There are many good arguments for boycotting Amazon, but let’s be honest, with over 3 million active users, they’re not going anywhere. And truth is, for those of us on a tight budget or individuals who don’t have access to affordable, local sustainable options, Amazon can be a lifesaver.
One of our biggest beefs with Amazon is the amount of packaging we receive with every order.
As it turns out, there are options to reduce your Amazon packaging, eliminate plastic, and even shop secondhand. Read on to find out how.
1. Request Less Packaging: First, contact Amazon’s customer care team and let them know you would like your account to be noted for reduced packaging when shipping your orders.
There are a few ways you can go about this:
- Send an email to customer service (firstname.lastname@example.org) asking them to avoid plastic packaging and extra packaging – which means no bubble wrap or packing peanuts.
- You can call them at 1 (888) 280-4331 and make your request over the phone.
- Or live chat with an Amazon associate on their customer service Contact Page.
Ultimately, it’s up to Amazon to honor your request, so it’s not guaranteed to work for every order. But you will be exercising your consumer rights and letting Amazon know that their packaging is wasteful. The more people who make the request, the more likely it will motivate the company to make a change.
2. Frustration-Free Packaging: Did you know you Amazon has a “Frustration Free” packaging service? You can search for products available with frustration free packaging (simply add the term “frustration free packaging” in the search field) – and choose this option from the product detail page like you would color and size. So no more Wrap Rage – breaking through sealed clamshell cases, untwisting plastic-coated wire ties. Your item will be delivered in an easy to open, 100% recyclable package.
Amazon currently offers more than 200,000 different products in FFP. So while this option is not yet available site-wide, there are still lots of products out there.
3. Shop Amazon Warehouse: One of the easiest ways to save money and reduce your footprint when shopping Amazon is through their Warehouse – because shopping secondhand is awesome. Warehouse deals are refurbished or pre-owned products. They come with free Prime shipping and are backed by Amazon’s 30-day return policy.
4. Opt for Slower Delivery: If you don’t really need your order immediately, choose a slower delivery option. Amazon typically offers a $1 credit for digital items when you select this option. If you have multiple items, select the option to group your items into the fewest possible packages. This also reduces the strain on resources required for fast delivery. Planes, trains, trucks, and fossil fuels.
5. Feedback: After your order is delivered Amazon has an option to leave feedback. You can access this through your orders page. You can also provide feedback via Amazon’s Contact Page. Our feedback is the driving force behind packaging improvements. So give FEEDBACK on every order.
6. Recycle: If you still got excess packaging, recycle it. Many shipping companies accept donated packing materials – UPS, DHL, and local mom-n-pop pack & ship companies.
Amazon has also launched a Give Back Box program. The goal is to encourage Amazon customers to reuse their boxes to donate excess food to Feeding America, a U.S.-based non-profit organization, whose mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks. You can print a free shipping label at givebackbox.com.
While boycotting Amazon may, at first glance, seem like the best way to get them to stand up and take notice, it may not be the best method.
Over the past few years, Amazon has been making strides and setting ambitious goals for sustainability. According to Kara Hurst, head of worldwide sustainability at Amazon, they’ve launched their largest wind farm in Texas that contributes over 1 million megawatt hours (MWh) of clean energy to the grid, and they’re working to install 50 solar rooftops across their fulfillment center network by 2020.
Rather than boycotting, Dustin and I have chosen to work with Amazon through constant feedback and supporting their sustainability initiatives. Amazon isn’t going anywhere, so instead of fighting them, let’s help them move in the right direction.