Amazon introduces boxes that can be recycled into cat condos, forts and other creations

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It's no secret that kids—and cats—like to play with cardboard boxes, sometimes more than with what's inside.

Amazon is introducing boxes with a built-in play factor.

Starting this week, some Amazon orders will be delivered in "more environmentally friendly" boxes that can be turned into a rocket, car or fort for your pet, a robot costume or a mini-golf windmill, the Seattle-based retail giant shared exclusively with U.S. TODAY.

The boxes are part of Amazon's "Less Packaging, More Smiles" program and include a call to action to recycle the boxes and a QR code that directs consumers to for how to make the cardboard creations.

"We know customers love to get creative and reuse their Amazon packaging in a number of ways—this inspired us to create these new packaging designs that give customers an easy way to learn how we're making our packaging better," the company said in a statement.

Kim Houchens, Amazon's director of customer packaging experience, said the company has been making progress on reducing packaging waste since 2008.

"Inventing and innovating in new types of packaging is one of the many actions we are taking as part of The Climate Pledge—our commitment to become net-zero carbon by 2040—10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement," Houchens said in a statement to U.S. TODAY.

Over the years, Amazon has reduced the weight of its packaging by 33% and eliminated more than 880,000 tons of packaging material, which is equivalent to about 1.5 billion shipping boxes, Houchens said.

According to the American Forest & Paper Association, 92% of cardboard boxes, also known as corrugated containers, were recycled.

Last year, Amazon released a fully recyclable paper padded mailer, and since the launch, more than 190 million of the mailers have been shipped to U.S. customers.

Amazon has suggestions on how to recycle Amazon and how to trade in, recycle or repair Amazon and non-Amazon devices and products through its Second Chance program at

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