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Critics Call Out Amazon over Use of Plastic in Goods Packaging

29 August 2019 - 09:26 by Simon Crisp

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BBC News reports that e-commerce giant Amazon is being hit with many complaints from customers because it is increasing the extent to which it harnesses single-use plastics to package its products before shipping at a time when many other retailers are actively seeking to cut down on their own use of unrecyclable materials.

This is not the first time that Amazon’s packaging practices have come under scrutiny and been found lacking. In the past it has faced accusations of using excessively large cardboard boxes to ship small items, coupled with large volumes of padding materials which are deemed unnecessary in many cases.

The arrival of plastic envelopes as a packaging option widely used by Amazon in the UK to deliver products ordered via safe shopping online only began earlier in 2019, which is seen as an even bigger issue because it suggests that the retailer is out of touch with the general trend amongst consumers towards sustainability.

In a statement the retailer said that it has made significant efforts in the last decade to drive down the volumes of packaging materials used, cutting half a billion boxes from circulation as a result. It also pointed out that the plastic envelopes which it now uses in the UK are actually suitable for recycling, which it sees as being one element of their sustainability.

The problem with plastic waste, much of it from product packaging, is that even if it is disposed of alongside other types of non-recyclable waste, it can still make its way into the oceans and thus into the world’s water and food supplies.

Recyclable plastic is a good start, but ultimately campaigners argue that single-use plastics should be completely eliminated to prevent further ecological issues from arising.