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Reducing Packaging Waste
Illustration of the different elements of a package surrounding an Alexa device.
Illustration of the different elements of a package surrounding an Alexa device.

Reducing Packaging Waste

Our 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.
Sustainable Packaging Initiatives
Our sustainable packaging initiatives reduce waste and make it easier for customers to remove products from packaging. Unlike traditional retail stores, products bought online don’t need the elaborate packaging used for displaying products on store shelves. Instead, customers use star ratings and reviews to guide their online shopping decisions.
Frustration-Free Packaging Programs
Frustration-Free Packaging Programs
Our Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) Programs encourage manufacturers to package their products in easy-to-open packaging that is 100% recyclable and ready to ship to customers without additional Amazon boxes. To certify products under Amazon’s FFP Programs, we help manufacturers innovate and improve their packaging functionality. By testing products in a dedicated, state-of-the-art lab in Seattle and in our fulfillment centers across the globe, we identify specific steps that manufacturers can take to improve their packaging and ensure products are protected all the way to the customer’s doorstep.
An Amazon box box with a seal that reads "Packaging Programs" "Frustration-Free".
Recyclable Mailers
Recyclable Mailers
In 2019, we launched a fully recyclable paper padded mailer that protects products during shipping while taking up less space in transit. This ensures customer deliveries arrive undamaged and in recyclable packaging with a lower carbon footprint. The recyclable mailer is made of four layers of paper and a water-based cushioning material using components commonly found in the glue used to make cardboard. The lightweight recyclable cushioning was specifically designed to easily separate from the paper in the same way that print inks and other paper coatings are removed during the paper recycling process.
Amazon's recyclable mailer
Engaging with Vendors
Engaging with Vendors
We work with top brands and vendors to reinvent their packaging for waste reduction in e-commerce, including optimized packaging that allow products to be shipped in their own container. The toy maker Hasbro, for example, redesigned the packaging for its popular toy, Baby Alive, reducing both the amount of material used and the overall package size by more than 50%. The pet food company Hill’s Pet Nutrition reworked its packaging to make bags of kibble less likely to break and spill during shipment; testing at Amazon validated the redesigned packaging.
Three women and two men stand around a carboard container decorated with the Hill's Pet Nutrition logo. Various dogs and cats on Hill's packaging are in the background of the image.
Industry Partnerships
Industry Partnerships
We are working across the packaging industry, using new analytics and test methods, new materials, and new ways to build enclosures that protect customer products. With packaging suppliers, for example, we have developed solutions for liquid dispensing systems on hard-to-ship items, such as household cleaners and personal care products, preventing spills and the need for extra packaging to contain spills if they happen.

Amazon is a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), an industry working group dedicated to a more robust environmental vision for packaging. Amazon has also joined the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), an organization focused on the specific concerns of transport packaging.
An Amazon employee conducts a packaging test to simulate the journey of a package from manufacturer to customer's doorstep.
Frustration-Free Packaging Programs by the Numbers
Since 2015, we have reduced the weight of outbound packaging by 33% and eliminated more than 880,000 tons of packaging material, the equivalent of 1.5 billion shipping boxes.
  • 33%
    Reduction
    Outbound packaging by weight
  • 880,000
    Tons
    Packaging material eliminated
  • 2MM
    Products
    Qualify under our FFP Programs
Better packaging is better for the environment
Judge a Toy by Its Box
Learn more about how Amazon and Hasbro came together to invent better packaging for a popular toy. By switching to Frustration-Free Packaging, Hasbro reduced the amount of material used by over 50% and reduced the overall size of the package by more than half.
“Amazon is great from a collaboration perspective because they help us understand that the shopping journey is changing. We’re thinking differently about how we're actually packaging products.”
Jeff Jackson
SVP Global eCommerce and Key Accounts at Hasbro

Machine Learning

How big of a box is needed for a given product? Is an Amazon box needed at all? To find out, we use machine learning algorithms to arrive at the best possible packaging choices for deliveries. That means identifying which products don’t need packaging at all, and which smaller products are suitable for envelopes or mailers. In cases where the protection of a box is needed, algorithms help us continuously optimize box choices to fit our ever-changing catalog. Computer-aided engineering also helps us redesign boxes to use less material while making sure customer orders are protected. These improvements reduce volume per shipment, which means less unnecessary packaging and more efficient use of all forms of transportation, reducing carbon in small amounts to create a larger impact across our network.

We also use machine learning to help target products where even small packaging improvements can have significant impacts on reducing waste. We developed a machine learning model to identify liquid products with the highest average rates of customer reported damages. We then subjected those products to extensive additional testing at our Amazon Packaging Lab, where we simulate a package’s journey from the manufacturer to the customer.

Through this process, we’ve teamed up with companies like Rieke—a packaging solutions firm that makes dispensing systems for personal care, food, and healthcare products—to provide data and packaging insights on many of the conventional dispensing systems that are used in millions of products on Amazon. By strengthening materials, creating new locking mechanisms to prevent pumps from twisting open, and sealing potential leak points, Rieke’s team has created dispensers specially designed to withstand the journey to the customer. These new and improved designs include trigger sprayers common on household cleaners and personal care products, pumps for lotions, and pumps for foams.

Packaging Partnerships
Many of the cross-cutting sustainability issues that we prioritize at Amazon are enhanced through partnerships and collaborative initiatives with credible, knowledgeable, and innovative industry partners.
  • Logo of ista, an Amazon Sustainability partner
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    International Safe Transit Association


    Amazon joined the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), an organization focused on the specific concerns of transport packaging. ISTA is a nonprofit, member-driven association that sets the standards for optimizing the resources in packages that are designed to be survivable, sustainable, and successful.
  • Logo of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, an Amazon Sustainability partner
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    Sustainable Packaging Coalition


    Amazon joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), an industry working group dedicated to a more robust environmental vision for packaging. SPC uses strong member support, an informed and science-based approach, supply chain collaborations, and continuous outreach to build packaging systems that encourage economic prosperity and a sustainable flow of materials.
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