Amazon says it reduced its use of single-use plastic last year but an environmental group says it has increased by almost 20%

A report by environmental group Oceana found that plastic waste from Amazon packages increased by 18% last year, but Amazon say it has reduced usage disposable plastic on its network.

According to an estimate by Oceana, released Thursday, Amazon’s plastic waste has grown from 599 million pounds in 2020 to 709 million pounds last year — an amount that could encircle the planet more than 800 times in the form of an air pillow. , the group said.

For years, the advocacy group has pushed the company to release more data on its plastic footprint and pledge to reduce any harmful environmental impact that may result from it. That idea has been voted on twice at Amazon’s annual shareholder meetings over the past two years. The last vote, held in May, received the support of 48% of shareholders.

But the e-commerce giant declined calls to release more data until Tuesday, when it revealed in a blog post that it had used 97,222 tons (more than 214 million pounds) of plastic used once last year to deliver orders to customers. Amazon also says it can reduce the average plastic weight by more than 7% in a single shipment but did not disclose whether its overall plastic volume will increase between 2020 and 2021, when sales Sales boomed due to the pandemic.

“While we are making progress, we are not satisfied,” the company said in the blog post. “We have a lot of work to do to further reduce packaging, especially plastic packaging that is more difficult to recycle, and we are working on a range of initiatives to do so.”

Matt Littlejohn, Oceana’s senior vice president of strategic initiatives, said it’s good for Amazon to release some data, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

The company’s overall data includes plastic used in shipments Amazon makes through its warehouses and other business divisions, such as Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh. But it ignores what is used by third-party merchants selling items on Amazon but not using the company’s fulfillment services.

Saige Kolpack, an Amazon spokesperson, said the company’s data reflects the vast majority of plastic used to ship orders to customers because a “significant majority” of items shipped are made by Amazon. presently. Kolpack declined to say how many of the nearly 2 million Amazon merchants use its fulfillment service.

The company also said it offers incentives for third-party sellers to ship items to customers in the original manufacturer’s packaging, rather than using additional packaging.

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