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So Long Plastic Air Pillows: Amazon Shifting to Recycled Paper Filling for Packages in North America

Amazon is shifting from the plastic air pillows used for packaging in North America to recycled paper because it’s more environmentally sound, and it says paper just works better. The company said Thursday that it’s already replaced 95% of the plastic air pillows with paper filler in North America and is working toward complete removal by year’s end. “We want to ensure that customers receive their items undamaged, while using as little packaging as possible to avoid waste, and prioritizing recyclable materials,” Amazon said. It is the company’s largest plastic packaging reduction effort in North America to date and will remove almost 15 billion plastic air pillows from use annually. Almost all customer deliveries for Prime Day this year, which happens next month, will contain plastic no air pillows, according to Amazon. The e-commerce giant has faced years of criticism about its use of plastic from environmental groups, including a nonprofit called Oceana, which has been releasing its own reports on Amazon’s use of plastic packaging. Matt Littlejohn, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Oceana, said that Amazon’s efforts to reduce plastic packaging is welcome news, but that there’s still more that the company can do. “While this is a significant step forward for the company, Amazon needs to build on this momentum and fulfill its multiyear commitment to transition its North America fulfillment centers away from plastic,” Littlejohn said in a prepared statement. “Then, the company should expand these efforts and also push innovations like reusable packaging to move away from single-use packaging everywhere it sells and ships.” There has also been broad support among Amazon investors who have urged the company to outline how will will reduce waste. The company disclosed the total of single-use plastic across global operations for the first time in 2022 after investors sought more details on plans to reduce waste. The company said that it used 85,916 metric tons of single-use plastic that year, an 11.6% decrease from 2021. Amazon began transition away from plastic air pillows in October at an automated fulfillment center in Ohio. The company said that it was able to test and learn at the center there, which helped it move quickly on transitioning to recycled paper filling. The transition process included changing out machinery and training employees on new systems and machines. Amazon discovered through testing that the paper filler, which is made from 100% recyclable content and is curbside recyclable, offers the same, if not better protection during shipping compared with plastic air pillows, the company said. Christian Garcia, who works at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bakersfield, California, said in a release that the paper filler is easier to work with and that the machinery gives staff more space so that it’s easier to pack orders. Ongoing efforts to reduce waste include a campaign to ship items without any additional packaging, the company said. In 2022, 11% of all of Amazon’s packages shipped worldwide were without added delivery packaging. Other efforts include piloting new technology with artificial intelligence and robotics company Glacier to use AI-powered robots to automate the sorting of recyclables and collect real-time data on recycling streams for companies. It’s also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy on new materials and recycling programs. (AP)
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THANKS JOE: 12-Year-Old Girl Murdered By Illegal Alien, Entered United States Weeks Ago

Houston police have apprehended two migrants from Venezuela, Johan Jose Rangel Martinez, 21, and Franklin Jose Pena Ramos, 26, in connection with the brutal murder of a 12-year-old, Jocelyn Nungaray. The suspects allegedly lured Jocelyn from her home, strangled her, and dumped her body in a bayou. According to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sources, Pena Ramos crossed the border illegally on May 28 and was released into the US after claiming fear for his life if returned to Venezuela. He was given a GPS tracker, which expired after 21 days, and was living with his cousin in Houston until his court appearance in July. Surveillance footage identified the suspects following Jocelyn into a convenience store before her body was discovered in a swampy creek by a local resident. The two migrants were arrested at their apartment complex, where they lived as roommates. This case follows a series of high-profile crimes involving migrants who entered the country illegally, including the assault of a 13-year-old girl in a Bronx park and the murder of a Maryland mother of five. The suspects in these cases had been previously ordered removed or deported but remained in the US. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)
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Trump Surges Ahead in Swing States, Delivering Devastating Blow To Biden’s Re-Election Hopes

A new poll released by Emerson College/The Hill on Thursday has brought welcome news for former President Donald Trump, who is leading President Joe Biden in every major swing state. The poll shows Trump ahead in Wisconsin (47%-44%), Pennsylvania (47%-45%), Michigan (46%-45%), Arizona (47%-43%), Georgia (45%-41%), and Nevada (46%-43%). Moreover, the poll indicates a tie between Trump and Biden in Minnesota, a state no Republican has won since Richard Nixon in 1972. This poll comes as a relief to the Trump campaign, following a Fox News poll released Wednesday that suggested Trump was trailing Biden by two points nationally. Trump expressed frustration with that  poll on Truth Social, calling it “TRASH” and claiming it used a biased sample to skew the results in favor of Biden. “Fox News polls have never treated me, or MAGA, fairly! Don’t worry, we will WIN!!!” Trump wrote. It’s worth noting that Trump has never won the national popular vote, losing it to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020. However, Biden’s victory in 2020 was narrow, thanks to his slim margins in the swing states polled by Emerson. According to Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, support for both Trump and Biden has remained consistent since November, with little movement in the first polling of key swing states since Trump’s conviction last month. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)
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In Wake Of Supreme Court Order: One Of Israel’s Oldest Yeshivos Begs Parents To Raise Money

Several months after Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara and the Supreme Court halted funding to yeshivos with bochurim eligible for the draft, the Chechnov Yeshivah in Jerusalem, one of the oldest yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael, has reached the brink of collapse, Kikar H’Shabbat reported on Thursday. The parents of the bochurim in the yeshivah received a recorded message informing them that the yeshivah is on the brink of closure due to a lack of funds. Therefore, the yeshivah is launching a fundraising campaign with the goal of reaching a million dollars by the end of the week. Among other things, the parents of the boys were told that any parent who did not contribute a sum of ten thousand shekels must sign a direct debit monthly payment for a considerable amount. The yeshivah explained to the parents that donations from abroad began to significantly decrease during the COVID pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine exacerbated the situation. The Supreme Court’s order to suspend state funds of NIS 70,000 a month was the final straw. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)
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