The Times reports today that Amazon produces enough plastic waste to circle the earth 800 times. Their report comes from the conservation group Oceana. Amazon is the world’s largest retailer. They delivered 7.7 billion packages last year. This equates to 709 million pounds of plastic packaging. This is an 18% increase on the plastic waste Oceana estimated Amazon produced in 2020.
Forbes reported at the end of 2020 that Amazon generated almost 500 million pounds of plastic packaging in 2019. Worryingly, they said that 22 million pounds of it ends up in the oceans and rivers. Their information comes from Oceana.
Most of Amazon’s plastic is in the form of air pillows and bubblewrap. There’s been a rapid rise in its use recently.
In 2019 Amazon made 7 billion deliveries. Oceana calculated that the combined length of air pillows used in one year by Amazon would circle the Earth 500 times.
Of course, Amazon is growing and will continue to grow going forward. This pollution will become worse. I don’t see a lot being done about it if anything at all.
Amazon dispute Oceana’s claims. They emailed Forbes.com and stated:
“We share Oceana’s ambition to protect and restore the world’s oceans, and we support the reduced use of plastics. However, Oceana has dramatically miscalculated Amazon’s use of plastic and exaggerated it by over 350%—we use about a quarter of the plastic packaging estimated by Oceana’s report.”
Amazon also stated:
“Since 2015, we have reduced the weight of outbound packaging by more than a third, and eliminated almost one million tons of packaging material. As a founding member of The Climate Pledge, Amazon is committed to protecting the planet and continues to welcome informed, constructive dialogue with NGOs and others on these issues.”
Oceana, in a survey, found that 86% of Amazon customers are concerned about plastic pollution.
Recently there was a big discussion about Amazon’s cardboard usage. Although cardboard is mainly made from recycled paper and is itself recycled as I understand it, it probably makes deforestation worse. This may be because you can’t go on recycling cardboard and paper because it loses its strength. I suspect that some cardboard is made from trees directly.
The senior vice president, Matt Littlejohn, of Oceana, said:
“The amount of plastic waste generated by the company is staggering and growing at a frightening rate,” Littlejohn said. “Our study found that the plastic packaging and waste generated by Amazon’s packages is mostly destined not for recycling, but for the landfill, the incinerator or the environment including, unfortunately, our waterways and sea, where plastic can harm marine life.”
Plastic pollution in the oceans and rivers is a major problem for the world. Like many other people I have written about this before. The statistics are staggering. Below are some articles on plastic pollution.
I can remember an image – perhaps an image which is the worst possible you could imagine on how plastic pollution damages wildlife – of a seagull feeding their young with plastic detritus. Simply horrific. I can’t erase the image from my head.
P.S. I love Amazon ???.