Amazon has a plastic problem. In 2019, according to Oceana’s analysis, Amazon generated an estimated 465 million pounds, or 211 million kilograms (kg), of plastic packaging.
According to news reports, Amazon shipped over 7 billion packages in 2019 – roughly one for every person on the planet. The company uses so much plastic packaging that it would circle around the Earth more than 500 times if expressed in the form of e-commerce’s ubiquitous air pillows.
Based on data derived from the scientific report about plastic pollution of aquatic ecosystems, Oceana estimates that in 2019, up to 22.44 million pounds (10.18 million kg) of Amazon’s plastic packaging has ended up in the world’s freshwater and marine ecosystems as pollution. This amount is roughly equivalent to a delivery van’s worth of plastic being dumped into major rivers, lakes, and the oceans every 70 minutes.
What’s worse, the amount of pollution from Amazon’s plastic packaging waste could increase rapidly because of the company’s exponential growth. In 2020, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts expect the company’s revenue to grow by more than a third. Additionally, the company’s sales are increasing rapidly in low- and middle-income countries where the rate of plastic waste entering and polluting the oceans is high.
Plastic is a major source of pollution for the world’s oceans. Scientists now estimate billions of pounds of plastic washes 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
Amazon can help by giving its customers a plastic-free packaging choice.
Right now, when an Amazon customer submits an order, they have no choice but to accept plastic packaging – plastics that could go on to pollute our oceans.
Public opinion research sponsored by Oceana shows Amazon customers in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada are overwhelmingly concerned about plastic pollution’s impact on the world’s oceans, and want major online retailers including Amazon to give them a plastic-free packaging choices. This concern and support were highest among Amazon’s best customers – Prime members and those who shop most often online.
Amazon’s packaging and materials lab have created lightweight plastic-free packaging, including a new mailer that the company reports have been used 100 million times. The company is known for its innovation in delivery technology and has made commitments to protect the environment, including a pledge to be zero carbon by 2040 and recently announced it eliminated non-recyclable plastic in packaging across its Fulfillment Centers in India.
Despite statements from CEO Jeff Bezos that Amazon is “obsessed” with meeting the needs and wants of its customers, the company has made no public commitment to reduce its use of plastic packaging.
Amazon claims to be responsive to its customers. Oceana is calling on online shoppers and ocean activists like YOU to email Amazon’s customer support and ask for a plastic-free packaging choice at checkout. Amazon can help fight the ocean plastic pollution crisis by giving its customers a plastic-free packaging choice. Send an email today.
Want to do more?
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 660,000 people have already added their name to the petition.
Amazon pays attention to your social media posts!
Tell Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos that you want a plastic-free packaging choice by tagging them in your posts using their handle @amazon on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and @jeffbezos on Instagram and Twitter, #jeffbezos on Facebook.
If you’re an Amazon or Amazon Prime customer, please let them know!
Our oceans are being flooded with plastic pollution. @Amazon and @JeffBezos, you can help be part of the solution by giving customers like me a plastic-free packaging choice! https://bit.ly/3eaSoF3 #PlasticFreeAmazon
.@Amazon and @JeffBezos, I don’t want to pollute the planet and our oceans every time I place an order. Give me a plastic-free choice! #PlasticFreeAmazon https://bit.ly/3eaSoF3
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. #PlasticFreeMeAmazon @JeffBezos