Amazon created 599 million pounds of plastic waste in 2020: REPORT

  • Amazon produced just 600 million pounds of plastic waste by 2020, a new Oceana report says.
  • It is estimated that 23.5 million pounds of that plastic ended up in the world’s oceans, according to the report.
  • Amazon disputed the report, saying it had fallen by “more than 300%.”

In 2020, when more Americans than ever approached Amazon during COVID lockdowns, the company subsequently created more plastic packaging waste than ever: 599 million pounds in total, according to a new Oceana report.

Of the nearly 600 million pounds of plastic, Oceana estimates that “up to 23.5 million pounds” entered the world’s oceans. That’s the equivalent of “dumping a plastic truck in the oceans every 67 minutes,” the report said.

Oceana, which commissioned and published the report, is an international non-profit organization “dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans on a global scale,” the group’s website states.

Amazon disputed the report in a statement sent to Insider.

“Their calculations are seriously flawed,” the statement said. “They have overestimated our plastic consumption by more than 300% and are using outdated assumptions about the sources of plastic waste entering our garden.”

The vast majority of the plastic that enters the oceans of the world comes from about 20 companies and does not include Amazon, according to the Plastic Waste Makers Index. Instead, petrochemical companies like ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical and Sinopec are responsible for that waste.

These three companies alone account for almost 20% of the world’s disposable plastic waste, according to the index.

Instead of companies like Amazon that use plastic for packaging, the Plastic Waste Makers Index points to the source of the world’s disposable plastics: The companies that produce the polymers used to create disposable plastics.

In addition, Amazon’s reported contribution to plastic waste in the sea accounts for a small fraction of the total figures. It is estimated that 17.6 billion pounds of new plastic enter the oceans each year, the report said, compared to Amazon’s contribution of 23.5 million pounds.

The Plastic Waste Makers Index claims that if petrochemical companies produced less plastic, companies like Amazon that use disposable plastic would be forced to use something else.

Regardless, Amazon said in its statement that it is “making rapid progress in reducing or removing disposable plastic” from its packaging, and the company remains committed to “achieving net-zero carbon by 2040.”

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