It’s prime time for Amazon to reduce its plastic shipping waste

Our Amazon deliveries don’t need to be wrapped in multiple layers of throwaway single-use plastic.

Beyond plastic

Oceana | Used by permission

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That delivery you get from Amazon, or send to a loved one as a gift, is likely filled with an excessive amount of plastic packaging.

All this throwaway single-use “stuff” isn’t just a nuisance to dispose of or a headache to figure out how to recycle, not to mention just plain unnecessary. It’s also a huge contributor to a plastic waste problem that is utterly out of control.

Amazon can and must do better — in 2019 alone, the company’s plastic packaging waste neared half a billion pounds, according to one estimate. Amazon should act quickly to get rid of unnecessary single-use plastic packaging.

Plastic containers, plastic film and more plastic shipping waste

Say you run out of some household item, maybe disinfectant wipes, and so you order more on Amazon. The wipes already come in those plastic cylinders, and yet the two-pack you order also came wrapped in a thin gray plastic film, with still more plastic packaging (recyclable by store drop-off only) around that.

Multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of Amazon deliveries happening across the country every day — it’s no wonder there’s so much plastic pollution choking our oceans, littering our open spaces and piling up in our landfills.

It’s as if Amazon left the house with the bathtub running — and if we hope to control the flooding, the first thing we have to do is get to the tap and turn it off.

The world’s largest online retailer has all the tools it needs to cut out single-use plastic packaging from its deliveries. But if we hope to convince the company’s leadership to act, we need to stand together and raise a call too loud for even Amazon to ignore.

Amazon can be next to reduce single-use plastic packaging

We know we can win. Thanks in large part to PIRG supporters like you, today 1 in every 3 Americans lives in a state with a robust ban on at least one type of single-use plastic.

And major corporations are starting to get the message too: Last February, following PIRG’s advocacy, Coca-Cola (the world’s top plastic polluter, by one estimate) announced a commitment to use refillable or returnable glass or plastic bottles for at least 25% of global beverage sales across its entire brand portfolio by 2030. That’s not enough, but it’s an important step in the right direction.

If we succeed in convincing Amazon to move beyond harmful single-use plastic packaging, we’ll see less plastic waste headed to landfills and incinerators and cleaner parks, streets, beaches and waters in our communities. We’ll be helping to leave a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future to our children and grandchildren.

But even more importantly: Each time a company commits to eliminating its plastic waste, they pave the way for another to follow suit. As the largest retailer in the world, Amazon has the power to not only stop its plastic pollution, but spur the entire industry to do the same.

Tell Amazon: Stop using wasteful single-use plastic packaging.

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Authors

Matt Casale

Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

Matt oversees PIRG's toxics, transportation and zero waste campaigns and leads PIRG’s climate program to promote a cleaner, healthier future for all Americans. Matt lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, two daughters and chihuahua.

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