innovations for our planet
page last updated in december 2011.
at amazon, we're constantly looking for ways to further reduce our environmental impact.
online shopping is inherently more environmentally friendly than traditional retailing. the efficiencies of online shopping result in a greener shopping experience than traditional retailing. explains some of the benefits of the online shopping model.
amazon frustration-free packaging is a multi-year initiative designed to make it easier for customers to liberate products from their packages. frustration-free packaging is easy-to-open, 100% recyclable and products ship in their own packages without additional shipping boxes -- it eliminates hard plastic "clamshell" cases and those annoying plastic-coated wire ties commonly used in toy packaging.
through the amazon frustration-free packaging certification initiative, manufacturers can send their packaged products to our labs for free analysis and feedback on how their packaging can become certified frustration-free. the program today offers over 80,000 items from over 200 leading brands including mattel, logitech, fisher-price, garmin and seventh generation, as well as amazon brands like kindle and amazonbasics.
to learn more, visit .
environmentally friendly packaging
most amazon.com orders are shipped in corrugated containers which on average contain 43% recovered fiber content. once used, these containers are 100% recyclable for use in the manufacture of other paper products.
in amazon's u.s. fulfillment centers that primarily ship larger products such as televisions, kitchen appliances, and other household items, we've introduced paper packing materials that are 100% recyclable and are made from 50% recycled content.
the air-filled pillows that are sometimes used to protect items in amazon shipments are 100% recyclable and non-toxic. if a customer cannot reuse or recycle these cushions, they can be deflated and disposed of. deflated air cushions take up less than 1% of their inflated volume.
packaging feedback program
through amazon’s packaging feedback program, customers can tell us if their items arrived in good condition and in appropriate-sized packaging. we’ve received more than 11 million comments, ratings and photos from customers since the program launched in 2009. this feedback is used to improve product and amazon packaging.
for more information, visit .
environmentally conscious amazonians work together to implement environmental and energy initiatives across all parts of the company through the kaizen program, named for the japanese term meaning “change for the better”. through this program, amazon employees at all levels dive deep into every nook and cranny of a process to identify waste and design alternative solutions that are more energy efficient.
the power of the kaizen projects comes from the cumulative impact of many people participating in a large number of focused projects, each delivering reductions in energy consumption and waste. the energy savings from a single kaizen project may not seem significant, but shared across our global network, they can produce meaningful results.
here are a few examples:
a team of amazon associates at our hebron, kentucky fulfillment center worked together to design a more efficient process for loading delivery trucks at their facility. the team experimented and found a way to fit 20% more containers into each truck by simply reconfiguring how they were loaded into the trailer. as a result of these changes, amazon saves more than $3 million in transportation costs and more than 300,000 gallons of fuel each year.
breinigsville and hazleton, pennsylvania
pallets are used in a variety of functions at our fulfillment centers. new inventory typically arrives to our fulfillment centers on pallets, and customer orders are bundled on pallets for shipment out of the facilities. at our breinigsville, pennsylvania fulfillment center, the team was regularly discarding hundreds of pallets after receiving new inventory. after learning that the nearby hazleton fulfillment center was purchasing new pallets each week, a team of amazon associates created a new process to add their excess pallets to an empty tote trailer which routinely traveled between the two sites. as a result of this new process, hundreds of pallets are transported back-and-forth each week, saving more than $100,000 annually.
amazonians in our lexington, kentucky, fulfillment center analyzed the type of work performed in the bulk-storage area of the facility and learned that although a large portion of this area was not used during the weekend, the power remained on. additionally, the team took light-level readings and determined that the area had too many lights installed for the type of work that associates were doing. as a result, over 120 lights were permanently shut off, and an additional 34 lights are turned off during the weekend. their efforts resulted in an annual reduction of over 450,000 kilowatt-hours of power usage for this one facility; that's enough electricity to power 33 homes in kentucky for an entire year.
at the coffeyville, kansas, fulfillment center, conveyor belts are used throughout the facility to route orders through the packing and shipping process. previously, the conveyor belts operated continuously while the facility was open. an earth kaizen team determined that timers could be installed on the conveyor belts, so that they automatically shut down when they weren't in use. as a result, the facility now uses 30% fewer kilowatt-hours of power usage to operate the conveyor belts.
