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Amazon criticised for new non-recyclable packaging

'Appalled that Amazon sent this to me today in a giant plastic envelope'

Olivia Petter
Tuesday 20 August 2019 14:50 BST

Amazon has been criticised for introducing a range of plastic packaging that cannot be recycled in the UK.

The global online retailer‘s Prime-branded envelope – offered to customers who pay a premium for expedited delivery speeds and use of Amazon’s video services – is lined with bubble wrap and is non-recyclable.

On Amazon’s Second Chance website, where customers can find information about how to recycle every form of the retailer’s packaging, it states that the plastic envelope is “not widely recycled across the UK”.

Environmentally conscious shoppers have been complaining about Amazon’s use of plastic on Twitter.

“Appalled that @amazon sent this to me today in a giant plastic envelope,” wrote one customer alongside a photograph of the bubble-lined envelope.

“Massive fail @amazonprimenow It is vital that you reduce unnecessary packaging and use cardboard wherever possible #saynotoplastic #reduceplasticwaste.”

Another added: “Really @amazon I am trying to reduce my plastic @amazon reduce your plastic!

Many Twitter users pointed out that Amazon was one of 181 companies to sign up to a new definition of corporate purpose in the US on Monday, which pledged to champion eco-friendly practices across their respective businesses.

Meanwhile, a petition on calling on Amazon to move to offer exclusively biodegradable packaging has garnered more than 4,200 signatures.

Soft plastics are choking our waterways and oceans, polluting our streets, and jamming up our recycling systems,” the petition reads.

“Amazon, please phase out your plastic envelopes, plastic component mailers, plastic bubble wrap, plastic air-pillows/cushions, and plastic product bags.”

Mike Childs head of policy at environmental campaigning charity Friends of the Earth said that the online retailer is just one of many that delivers products using non-recyclable packaging.

“Despite the huge public outcry, it’s astonishing how many companies are still using single-trip, unrecyclable plastic for deliveries,” he said.

“If we want to stem the tide of plastic pollution blighting our environment, giant firms like Amazon have to find ways of making deliveries in returnable and reusable packaging. And if they won’t – the government should make them.”

In a statement responding to the criticism, Amazon said: “We value our customers’ feedback about our packaging, both the positive comments and the negative, as in this instance. We can also reassure customers that our packaging team reviews all feedback.”

The statement continues: “At Amazon, our mission is to deliver the very best customer experience. We work with manufacturers worldwide to continuously improve packaging design and introduce new, sustainable packaging that delights customers, eliminates waste, and ensures products arrive intact and undamaged for our customers.”

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