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Environmental Groups Slam Amazon’s Non-Recyclable Packaging in the UK

Environmental Groups Slam Amazon’s Non-Recyclable Packaging in the UK
(Photo: One of Amazon’s bubble-lined plastic packages. Credit: Amazon.co.uk)

Environmental groups and customers in the United Kingdom are publicly criticizing Amazon for delivering products in non-recyclable plastic packaging.

According to Amazon’s Second Chance website, which has a section about how to recycle the company’s packaging, their plastic bags, bubble-lined plastic bags, and air pillows are “not widely recycled across the UK.”

One customer told the Guardian’s Miles Brignall that a few months ago the e-retailer switched from easily recyclable cardboard packaging to plastic envelopes. The move felt like a major step backward, she said.

Leaders from environmental nonprofits urged Amazon to rethink their use of non-recyclable plastic.

“Amazon is such a huge company that when they take a reckless decision to actually increase their plastic footprint, the impact of that decision is huge,” said Louise Edge, head of Greenpeace UK’s ocean plastics campaign, according to the Telegraph. “Companies should be looking at options for reusable packaging and reducing plastic.”

Mike Childs, the head of policy at the nonprofit organization Friends of the Earth, also expressed frustration. “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,” he told Brignall. “And if they won’t — the government should make them.”

A spokesperson for Amazon UK sent reporters a statement that the company is working with manufacturers worldwide to improve packaging design and introduce new, sustainable packaging that eliminates waste and ensures that products arrive undamaged. “Our mission is to deliver the very best customer experience.”

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