In May 2009, we introduced new environmentally-friendly requirements for suppliers who pack and ship our merchandise. Our new policy requires suppliers to use single-wall corrugated shipping cartons, which replace the double- or triple-walled cartons previously used. In addition, we increased our packing density standards, requiring that more units be packed into each carton. As a result, our shipping carton density increased 5.1% in the 12 months after the policy change. Not only did this new policy improve container utilization, but it also reduced the total amount of packaging needed to transport our goods, reducing paper waste as well as carbon emissions and fuel usage in our supply chain.
The vast majority of paper shopping bags used in our American Eagle Outfitters, Aerie and 77kids stores are made from 100% post-consumer recycled material and are recyclable. In addition, most American Eagle Outfitters and 77kids gift and shoe boxes are made from 100% post consumer recycled material. Our Aerie gift and shoe boxes currently contain about 30% recycled content.
AEO Factory stores use plastic shopping bags that contain 60% recycled material and are also recyclable.
We avidly use email, text messages, and social media to stay connected to our customers. However, we have found that direct mail is still an important way to communicate with our customers, so we have taken steps to make this communication 'greener.' Currently, about 23% of the paper we use in our direct mail activities is made with some recycled content.
We took our first step towards introducing environmentally-friendly products with the launch of an "Eco Shop" in our Holiday 2010 collection. Available exclusively online, the shop offered men and women's apparel made from certified organic and recycled materials. Many styles were made from organic cotton, which is grown without the use of harmful synthetic pesticides and results in fewer fossil fuel emissions than conventional cotton. Other styles were made from recycled content, which gives new life to materials that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. strictly prohibits the use of real animal fur and Australian mulesed wool in all of our products. We are also against the use of animal testing on our products.