Amazon has a plastic problem. In 2020, according to Oceana’s analysis, Amazon generated an estimated 599 million pounds of plastic packaging waste, a striking one-year increase of 29%, compared to Oceana’s 2019 estimate of 465 million pounds.
The company uses so much plastic packaging that it would circle the Earth more than 600 times in the form of plastic air pillows.
Based on data derived from a scientific report about plastic pollution of aquatic ecosystems, Oceana estimates that in 2020, up to 23.5 million pounds of Amazon’s plastic packaging waste entered the world’s waterways and seas. This amount is roughly equivalent to a delivery van’s worth of plastic being dumped into major rivers, lakes, and the oceans every 67 minutes.
Amazon’s recycling promises and claims do not add up and do not do enough to reduce the company’s very large plastic packaging waste footprint. The type of plastic packaging used by Amazon – plastic film – is rarely accepted by municipal recycling programs. Despite this, 39% of 1,400 Amazon Prime customers surveyed by Oceana in 25 cities in the United States and the United Kingdom reported that they put their packaging in curbside recycling bins. Additionally, 41% of secret shoppers sent by Oceana into 186 stores Amazon claimed as alternative recycling drop-off points for plastic film (in these same 25 cities in the U.S. and UK) were told by representatives of these stores that they would not accept Amazon plastic for recycling.
Plastic is a major source of pollution for the world’s oceans. Scientists now estimate 33 billion pounds of plastic wash into the ocean every year. Plastic packaging harms marine life and biodiversity when it enters the marine environment. Sea turtles and other animals mistake the kind of plastic used by Amazon – such as plastic bags – for food. Recent studies estimated that more than half of all sea turtle species studied – 52% – were found to have ingested plastic.
What Amazon Should Do
Following rapid pandemic related growth, Amazon has exceeded Walmart’s total sales and is the largest retailer in the world (outside of China). The company is increasingly defining how retail products are packaged. It is critical for the oceans that Amazon leads the reduction of plastics.
Amazon should listen to its customers and offer a plastic-free packaging option at checkout.
In contrast to the company’s recycling programs, in India, Amazon has taken steps to eliminate single-use plastic packaging and increase the use of returnable and reusable packaging. If Amazon expands its efforts to eliminate single-use plastic packaging worldwide, they could substantially reduce the company’s plastic footprint.
Amazon needs to stop hiding behind ineffective solutions, like plastic film recycling, and instead leverage its innovative know-how to reduce its plastic packaging footprint.
Amazon claims to be responsive to its customers. Oceana is calling on online shoppers and ocean activists like YOU to help fight the ocean plastic pollution crisis by emailing Amazon’s customer support and asking for a plastic-free packaging choice at checkout. Send an email today.
Oceana is calling on online shoppers and ocean activists to ask Amazon for plastic-free options at checkout by adding their names to Change.org/PlasticFreeChoice, a petition created by Oceana supporter Nicole Delma. More than 740,000 people have already added their name to the petition.
Amazon pays attention to your social media posts!
Tell Amazon and CEO Andy Jassy that you want a plastic-free packaging choice by tagging @amazon in your posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
If you’re an Amazon or Amazon Prime customer, please let them know!
Our oceans are being flooded with plastic pollution. @Amazon and @AJassy, you can help be part of the solution by giving customers like me a plastic-free packaging choice! #PlasticFreeAmazon oceana.org/PlasticFreeAmazon
.@Amazon and @AJassy, I don’t want to pollute the planet and our oceans every time I place an order. Give me a plastic-free choice! #PlasticFreeAmazon oceana.org/PlasticFreeAmazon
I’m an #AmazonPrime customer, and I want @Amazon to give me a plastic-free choice! I should not be forced to potentially pollute the oceans every time I place an order. #PlasticFreeAmazon @AJassy