Avoiding and Managing Waste
Beyond our commitment to decarbonize our operations, we’re working to send less material to landfills and more back into the circular economy loop. We’ve developed programs to optimize inventory management and to repair, repurpose, and donate usable items. We also rely on recycling and composting to enable the recovery of raw materials, and as a last resort, we seek to recover energy from any waste material that must be sent to landfill.
At our global fulfillment centers, we use software to identify and sort eligible items that are fit for donation.
We partner with local community organizations to collect these items from Amazon facilities and distribute them to people in need. By donating surplus inventory to charitable organizations, we keep usable products out of the waste stream and help strengthen our local communities.
We distribute the majority of our product donations through Good360, a nonprofit that works with a network of 100,000 charity partners in the U.S. Through our partnership with Good360, Amazon product donations are distributed to low-income households, foster families, individuals with special needs or disabilities, seniors, veterans, immigrants, and more. In Europe, we partner directly with more than 100 charities and local organizations to distribute product donations.
Through Amazon Second Chance, we provide customers with ways to responsibly retire their products.
Customers in the U.S., the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Japan can access a range of services to recycle, repair, or trade in their items, as well as shop for like-new and refurbished products.
We work with third-party recycling haulers to remove excess corrugate from our facilities for off-site recycling. Many of these haulers also supply Amazon with the packaging materials that we use for customer shipments, converting waste material recovered from Amazon operations into new, recycled packaging.
We also look for innovative solutions to recycle more challenging materials, such as plastic film, which is not commonly accepted through municipal recycling programs. We have on-site plastic film recycling systems at many Amazon operations facilities across North America and Europe, enabling us to convert plastic film into bags made of 100% recycled material.
We continue to explore alternative solutions for materials that are challenging to recycle. In 2021, we completed a pilot to recycle and repair damaged bags used to sort and stow items in our fulfillment operations into reusable materials. Additionally, we work with our shipping label suppliers in several European locations to recycle the silicone backing paper from shipping labels to make new ones.
Amazon is committed to reducing our food waste by 50% across our U.S. and Europe operations by 2030.
To achieve this, we’re optimizing our food inventory management systems to minimize waste from the outset and prioritizing ways to avoid landfills.
Wherever possible, we donate surplus food to individuals and families who need it most through community redistribution programs. In 2021, we donated 85 million pounds of food—equivalent to more than 70 million meals—through Feeding America in the U.S. In Europe, we donated more than 4,000 tons of food— equivalent to 10 million meals.
For food that can’t be donated, we turn to processes that avoid landfills, such as composting and anaerobic digestion. In 2021, we diverted 27,000 tons of food through composting and anaerobic digestion across our worldwide operations.