… To Amazon, that is!
I have been a loyal customer of Amazon Canada (and occasionally, USA) since 2012. That’s eight long years of [mostly pointless] purchases. Not only have I spent a small fortune on things that I really didn’t need, but I have also added to the ever-growing problem of waste.
According to a new report published by Oceana, Amazon is responsible for an estimated 465 million pounds of plastic packaging waste last year alone. Amazon argues that this is not the case and that Oceana’s figures are overestimated by 350%. However, Amazon admits that they used approximately a quarter of Oceana’s estimate. This still leaves them at approximately 116 million pounds of plastic packaging waste.
I’m sure many of you have received at least one package from Amazon at some point. Upon looking inside the very large box, you will see the small item you ordered. It will be packed under 10+ air pocket pillows. If we look at just the air pocket pillows alone, based on even Amazon’s “low” number of plastic pounds wasted, this would be enough to circle the earth well over one hundred times. If you combine the plastic air pockets and unnecessary plastic bags, you can see there is clearly a problem here. Of the 465 million pounds of plastic waste (sourced from Oceana), approximately 22 million pounds of waste ended up in rivers and oceans.
Recycling the Plastic
Adding to the very large waste problem at hand, most of the plastics that Amazon uses in their packaging are either not actually recyclable (news flash: not all plastic is recyclable) or they have very little value in the recycling industry. Even if the plastics are recyclable and do end up in a recycling plant, the amount of plastic that actually gets recycled is only around 9%. The remainder of the plastic waste ends up in the natural environment, a landfill, or is burned.
It’s Time for Goodbye
I would highly recommend reading the whole Oceana report, as well as conducting your own research on the waste created by Amazon alone. Unfortunately, Amazon’s popularity continues to grow as people settle for convenience over environmental standards. In my eight years of receiving Amazon packages, I could count on one hand how many packages contained no plastic. This proves to me they do have the capability of shipping your items in an eco-friendly manner. However, they choose not to.
I will be the first to admit there are items I may no longer be able to purchase; Amazon is the only retailer I have found to carry some items. However, I’m looking forward to this ‘breakup’. Not only for the sake of my wallet, but for the positive environmental impact I will be contributing to. Here’s to a 2021 of no Amazon purchases!