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.

People in Amazon t-shirts pass out food and drinks at Feeding Florida event
People in Amazon t-shirts pass out food and drinks at Feeding Florida event
People in Amazon t-shirts pass out food and drinks at Feeding Florida event
On this Page
Avoiding Waste Through Product Donations

At our global fulfillment centers, we use software to identify and sort eligible items that are fit for donation.

Two smiling people carry box with Amazon logo in crowd of young people; one has "Volunteer" written on the back of t-shirt.
our progress
Products contributed to global charity partners in North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan since 2019

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.

Helping Our Customers Avoid Waste Through Amazon Second Chance

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.

Amazon Renewed offers refurbished products such as electronics, home appliances, and more. All products are professionally inspected and tested to work and look like new and are backed by the Amazon Renewed Guarantee.
Amazon Warehouse gives a second life to products returned by customers. Each product undergoes a rigorous 20-point inspection process before being sold at a discount.
Pre-Owned Amazon Devices provides customers with access to certified refurbished, like-new Amazon devices that have been screened and tested by Amazon and are backed with the same limited warranty as new devices.
For electronic equipment that cannot be repaired or traded in, customers can recycle their items free of charge through Amazon Device Recycling in the U.S. and through various recycling initiatives in Europe.
Trade In
Amazon Trade-In allows customers in the U.S., the UK, and Germany to trade in thousands of eligible electronics, such as Amazon devices and select third-party cell phones, tablets, video games and consoles, Bluetooth devices, and more, in exchange for an Amazon Gift Card.
Free Product Support provides customers with technical assistance for select items, encouraging customers to fix items and maximize their lifespan before replacing or disposing of them. In the U.S., repair support is also available through iFixit.
Recycling Solutions Across Our Operations

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.

Person dropping Amazon mailer into curbside recycling bin

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.

Redirecting Food Waste

Amazon is committed to reducing our food waste by 50% across our U.S. and Europe operations by 2030.

Volunteers in Amazon t-shirts smile at food donation station at Feeding Florida event
Our Progress
85 Million
Pounds of food donated through Feeding America in the U.S. in 2021

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.

Avoiding Food Waste at Whole Foods Market Stores
At our Whole Foods Market stores, we have active composting programs at 470 locations that collectively diverted more than 155,000 tons of food waste by the end of 2021. Another 2,775 tons of food waste was sent to anaerobic digestion facilities through an organic waste recycling system called Grind2Energy. The Grind2Energy system has helped to divert 12,500 tons of food waste at Whole Foods Market stores since 2014. As a result, we have prevented nearly 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from entering the atmosphere and produced enough clean, renewable energy to power over 2,500 U.S. homes for a month.
A masked person carries box towards pallet with boxes and person on it, next to a Whole Foods Forgotten Harvest van.
Read the Latest Sustainability News