Take an Amazon break and save the planet

19th April 2023

By Mark Hall

Take an Amazon shopping break 
and save the planet

Just say AMAZ-NO and ween ourselves off our mail order addiction

Everybody should take a two-week break from ordering from Amazon and other online retailers to help make the world a better place to live in.

A British waste and recycling company says that by weening ourselves off our addiction for mail order shopping, we could save tonnes of waste packing, not to mention tonnes of CO2 emissions while safeguarding local jobs.

Cardboard waste collection company Divert.co.uk wants more people to shop locally, rather than relying on an environment-destroying mail order industry.

“We’re talking millions of packages being sent out every single day in this country alone,” says Divert.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, “and being a waste company we have to deal with the mind-boggling fall-out”.

What’s the problem?

The Covid pandemic and the ease of buying things with just a couple of clicks has got much of the country used to shopping from home – to the point that it is damaging the environment and other sections of the economy.

Around 90% of Brits are Amazon customers, and the company is now the UK’s largest courier service, accounting for some 15% of the 5.4bn parcels sent in the UK annually.

Each parcel means more packaging going to waste, and another van journey for a courier. That is, according to Divert, wasted resources all over the place – “Especially when the order is for an everyday item which could just have easily been purchased at a local shop,” says Mark Hall.

And Amazon is just one online retailer operating in the UK, with the fast fashion industry equally responsible for tens of millions of parcels, many of which come with plastic packaging which is not easily recycled.

Factor in the news that up to a quarter of all e-commerce purchases are subsequently returned, you are doubling the amount of wasted packaging and CO2 emissions. And that’s before you realise that many returned items – especially clothes – are simply destroyed. Everybody loses.

“If we all took a break from Amazon, Asos and all the rest, we would be saving so many resources,” says Mark Hall. “We’ve got to break this addiction to convenience.”

What’s the plan, then?

Divert.co.uk is nothing if not relentlessly optimistic, and that’s why we are putting the idea of No Mail Order Fortnight out there, otherwise known as AMAZ-NO (if Amazon’s legal people don’t mind).

We want to ask the public to go a whole fortnight without buying anything online.

That will mean a whole lot of pressure taken off a number of things – such as council household waste collections and overflowing bins; not to mention pressure on supply chains and the use of diesel fuel to shift those millions of parcels around the country.

Instead, says Divert.co.uk’s Mark Hall, we should return to our old habits of shopping locally and supporting local businesses.

Many local shopping centres are still far quieter than they should be as society bounces back from the pandemic, and local shops represent something that should be supported, he says.

“This way you’re helping local jobs, while also preventing all that waste of packing and unnecessary delivery journeys.”

And in the case of clothes and shoes shopping, you actually get to try them on before you buy, feel the quality, and see the items without deceptive photography tricking you into an ill-advised purchase.

“That means a far smaller chance of an item being returned and sentenced to landfill,” says Divert.co.uk’s Mark Hall.

It’s a simple message: Give up the mail order to save resources and shop greener.