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Amazon Cuts Plastic Use in North America, Following Campaigning by Oceana

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WASHINGTON, June 20, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Amazon announced that it has replaced 95% of the plastic air pillows from delivery packaging in North America with 100% recycled paper filler — a move that is, according to the company, expected to “avoid nearly 15 billion plastic air pillows annually.” The decision is part of Amazon’s “multi-year effort to remove plastic delivery packaging from North America fulfillment centers.” This announcement follows years of campaigning by Oceana and its allies for the company to reduce its use of plastic packaging including releasing reports on Amazon’s plastic packaging waste footprint, campaigning outside the company’s headquarters, meeting with company representatives, and advocating for shareholder resolutions.

In response, Oceana released the following statement from Matt Littlejohn, Oceana’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives: 

“As the world’s dominant e-commerce company, Amazon’s action to reduce plastic packaging is welcome news for the oceans and the company’s customers.

“In 2020, when e-commerce sales surged due to the global pandemic, Oceana and our allies set out to push Amazon to reduce its enormous use of plastic packaging. Now, four years later, Amazon has announced it has effectively phased out plastic air pillows in North America, including in the United States (its largest market), Canada, and Mexico — markets accounting for more than 70% of Amazon’s sales. Oceana’s most recent report found that, in 2022, protective packaging, including plastic air pillows, accounted for over one-third of all e-commerce plastic packaging by weight globally. Plastic air pillows are made from the most common form of marine plastic litter in nearshore ocean areas — plastic film — which is also the deadliest type of plastic to large marine animals. Plastic film, unlike its paper alternatives, is not curbside recyclable or compostable. According to research by YouGov, 85% of Amazon customers in the U.S. reported being concerned about plastic pollution.

“While this is a significant step forward for the company, Amazon needs to build on this momentum and fulfill its multiyear commitment to transition its North America fulfillment centers away from plastic. Then, the company should expand these efforts and also push innovations like reusable packaging to move away from single-use packaging everywhere it sells and ships."

Amazon’s move away from plastic air pillows in North America follows the company’s phasing out of plastic air pillows in Australia, and nearly all single-use plastic packaging (including air pillows) in India and throughout Europe. Last year, the company reported using 11.6% less plastic packaging globally in 2022 compared to the previous year.

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-quarter of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 300 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, oil and plastic pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles, whales, 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. VisitOceana.orgto learn more.

Media contacts:Gillian Spolarich, gspolarich@oceana.org
Anna Baxter, abaxter@oceana.org

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