Report Says Amazon Responsible for 22 Million Pounds Of Plastic Waste Entering Our Water Ecosystems

In a report released on Tuesday, by Oceana, it was estimated that online retail giant,, was responsible for generating more than 465 million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2019. They further estimate that 22 million pounds of that is ending up in our marine and freshwater ecosystems, adding to the growing problems created by plastic pollution.

On the flip side, replying to the website The Verge, Amazon says that it uses about a quarter of what Oceana’s report estimates. If true, that would mean they generated more than 116 million pounds of plastic packaging in 2019, and we would further assume that means they contributed 5.5 million pounds of plastic pollution into our water ecosystems.

It’s important to note that Oceana makes clear that since Amazon does not release data on its plastic footprint, their report relies on information available from industry analysts about the amount of plastic packaging used worldwide. They then simply associated Amazon’s share of the online retail market to come up with their estimates.

“What you don’t measure you cannot manage. So we had to estimate this,” said Anne Schroeer, a director of strategic initiatives at Oceana, in a statement to The Verge. “Obviously, it would be much better if Amazon would publish their plastic footprint.”

An Amazon spokesperson released this statement: “We share Oceana’s ambition to protect and restore the world’s oceans, and we support the reduced use of plastics. However, Oceana has dramatically miscalculated Amazon’s use of plastic. As a founding member of The Climate Pledge, Amazon is committed to protecting the planet and continues to welcome informed, constructive dialogue with NGOs and others on these issues.”

Amazon also says that they have cut more than 900,000 tons of packaging material since 2015, and it also eliminated all single-use plastic in its packaging across its fulfillment centers in India, delivering on a pledge it made last year to achieve this goal by June.

Who to believe? Good question. We say dive into the report, which you can read in full HERE, and be sure to give Amazon a fair shake as well. We believe that it’s reasonable to ask them to do better – without question. But we all play a role in this. As our CEO, Julie Andersen, wrote earlier this week:

“Plastic pollution is a systemic problem which means we all contribute to creating the problem. We are all a part of the same global community that has made and supported this global economic system. Producers who knowingly sell products that harm our health and environment is a problem. Consumers who knowingly buy products that are harmful is a problem. Governments who knowingly support products that their local communities cannot waste manage is a problem. How we solve it will require all of us to take responsibility for our actions.” Read her full article HERE.

We don’t have a detailed official response from Amazon yet, but we’ll share it as soon as we see one. For now, please have a look at this video from Oceana, showing the basics on their report:

Your Thoughts?

Have a suggestion on how you as a consumer be part of the solution to motivating retailers and manufacturers to reduce their plastic footprint? If so, share in a comment on one of our social media channels or via our contact page. In the coming days we’ll be gathering up all suggestions, doing a bit of research and publishing part two on this topic – showing you specific ways you can be part of the solution.


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