Amazon’s annual plastic packaging waste could circle the world 800 times, report says

Amazon generated more than 300 million kilograms of plastic packaging waste last year, according to new research.

According to a report by ocean advocacy organization Oceana, Amazon plastic footprint increased by almost a fifth (18%) between 2020 and 2021.

In total, the online retail giant is said to have created 321 million kilograms of packaging waste – mainly in the form of air cushions, a protective packaging used in parcels.

If disposed, this waste could circle the Earth more than 800 times.

Amazon disputed the charge, saying it takes a “scientific approach” to reducing packaging without “compromising the delivery experience for customers.”

But Oceana accused the retailer of being in denial.

“The science is clear, the type of Plastic used by Amazon for its packaging is a threat to the oceans,” said Matt Littlejohn, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Oceana.

“Customers and shareholders are asking the company to act. It’s time for Amazon, as it has done for the climate, to step up and commit to a global reduction in its use of Plastic wrap.”

How serious is the global plastic waste problem?

Plastic can take 1,000 years to break downfilling up landfills and littering the ocean.

Of the 10 billion tons of plastic that have ever been created, a massive 6 billion are found in landfills or in the natural environment.

A dump of plastic waste. Only a fraction of global plastic waste is recycled. – Cloth

Recycling is one of the most popular ways to approach the problem – but it’s a deeply problematic solution. A 2022 report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that only 9% of plastic is successfully recycled.

Much not recycled plastic ends up in the sea. Extrapolating from a 2020 study, Oceana estimates that more than 11 million kilograms of Amazon trash will eventually flow into the ocean.

Social media users have taken to the internet to decry the use of oversized packaging.

Is Amazon trying to reduce its plastic waste footprint?

In response to Oceana’s claims, Amazon outlined a number of initiatives it has taken to reduce plastic use. These include smaller packages and a commitment to make appliance packaging 100% renewable by 2023.

“Since 2015, we have invested in materials, processes and technologies that have reduced packaging weight per shipment by 38% and eliminated more than 1.5 million tons of packaging materials,” added a racketeer. word.

However, Oceana says that’s not enough – pointing out that reducing packaging weight doesn’t necessarily require reducing plastic.

The organization called on Amazon to commit to reducing its Plastic wrap by a third before 2030.

He also urged the company to publicly report on its footprint on plastic packaging and the climate the impact of all its products.

It’s not just organizations putting pressure on the company — Amazon is also under fire from its own shareholders.

At its annual general meeting in May 2022, holders of nearly 49% of Amazon’s stock voted in favor of a resolution asking the company to be transparent and address its growth. plastic packaging problem.

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