LOS ANGELES - A new report estimates that Amazon generated enough plastic packaging waste in 2019 to circle the Earth 500 times.
Oceana analyzed e-commerce and packaging market data as well as a recent scientific report, published in Science about predicted growth in plastic waste and found that Amazon has a large and rapidly growing plastic pollution footprint.
"Amazon has a plastic problem," Oceana wrote in the report released on Dec. 15. "Oceana estimates that in 2019, up to 22.44 million pounds of Amazon’s plastic packaging has ended up in the world’s freshwater and marine ecosystems as pollution. This amount is roughly equivalent to a delivery van’s worth of plastic being dumped into major rivers, lakes, and the oceans every 70 minutes."
Oceana said Amazon’s embrace of plastic packaging is "highly problematic because it increases plastic use, plastic waste, and pollution." In addition, Oceana said that plastics are made from fossil fuels and are a major contributor to climate change.
Oceana said it is calling on Amazon to reduce plastic and to offer plastic-free choices around the world.
"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. 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," according to an emailed statement from Amazon.
"Customer surveys sponsored by Oceana found an overwhelming concern about plastic pollution’s impact on the ocean and a desire for Amazon and other e-commerce companies to use less plastic packaging. Oceana calls on the company to report on and to take immediate steps to reduce its plastic use," Oceana wrote.
Oceana is an international organization focused solely on oceans, dedicated to conducting specific, science-based policy campaigns.