Today and tomorrow, Amazon (AMZN) holds its annual ecommerce sales event Prime Day, which some analysts predict will be the company’s biggest yet, potentially generating more than $9 billion in worldwide sales, up 43% from 2019. They also estimate that there will potentially be, by the end of 2020, 140 million Prime members in the United States or more than 40% of the U.S. population. Oceana is calling on the company, given its exponentially increasing plastic footprint, to take action to reduce plastic packaging and to offer plastic-free packaging as an option at checkout for its consumers.
“Amazon’s customers are going to be left with a giant post Prime Day plastic packaging hangover of plastic waste that they don’t want, can’t easily recycle and haven’t asked for because the company won’t address its plastic problem,” said Matthew Littlejohn, Senior Vice President of Oceana. “Amazon has shown that it can offer alternatives to plastic packaging, in India and elsewhere, and needs to listen to its customers and take steps to reduce plastic use and pollution particularly given its recent record growth in the midst of a global pandemic.”
According to news reports, Amazon shipped approximately 7 billion packages in 2019, many packed in plastic, and this was prior to the company’s record sales in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled; the rest has been landfilled, burned, or gone on to pollute the world’s oceans and natural environment. Tens of thousands of individual marine organisms have been observed suffering from entanglement or ingestion of plastics permeating the marine environment—from zooplankton and fish, to sea turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds.
“Amazon’s customers, especially Prime customers, are increasingly concerned about the impact of plastic pollution on the seas,” said Littlejohn. “Polls commissioned by Oceana in the U.S., UK, and Canada – with YouGov and Abacus Data – found in the aggregate that more than 87% of those surveyed who reported being Amazon Prime members said they were concerned about plastic pollution and its impact on the ocean, and 35% of those surveyed in the U.S. who reported being Prime customers noted that they would consider shopping at other online retailers that offer plastic-free shipping.”
Oceana urges Amazon customers and Prime members to join the 630,000 concerned individuals who have signed a petition asking for the company to offer plastic-free packaging and to also directly contact Amazon customer service to ask for a plastic-free packaging choice at checkout for our oceans and our future. “The company listens to its customers,” added Littlejohn, “you can make a difference for the oceans by making sure they hear your concerns and by helping Oceana to get the company to acknowledge and reduce its plastic footprint.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.oceana.org to learn more.
 Lipsman, Andrew. “Amazon Prime Day 2020: From ‘Black Friday in July’ to Early Holiday Season Kickoff“. eMarketer. Published Sept. 29, 2020 at https://www.emarketer.com/content/amazon-prime-day-2020
 Amazon announced that it delivered 3.5 billion packages through its own delivery systems in 2019. Amazon spokespeople were quoted– in subsequent stories in Vox, US News and other outlets – that this represented “approximately half” of the company’s global shipping volume (and the rest was shipped through other carriers, like UPS).
 Geyer R, Jambeck JR and Law KL (2017) Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances 19 Jul 2017:Vol. 3, no. 7, e1700782 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700782. Available at: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782