Charts: Plastic Waste from Ecommerce Is Flooding the World

In a seminal report titled “Amazon’s Plastic Problem Revealed,” Oceana, a nonprofit ocean-advocacy organization, described the amount of plastic packaging waste generated worldwide by ecommerce generally and Amazon specifically. “Amazon has a plastic problem,” the report stated, adding that in 2019 the company produced enough plastic air pillow waste to circle the Earth 500 times.

The Dec. 2020 report noted the volume of plastic packaging waste in 2019 for the entire ecommerce industry, including Amazon, as well as the projected waste for the industry through 2025.

It also described the types of plastic waste generated by the ecommerce industry in 2019.

The report listed the 10 countries that produced the most plastic packaging waste from ecommerce in 2019. China and the U.S. far surpass the U.K., the third-leading country.

Much of the 51-page report addresses Amazon directly — its packaging methods, shipping systems, and massive scale.  The report shows the estimated distribution by country of Amazon’s plastic packaging waste in 2019 and the percentage of the country’s total ecommerce plastic waste coming from Amazon.  In the U.S., 37.3% of the overall ecommerce plastic waste comes from Amazon. In Germany, it’s 49%; Canada is 48%.


Anna Kayfitz
Anna Kayfitz
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