Oceana Report Reveals Amazon Generated 208 Million Pounds of Plastic Packaging Waste in the U.S. in 2022


A new report released by Oceana titled “Amazon’s United States of Plastic” highlights the staggering amount of plastic packaging waste generated by Amazon in the United States. According to the report, Amazon produced 208 million pounds of plastic packaging waste for all transactions in 2022, marking a 9.6% increase compared to the previous year.

Oceana’s calculations were based on available market data and were influenced by recent communications from Amazon regarding changes in its plastic packaging use. While Amazon has disclosed its global plastic packaging footprint for 2021 and 2022, it has not provided specific figures for plastic use at the country level or for transactions fulfilled by third-party sellers.

The report expresses concern over Amazon’s failure to reduce plastic waste in the U.S., especially considering the significant reductions it has made in other major markets like India and Europe. A survey conducted by YouGov revealed that 85% of Amazon customers in the U.S. are concerned about plastic pollution.

Amazon claims to have reduced the total amount of plastic delivery packaging in its global operations network by 11.6% in 2022 compared to the previous year. However, this reduction is primarily attributed to the company’s efforts outside of the U.S., where it has replaced single-use plastic packaging with recyclable paper and cardboard.

The refusal to phase out plastic packaging in all regions where it operates has led to a considerable amount of plastic waste becoming marine pollution. Oceana estimates that up to 22 million pounds of Amazon’s global plastic packaging waste from 2022 will end up in waterways and seas based on data from a peer-reviewed study.

The report emphasizes the devastating impact of plastic pollution on ocean ecosystems, particularly the plastic film used in Amazon’s packaging, which is the most common and deadliest type of marine plastic litter. Shareholders have repeatedly called on Amazon to develop a company-wide plan to reduce its plastic footprint by at least one-third.

Oceana is urging Amazon to phase out plastic packaging in the United States, its largest market, and make a commitment to reduce the overall amount of plastic packaging it uses by at least one-third by 2030. Through its campaign to reduce plastics, Oceana aims to advocate for science-based policies and encourage ocean conservation.

The article discusses the issue of plastic packaging waste generated by Amazon in the United States. To provide a broader understanding of the industry and market forecasts, we can look at the e-commerce and packaging industries.

The e-commerce industry has experienced significant growth in recent years, driven by increasing consumer demand for online shopping. According to Statista, global e-commerce sales reached $4.2 trillion in 2020, and this figure is projected to reach $6.4 trillion by 2024. The United States is one of the largest e-commerce markets, with sales expected to exceed $800 billion in 2021.

With the growth of e-commerce comes an increased need for packaging materials to ensure products are shipped safely. As a result, the packaging industry has also seen significant growth. According to Grand View Research, the global packaging market was valued at $917.2 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $1.05 trillion by 2028.

However, along with this growth comes the challenge of managing packaging waste. Plastic packaging waste has become a major environmental concern due to its impact on ecosystems, particularly marine environments. Single-use plastic packaging, such as the type used by Amazon, contributes to the accumulation of plastic waste in landfills and oceans.

Market forecasts suggest that there is a growing preference for sustainable packaging alternatives. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of packaging and are seeking eco-friendly options. This trend is expected to drive the adoption of packaging materials that are recyclable, biodegradable, or made from renewable resources.

Issues related to the e-commerce and packaging industries include the need for companies to adopt sustainable packaging practices. As highlighted in the article, Amazon’s failure to reduce plastic waste in the U.S. is a concern for both environmentalists and customers. The company’s efforts to reduce plastic packaging have been primarily focused outside of the U.S., raising questions about its commitment to sustainability.

The impact of plastic pollution on ocean ecosystems and marine life is a significant issue. Plastic film, which is commonly used in Amazon’s packaging, is particularly harmful to marine environments. The article mentions that shareholders have called on Amazon to develop a company-wide plan to reduce its plastic footprint, indicating growing pressure from stakeholders to address this issue.

To learn more about the e-commerce and packaging industries, you can visit the following links:

Statista – Online Shopping
Statista – Worldwide Retail E-commerce Sales
Grand View Research – Packaging Market
One Green Planet – Why is plastic packaging harmful to the environment?

It is crucial for companies in the e-commerce industry, like Amazon, to address the issue of plastic waste and adopt sustainable packaging practices to mitigate environmental impacts. Encouraging science-based policies and supporting organizations like Oceana can contribute to raising awareness and driving positive change in the industry.