By David Vetou
Online retail giant Amazon generated almost 500 million pounds of plastic packaging last year, more than 22 million pounds of which ended up in rivers and oceans, a new report has claimed, potentially threatening efforts by CEO Jeff Bezos to burnish his firm’s sustainability credentials.
According to research from ocean conservation charity Oceana, plastic air pillows and bubble wrap accounted for most of the waste from Amazon deliveries, the use of which has risen rapidly in recent years. The report, which surmised that Amazon sent some 7 billion deliveries last year alone, calculated that the combined length of the air pillows used by Amazon in one year would circle the Earth 500 times. Furthermore, the charity said, the size of the company’s plastic footprint is set to grow as its global operation expands.
The report also found that most Amazon customers want the company to change its ways, with 86% of those surveyed saying they were concerned about plastic pollution. Noting that the company has already made moves to eliminate single-use plastic waste in its India operation, Oceana included in the report a series of steps Amazon could take to shrink its plastic impact.