The issue of plastic pollution continues to compound as the COVID-19 pandemic drives global demand for disposable, safe solutions.
E-commerce sales have a projected growth rate of more than 20% in 2020, a result of economic shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders. The surge has created additional plastic waste with packaging.
A new report from Oceana examined the impact of online shopping to marine ecosystems, specifically analyzing data from the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.
Matt Littlejohn, Oceana’s Senior Vice President, stated the study’s findings showed that “the plastic packaging and waste generated by Amazon’s packages is mostly destined, not for recycling, but for the landfill, the incinerator, or the environment including, unfortunately, our waterways and sea, where plastic can harm marine life.”
The report titled “Amazon’s Plastic Problem Revealed,” utilized e-commerce packaging market data as well as a peer-reviewed report published in the journal Science.
Plastic packaging shipped with the 7 billion packages Amazon delivered in 2019 generated 465 million pounds of waste. As a result, Oceana estimated that 22.4 million pounds of that plastic packaging ended up in waterways and marine ecosystems.
The plastic film used in Amazon packaging is not recyclable. Municipalities and materials recovery facilities (MRFs) largely are not able to sort and process polyethylene plastic film as part of curbside recycling programs. As of 2014, a mere 4% of plastic film from residential programs was recycled.
As a result of these findings, Oceana surveyed more than 5,000 Amazon customers in the United States, Canada and the U.K. Eighty-six percent of consumers showed concern