Amazon claims they will switch to 100% recyclable/degradable shipping materials by mid-2020.


Remember 3 years ago when we started a petition for Amazon to switch to sustainable materials for shipping?

We were told it just wouldn’t be possible, even though Amazon was already offering this in other countries outside of the US.

Well, Amazon associates have finally made announcements that by the middle of this year, they will phase out non-recyclable plastics for “degradable or recyclable material” for delivery.


Source r/plasticfreeliving

And in some places in the U.S., it looks like they’ve already started making good on their promise:

Screen Shot 2020-01-10 at 3.22.54 PM.png

Source: instagram/zerowasteamerica

One question I noticed Amazon skirted over was addressing whether plastic would be used at all. As it stands, a lot of the inflatable plastic packaging Amazon uses is labeled as recyclable, but most cities cannot recycle them. If something is technically recyclable, it can be labeled as such even if most places cannot process it. It’s like labeling a bio-plastic fork as compostable even though it won’t break down in your backyard compost, as it needs certain conditions.

Since this type of packaging is already labeled as recyclable, what changes does Amazon really have to make to commit to their vague promise?

So what’s going on, Amazon? Are you using PCR plastics that are actually recyclable in most municipalities? Are you using new plastic that is more easily recyclable?

To me, there’s only one right answer: if they are still using any plastic, I sure hope it’s 100% post consumer recycled (PCR) plastic and I hope that material is very recyclable like PETE or PET plastic. But remember, plastic CANNOT be recycled indefinitely.

Even better? No plastic at all. Because Amazon is still putting the burden of disposal upon the consumer and many cities still do not have accessible or even affordable recycling centers to utilize.


Even using biodegradable materials isn’t ideal if everyone doesn’t have the ability to compost them. Contributing compostables to landfill is not zero waste. It’s uber waste.

So, Amazon, I applaud you for finally opening your eyes to this issue you’ve created and I really hope you take this a step further and close the loop entirely. Take back your own packaging. Reuse it. Stop making your customers responsible for your garbage.


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