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Amazon's recyclable mailer
Amazon's recyclable mailer

Recycling

Amazon is committed to reducing our environmental footprint through recycling initiatives in our own operations and partnerships that support the development of recycling infrastructure across the industry.

Recycling in Our Operations

Amazon is reducing the operational waste associated with customer fulfillment in facilities across the globe. Corrugated board is the most common material that flows through our operations, and we partner with a network of third-party recycling haulers to remove corrugated board from our facilities for off-site recycling. Many of these recycling 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.

Not all of the materials we use can be easily recycled using current available systems. Plastic film, for example, is a difficult material to process, and most municipal recycling programs do not accept it. In order to innovate and solve for this gap, Amazon has developed a process for on-site plastic film recycling for our operations. In 2020, we began converting plastic film into poly bags made of 100% recycled material, which are used for package-free returns at Amazon drop-off locations in the U.S. After use, the bags are collected and returned to Amazon facilities where we again convert them into new poly bags, repeating the recycling process. As of June 2021, on-site plastic film recycling is available at more than 168 Amazon sites across North America and Europe.

We are also exploring alternative solutions for less common materials that cannot be recycled. In several European locations, we work with our shipping label suppliers to recycle the silicone backing paper from used shipping labels in order to make new label components. In the UK, we partner with a local manufacturer to collect hundreds of rolls of label backing paper each year, converting the material into filling for animal bedding products. We are looking across our entire operations network to create new uses for waste materials in products, packaging, and operational processes.

In 2019, we launched a fully recyclable paper padded mailer which offers the same recyclability as our corrugated boxes, while taking up less space in transit and in the recycling bin. This mailer is made of four layers of paper and a water-based cushioning material, which was designed to easily separate in the same way that print inks and other paper coatings are removed during the paper recycling process. We are expanding our use of paper padded mailers across North America to replace the use of mixed paper and plastic mailers by the end of 2022.
By the Numbers
Over the next decade, Amazon's investment in the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund will help finance recycling and circular economy infrastructure in North America.
  • 3 Million
    Homes with Improved Curbside Recycling
  • 1 Million
    Tons of Recyclable Material Diverted from Landfills
  • 2 Million
    Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent Eliminated
Recycling Partnerships
  • Logo of Closed Loop Partners, an Amazon Sustainability partner
    Logo of Closed Loop Partners, an Amazon Sustainability partner
    Closed Loop Fund
    Amazon invested $10 million in the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund to finance recycling and circular economy infrastructure in North America. Through this investment, Amazon aims to increase product and packaging recycling, ensuring that material gets back into the manufacturing supply chain. Over the next decade, our investment in the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund will improve curbside recycling for 3 million homes in communities across the U.S., diverting 1 million tons of recyclable material from landfills and eliminating the equivalent of 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
  • Logo of the Recycling Partnership, an Amazon Sustainability partner
    Logo of the Recycling Partnership, an Amazon Sustainability partner
    The Recycling Partnership
    To improve curbside recycling in the U.S., Amazon partners with The Recycling Partnership, which supports communities and local governments with education, infrastructure, and measurement related to curbside recycling. The Recycling Partnership supports communities and local governments with education, infrastructure, and measurement related to curbside recycling.
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