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Plastic pollution from Amazon grows by 29 percent, according to Oceana

By Rachel Douglass


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Image: Naja Bertolt via Unsplash

A report by ocean conservation group Oceana has found that up to 23.5 million pounds of Amazon’s plastic packaging polluted the world’s waterways and oceans in 2020.

The organisation has called on the e-commerce platform to reduce the use of plastic packaging worldwide, a move it already committed to in Germany and India.

Oceana’s report further estimated that Amazon generated 599 million pounds of plastic packaging waste throughout 2020 alone, following the increase in the company’s deliveries during the pandemic. This is an increase of 29 percent in comparison to the organisation’s 2019 estimates.

It has asked the company, which disputed Oceana’s previous estimates, to provide data about its plastic footprint, a request it has yet to respond to.

A survey of Amazon Prime customers in the UK and US, carried out by the organisation, found that 35.5 percent of respondents said they put their packaging waste in the trash, largely due to Amazon’s ‘plastic film’ not being accepted in most curbside recycling programmes. A total of 91 percent of respondents agreed Amazon should reduce its use of plastic packaging.

This move is set to be implemented into Amazon’s Indian and German markets, with the elimination of single-use plastic already carried out throughout India. However, Oceana expects the company to be more transparent about its global efforts, stating that it found examples of plastic packaging still reaching Indian customers.

It has further requested Amazon to “listen to its shareholders”, of which one-third have previously asked the company to report on its plastic footprint. In a release, it also referenced an ongoing petition, signed by 740,000 thus far, requesting Amazon to enable plastic-free choices.