Amazon has announced this week it is trialling new automated packaging technology in Europe and the US to ensure it keeps parcel material waste to a minimum.
The machines, which are initially in use in fulfilment centres in Mönchengladbach,Germany and Bristol, UK, have already packed thousands of items for customers, according to Amazon.
The automated packaging technology builds “made-to-fit” paper bags around individual items on demand. It utilises an in-built sensor to scan items such as video games, kitchen gadgets, sports equipment, and office supplies – each of which were previously sent in boxes and cardboard folders – before cutting paper wrap accordingly.
Amazon said the bags are secured using heat-sealing technology, which enables the machines to pack quickly and minimises empty space around the contents. Amazon also announced no glue is needed to seal the packaging, further reducing resource usage – you can read more about it in Amazon’s sustainability report.
On average, the automated packaging technology is estimated to avoid more than 26 grams of packaging per shipment. The machinery is born out of a redesign of the technology previously used for making plastic packages – this equipment was decommissioned when Amazon stopped packing items in single-use plastic delivery bags at its European fulfilment centres.
Thais Blumer, head of sustainable packaging for Amazon in Europe, commented: “We are constantly innovating, testing and learning when it comes to packaging solutions for our customers.
“Our trials already show that this technology is efficient, secure and reliable.”
Blumer added: “Our material scientists developed a light but durable paper which stretches, is more weather resistant than regular paper, and can be heat-sealed like plastic – but it’s all easily recyclable in your household collections.”
There is an expectation at Amazon that automated packaging technology will, in the future, be able to pack multiple items in strong paper or cardboard packaging and still keep items protected from damage.
[Main image credit: Amazon]