At Amazon, we’re constantly working to eliminate waste across our retail operations, for our business and for our customers. Reducing packaging is just one part of this effort – we are pursuing a vision of a world where customers get to enjoy products for the full length of their useful lives, and then recycle those items so that the materials can be transformed into new products – a ‘circular economy’ that encourages reuse, repairs and recycling. From donations to recycling programmes, we are building strategies aimed at sending less material to landfill and more material back into the circular economy loop.
Amazon is taking responsibility for some of the toughest to recycle materials in our operations to reduce our environmental footprint, and we are helping to support the recycling industry in the process.
In 2019, we piloted plastic film recycling at four fulfilment centres. Based on the success of this pilot, we’re dramatically expanding this programme in 2020, starting with more than 50 fulfilment centres across our network and in every region of the U.S., with more on the way. Via this programme, we expect to be recycling over 7000 tons of plastic film a year, in addition to the 1500 tons of plastic waste already being recycled annually in Europe.
This is just one way Amazon is closing the loop on plastics and other waste materials. In the United Kingdom, for example, we are collecting the silicone backing paper from delivery labels, and we are on track to divert 250 tons of 31 this paper and convert it into animal bedding in 2019. We’re looking across our entire operations to incorporate more of our own recycled plastic in products, packaging and operations.
Amazon Second Chance
Amazon Second Chance provides information about how to trade in, recycle or repair Amazon devices and products, how to recycle Amazon packaging, and how to find open-box and refurbished devices. Customers may visit Second Chance to learn about and compare programmes that help eliminate waste and give products a second life.
Customers wanting to responsibly dispose of electronics with the WEEE symbol can discover local recycling programmes for a variety of electronics and related accessories.
Amazon also gives customers several options to shop for great deals on open-box or gently-used items. Amazon Warehouse – an online store for great deals on quality used products including furniture, toys, instruments, kitchen appliances, clothes and more – has an extensive inspection process ensuring that as many gently-used returned items as possible can be resold rather than being sent to landfill. Amazon Renewed offers refurbished, pre-owned and open-box products such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, cameras, audio devices, home appliances and more. And Certified Refurbished and Used Amazon Devices provides customers access to pre-owned Amazon devices such as Echo, Fire Tablets, Kindle E-readers and more. Certified Refurbished devices have been refurbished, tested and internally certified by Amazon to look and work like new. All of these programmes reduce waste and encourage reuse by ensuring that valuable products can go back into the hands of customers rather than being sent to landfills.
Helping customers responsibly dispose of Amazon packaging is another key component of Second Chance. Customers are able to view various types of Amazon packaging and are provided with instructions on how and where to dispose of the materials.
Amazon’s fulfilment network and delivery services allow our customers to fit all types of shopping into their routines and improve their busy lives.
We are continuously working on initiatives to minimise the amount of food and non-food products that go to landfills. For the past few years, our fulfilment centres have been helping our local communities by donating food and non-food products to hundreds of foodbanks and non-profits. Amazon has launched initiatives with Feeding America and Good360 to donate these goods and ensure that these products get directed to communities in need.
In 2018, Amazon and Whole Foods Market donated 23 million meals to Feeding America through its donation programme, in addition to useful clothing and supplies to Good360 and other non-profits. Amazon is dedicated to engaging with its local community, and donations are one of the ways we achieve this.
Throughout countries in Europe, we collaborate with local food banks and non-food charities to donate products to communities in need. Among others, Amazon partners with the German non-profit Innatura, which brokers product donations in kind to charitable organisations and which we have supported as a founding partner since 2013. In this way, more than 1000 charities have received Amazon donations, and around 450,000 needy people have benefited from them. Donations include toys, shoes, clothing and pharmacy items, among others. We also work with In Kind Direct, a United Kingdom national charity that manages the donation of surplus products to charities across the country. Through our work with In Kind Direct, we have donated over 210,000 products worth over £5.7 million ($7 million), and in 2018 alone we donated 40,000 products worth £2 million ($1.4 million) to over 1800 charities and voluntary organisations across the 33 United Kingdom. And in 2019, we launched Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) Donations, a programme where eligible excess and returned products from sellers using FBA will be made available to charitable organisations in the U.S. and UK.