amazon employees in logistics centres across Europe.

Instead of the corrugated box with the iconic smile, more than 50% of European shipments now arrive in resized, recyclable packaging, such as a cardboard envelope, or in their original packaging thanks to the Amazon Ships in Product Packaging programme.

In addition to reducing waste, eliminating additional packaging can have several benefits: shipments are lighter, delivery emissions per package are reduced and less material needs to be recycled. Thanks to this programme, more than 700 million parcels have been delivered without additional packaging in Europe over the last five years. For items that do require additional packaging, Amazon uses paperboard envelopes, which are up to 90% lighter than similarly sized corrugated boxes, require less packaging material and have less empty space in each package shipped.

The Operations Innovation Lab is also where Amazon tests the latest packaging technologies that reduce environmental impact. It features specialised equipment such as an automated machine which creates customised packaging and an innovative labelling machine that automates the application of labels to packages that can be shipped without Amazon adding delivery packaging.