previously, when amazon transferred products from its larger automated fulfillment centers to its network of smaller distribution centers, it shipped the products in single stacks of pallets loaded into trucks. because amazon's smaller distribution centers didn't normally use forklifts, they couldn't unload double-stacked shipments. after analysis by the kaizen team, amazon bought forklifts for the distribution centers allowing them to accept double-stacked pallets. now each truck can carry twice as much cargo, resulting in an overall savings of 1.1 million miles traveled and more than 175,000 gallons of fuel.
amazon opened a new fulfillment center in swansea, wales in 2007. during the planning process, an earth kaizen team worked with the management team to determine the most efficient ways to light the facility. first, the team decided to increase the size of the skylights and windows throughout the building to improve natural lighting in the work areas. second, the team had motion sensors installed throughout the facility so that lighting was used only when needed. as a result, the fulfillment center now uses 40% fewer kilowatt-hours of power each month than originally planned.
milton keynes, england
amazon receives new inventory every day from vendors across the world. typically, this inventory is shipped in cardboard boxes, which is recycled once the products are shelved. in 2009, an earth kaizen team began working with vendors to deliver the products in reusable totes, rather than cardboard boxes, in order to eliminate waste and cost for both parties. as a result, one out of ten inventory shipments to our uk fulfillment centers is now shipped without excess packaging waste.
bad hersfeld, germany
the earth kaizen team in our bad hersfeld, germany, fulfillment center determined that the high-rack and pallet area of their facility was being lit long before the first associates arrived to work. working with the local facilities technicians, the team developed a process to turn on the 2,400 fluorescent lights in the area only when associates were working. their efforts resulted in an annual reduction of over 10,000 kilowatt-hours of power usage in the facility.
amazonians in our orleans, france, fulfillment center previously disposed of all kinds of waste--from corrugate cardboard to plastics--in a single compactor. an earth kaizen team re-engineered the process to sort different kinds of waste into separate compactors, so that corrugates and plastics could be recycled. as a result, the facility now recovers more than 60% of its disposal costs by selling the corrugate and plastic to recycling vendors in france.
an earth kaizen team in our glenrothes, scotland, fulfillment center analyzed the heating and hot water supply systems in the facility and learned that the heating was activated at all times, even during the summer months when none was required. additionally, they discovered that their systems were supplying hot water even when it wasn't needed. the team updated the systems so that gas and electricity were used only when needed. as a result, the facility reduced their daily gas and electricity consumption by more than 90% per day--an annual reduction of thousands of cubic meters of gas and kilowatt-hours of power usage.
a complex system of conveyor belts is used in fulfillment centers to move products from their shelves into the boxes that are then shipped to amazon customers. an earth kaizen team in our ichikawa, japan, fulfillment center devised a simple but effective solution to reduce conveyor power usage by creating a visual guide that shows employees how to power down the conveyor belts when not in use, saving over 20,000 kilowatt-hours of power usage per year.
associates in the guangzhou, china, fulfillment center receive products for joyo amazon customers from many vendors. once the products were moved into the warehouse, the packaging materials were previously discarded. an earth kaizen team re-engineered the process for sorting packaging waste, so that cardboard boxes and packaging could be recycled. as a result, the facility now recycles more than 40,000 boxes and more than 8,000 kilograms of packing material per year.
sustainable building design
amazon’s corporate headquarters in seattle is made up of eleven sustainable, energy-efficient buildings. the buildings’ interiors feature salvaged and locally sourced woods, energy-efficient lighting and composting and recycling alternatives, as well as public plazas and pockets of open green space outside of the buildings. the us green building council has awarded four of these buildings with leed gold certification for the project’s sustainable design and construction methods. leed, which stands for "leadership in energy and environmental design," recognizes the industry's most environmentally conscious projects.
in addition, amazon.de's corporate offices in munich, germany have been gold-certified as environmentally friendly by the german sustainable building council, based on their energy-efficient interiors and use of sustainable building materials.
many of amazon’s fulfillment centers around the world also have sustainable and eco-friendly interiors and exteriors. in 2009, four of amazon's fulfillment centers in indiana, pennsylvania and arizona received leed certification for their commercial interiors. these facilities were constructed with recycled building materials and feature natural lighting and resource-efficient plumbing fixtures and lighting controls. amazon’s fulfillment center in beijing, china maximizes the use of natural lighting, saving thousands of kilowatt-hours of power usage each month.
green products on amazon.com
amazongreen () is a cross-category program that includes a list of products that customers have selected as the best green products offered by amazon.com and a place for customers to discover amazon's entire green product selection. customers can easily find products that meet u.s. environmental rating systems, including epeat® (the electronic product environmental assessment tool), energy star®, watersense and usda organic, when shopping on amazon.com.