Improving Our Packaging

Amazon customers want right-sized, recyclable packaging that minimizes waste and ensures damage-free delivery. We work to reinvent and simplify our sustainable packaging options using a science-based approach that combines lab testing, machine learning, materials science, and manufacturing partnerships to scale sustainable change across the packaging supply chain.

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Minimizing Packaging

Packaging plays a critical role in the customer delivery experience, and we are committed to delivering products safely and sustainably.

Since 2015, we’ve invested in materials, processes, and technologies that have reduced per-shipment packaging weight by 38% and eliminated over 1.5 million tons of packaging. See our fulfillment packaging breakdown in 2021:

2021 Packaging Graphic

Eliminating Packaging Where Possible

Our Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) program is designed to reinvent the packaging experience.

Our Progress
2 Million
Products qualified under our FFP programs by the end of 2021

FFP products offer more-sustainable packaging that is easy to open, fully recyclable, and capable of shipping without additional packaging protection. In 2021, we began offering incentives to vendors that convert their packaging to FFP to encourage more vendors to adopt these best-in-class standards. By the end of 2021, more than 2 million products qualified under our FFP programs.

In 2021, we launched new curbside-recyclable packaging for U.S. grocery delivery to replace nonrecyclable insulation that protects chilled items. This has eliminated the annual need for 1,500 tons of natural cotton fiber and 7,500 tons of nonrecyclable mixed plastic that was previously required to safely deliver chilled or frozen groceries from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market.

It is particularly challenging to design new solutions that maintain enough insulation to keep products chilled. Our innovative packaging uses layers of tissue to provide both durability and insulation without sacrificing recyclability.
Optimizing Materials Where Packaging Is Necessary

When additional Amazon packaging is required to ship a product, we strive to optimize that packaging for increased recyclability along with reduced waste and carbon.

our progress
Avoiding Plastic
We avoided over 30,000 tons of plastic across North America in 2021.

In the U.S., we expanded the use of our recyclable paper padded mailer, replacing nearly 70% of our mixed material bubble mailers in 2021. We have also improved the composition of our single-use plastic packaging to use less material and incorporate more recycled content.

In 2021, we increased the recycled content of our plastic film bags from 25% to 50% and that of our plastic padded bags from 15% to over 40%.

Reducing Plastic Packaging Globally
A sliver of light shines on the corner of a paper padded mailer. Showing in the light is the recycling symbol with the words "This new package is recyclable"
In Europe, we switched from single-use plastic delivery bags to recyclable paper delivery bags and cardboard envelopes for orders shipped from fulfillment centers in 2021.
Person dropping Amazon mailer into curbside recycling bin
In Australia, we replaced all single-use air pillows with 100% recyclable paper material to protect goods during shipping.
A peron's hand holds a small cardboard box with paper padding and an item inside.
In India, we became a founding member of the India Plastics Pact after removing all single-use, thin film plastics from Amazon packaging in 2020.
Using Machine Learning

For every shipment that requires packaging, we use science-based systems to determine the type and size of packaging needed.

Two boxes showing the "old algorithm" and the "new algorithm" with text reading that there is a 34.7% external cube reduction.
Algorithm Packaging Efficiencies
Algorithms help us determine the optimal fit to reduce packaging for shipments with multiple items.

Machine learning helps us determine which smaller products are suitable for flexible packaging, such as padded mailers and bags, which are up to 75% lighter than similar-sized boxes. Over the past five years, these algorithms have reduced the use of corrugate boxes by over 35%.

In 2021, we deployed algorithms to optimize the number and size of boxes used for 12 geographies around the world. These algorithms—which help our fulfillment centers maintain the right mix of box sizes—now cover 65% of global box shipments, with plans to scale to 97% in 2022.

We also introduced algorithms designed to reduce packaging specifically for shipments with multiple items. Since launch, this technology has downgraded the size or type of packaging for 7% of shipments, and we plan to deploy it globally in 2022.

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