At Amazon, we’re constantly working to eliminate waste across our retail operations, for our business and for our customers. Reducing packaging is just one part of this effort—we are pursuing a vision of a world where customers get to enjoy products for the full length of their useful lives, and then recycle those items so the materials can be transformed into new products—a “circular economy” that encourages reuse, repairs, and recycling. From donations to recycling programs, we are building strategies aimed at sending less material to the landfill and more material back into the circular economy loop.
Amazon is taking responsibility for some of the toughest to recycle materials in our operations to reduce our environmental footprint, and we are helping to support the domestic recycling industry in the process.
In 2019, we piloted plastic film recycling at four fulfillment centers. Rather than focus on just the highest-value film—clear stretch wrap from pallets—we helped to develop technology to mechanically sort different grades of flexible plastic film.
Based on the success of this pilot, we’re dramatically expanding this program in 2020, starting with more than 50 fulfillment centers across our network and in every region of the country, with more on the way. Through this program, we expect to be recycling over 7,000 tons of plastic film a year, in addition to the 1,500 tons of plastic waste already being recycled annually in Europe.
This is just one way Amazon is closing the loop on plastics and other waste materials. In the United Kingdom, for example, we are collecting the silicone backing paper from shipping labels and are on track to divert 250 tons of this paper and convert it into animal bedding in 2019. We’re looking across our entire operations to incorporate more of our own recycled plastic in products, packaging, and operations.
Amazon has also invested $10 million in the Closed Loop Fund, a project-finance fund large retail and consumer goods companies created to invest in building infrastructure that will increase product and packaging recycling, ensuring that material gets back into the manufacturing supply chain.
Over the next decade, Amazon’s investment in the Closed Loop Fund will increase the availability of curbside recycling for 3 million homes in communities across the United States, diverting 1 million tons of recyclable material from landfill and eliminating the equivalent of 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Amazon has also joined The Recycling Partnership to improve curbside recycling in the United States. The Recycling Partnership supports communities and local governments with education, infrastructure, and measurement related to curbside recycling.
Amazon Second Chance
Amazon Second Chance provides information on how to trade in, recycle, or repair Amazon devices and products, how to recycle Amazon packaging and how to find open-box and refurbished devices. Customers may visit Second Chance to learn about and compare programs that help eliminate waste and give products a second life.
Customers who have eligible items they no longer want can discover the Amazon Trade-In program, which allows them to receive an Amazon.com Gift Card in exchange for thousands of eligible items. Electronics, books, video games, and more are also eligible for trade-in. In addition, customers wanting to responsibly dispose of their electronics can discover our device recycling program for a variety of electronics and related accessories.
Amazon also gives customers several options to shop for great deals on open-box or gently-used items. Amazon Warehouse—an online store for great deals on quality used products including furniture, toys, instruments, kitchen appliances, clothes, and more—has an extensive inspection process that ensures as many gently-used returned items as possible can be resold rather than being sent to landfill. Amazon Renewed offers refurbished, pre-owned, and open-box products such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, cameras, audio devices, home appliances, and more. And Certified Refurbished and Used Amazon Devices provides customers access to pre-owned Amazon devices such as Echo, Fire Tablets, Kindle E-readers, and more. Certified Refurbished devices have been refurbished, tested, and internally certified by Amazon to look and work like new. All of these programs reduce waste and encourage re-use by ensuring that valuable products can go back into the hands of customers rather than being sent to landfills.
Amazon also encourages customers to fix the things they buy before replacing, returning, or disposing of them. Amazon offers free Product Support (on a select but growing number of items) with the goal of helping customers maximize the useful life of the things they already own. Product Support serves seven global geographies with technical support, parts replacement, and repair services. Helping customers responsibly dispose of Amazon packaging is another key component of Second Chance. Customers are able to view various types of Amazon packaging and are provided with instructions on how and where to dispose of the materials.
Amazon's fulfillment network and delivery services allow our customers to fit all types of shopping into their routines and improve their busy lives.
We are continuously working on initiatives to minimize the amount of food and non-food products that go to landfills. For the past few years our fulfillment centers have been helping our local communities by donating food and non-food products to hundreds of food banks and nonprofits. Amazon has launched initiatives with Feeding America and Good360 to donate these goods and ensure these products get directed to communities in need.
In 2018, Amazon and Whole Foods Market donated 23 million meals to Feeding America through its donation program in addition to useful apparel and supplies to Good360 and other nonprofits. Amazon is dedicated to engaging with its local community and donations is one of the ways we achieve this.
Throughout countries in Europe, we collaborate with local food banks and non-food charities to donate products to communities in need. Among others, Amazon partners with the German nonprofit Innatura, which brokers product donations in kind to charitable organizations and which we have supported as a founding partner since 2013. In this way, more than 1,000 charities have received Amazon donations and around 450,000 needy people have benefited from them. Donations include toys, shoes, clothing, or drugstore items among others. We also work with In Kind Direct, a United Kingdom national charity that manages the donation of surplus products to charities across the country. Through our work with In Kind Direct, we have donated over 210,000 products worth over £5.7 million ($7 million), and in 2018 alone we donated 40,000 products worth £2 million ($1.4 million) to over 1,800 charities and voluntary organizations across the United Kingdom. And in 2019, we launched Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Donations, a program where eligible excess and returned products from sellers using FBA will be made available to charitable organizations in the U.S. and UK.