Georgia-Pacific is expanding its offerings to include paper padded mailers — a sustainable solution to meet growing demands. In May, the company opened a new facility in Arizona to manufacture curbside recyclable paper padded mailers with Amazon as a key customer. This will extend Amazon’s strategic supply chain of this innovative mailer in the western United States.
The growth of e-commerce has generated significant demand for sustainable packaging options, as both consumers and e-retailers look to increase the recyclability of their packaging. This curbside recyclable padded paper mailer is a sustainable alternative to non-recyclable dual material packaging.
“This padded paper mailer is a significant advancement in developing a sustainable packaging alternative to reduce environmental impacts,” says Adam Ganz, vice president – commercial development at Georgia-Pacific. “Shipping items to consumers in a mailer that can be tossed in the bin with the rest of their paper recyclables is a game changer. We’re excited to bring this to our customers at a time when e-commerce continues to grow rapidly.”
In 2019, Amazon introduced this recyclable paper padded mailer, which protects customer orders and is fully recyclable curbside. Now, more than 100 million of the new mailers have been shipped to customers, reducing waste, saving fuel and offering the same recyclability as Amazon's iconic box, without taking up nearly as much space in a truck or a recycling bin. Georgia-Pacific has previously worked with the company on innovative packaging solutions and is now producing this mailer.
“Crafting Amazon's recyclable padded envelope required the ingenuity of scientists, engineers, and technicians at Amazon's and Henkel’s packaging and materials lab,” said Kim Houchens, director of Customer Packaging Experience at Amazon. “Replacing our comingled material mailer (paper bonded to bubble wrap) with a curbside recyclable paper padded mailer continues our waste reduction initiatives, which since 2015, have reduced the weight of outbound packaging by 33% and eliminated more than 810,000 tons of packaging material, the equivalent of 1.5 billion shipping boxes.”
The innovative mailer combines a unique expansive material, which contains no polystyrene, between layers of kraft paper made at Georgia-Pacific’s paper mills. This material technology was introduced by Henkel’s Packaging and Consumer Goods Division in 2019, winning a diamond finalist Packaging Innovation Award. The mailer received a Widely Recyclable label from How2Recycle® based on lab tests at a recycled fiber mill, which means that it can be deposited in any curbside single-stream recycling bin.
To manufacture this product, Georgia-Pacific created approximately 80 jobs at a new manufacturing facility in Tolleson, Arizona. The company will begin supplying Amazon’s West Coast fulfillment centers with potential expansion to other parts of the country. While Amazon is the flagship customer for the plant, Georgia-Pacific plans to offer this innovative product to a range of customers seeking alternative envelope solutions.