Miles Brignall, THE GUARDIAN
Use of plastic envelopes branded a ‘major step backwards’ in fight against pollution
Amazon has been criticised by environmental groups and customers after introducing a range of plastic packaging that cannot be recycled in the UK.
While supermarkets and other retailers have been reducing their use of single use plastics, the world’s biggest online retailer has started sending small items in plastic envelopes, seemingly to allow more parcels to be loaded on to each delivery truck.
Adrian Fletcher, an Amazon customer from Glasgow, is among a number who have complained to the company. He said the move felt like a “major step backwards” in the fight against plastic.
“My husband is disabled, and we rely a lot on Amazon and other home deliveries. Previously our small orders arrived in easily recyclable cardboard packaging, but a few months ago Amazon started using plastic envelopes. I diligently recycle all the packaging but can’t these,” he said.
“The supermarkets have all been dropping carrier bags from their online deliveries, but Amazon is going the other way – it’s madness. I have asked them not to ship my orders using plastic packaging but this falls on deaf ears.”
Amazon’s Second Chance website, which details how customers should recycle its packaging, states the Prime-branded envelopes are “not widely recycled across the UK”.
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It is thought that Amazon ships between 4bn and 5bn parcels a year worldwide. In February, the Washington Post reported on how the new Amazon envelopes were clogging up US recycling centres as consumers were wrongly placing them in recycling bins.