How You Can Reduce Your Environmental Impact from Amazon


In the life of a college student, Amazon has become a holy grail for getting whatever we need in what feels like a split second. We order with just a couple of taps and boom, it’s right on our doorstep. It really feels as easy as that!

But, I’m sure that at some point we have all looked at one of our packages and questioned why there was so much excess packaging. The extra bubble wrap, plastic, huge boxes for small items, and so on. This actually has a much larger environmental impact than any one person can understand. Amazon was on track to deliver 3.5 billion packages globally in 2019 alone! Think of how much ecological waste that is coming from one company alone! So while it’s hard to commit to giving Amazon up completely, I’m going to share some tips that can help you lessen your environmental impact through Amazon. 

The first real solution is to stop buying so much from Amazon. Now, no one really wants to hear that because the company and their services are so convenient for its consumers. But it is much easier than it sounds! Shopping local is easy and helps not just the environment, but also your local community. Going downtown and buying something can save you time of needing to get the product, shipping costs, and ecological costs. Have fun with it and bring some friends with you! 

The next biggest step you could take is to skip out on 1-2 day shipping and to consolidate your packages into one. If you have a couple things in your cart, just push the earlier days back so that they all will come on one day. This saves the packaging necessary to send them separately, and also all of the energy that goes into getting that package delivered. Also, if you live on campus, who wants to have to pick up their mail twice in a week? Just push them all to the same date and make it easier for yourself and for the environment. 

Something that I just recently learned about is Amazon Warehouse. This is Amazon’s website that sells pre owned, used, or open box items. It’s basically thrifting for Amazon. The products that you are buying have been used before but are still in good condition, and you are most likely to get a good discount on it too. You can start looking at all of those items here:

You can also make further steps to reducing packaging your products come in by email customer service! Even though this doesn’t work all of the time, the note that you link to your profile will give the distributors a heads up that if it’s possible to reduce the amount of packaging for your product, they will. The customer service email is [email protected]. Here is even a pre-drafted letter for you to just send them, no hassle! 

“Hello, I have an Amazon account associated with this address. I’d like to request that in the future my packaged as minimally as possible – I want plastic-free Amazon orders. This means opting out of bubble wrap, plastic pillows. or any other additional plastic packaging that can be avoided. A zero waste order from Amazon would be a good step forward. Thank you!”

Even if there is still a lot of extra or unnecessary packaging, a lot of those components can be reused and recycled efficiently. Save some of the boxes for moving in and out of your dorm/apartment, as garbage bins, and so on. If you can’t, make sure that you are putting them in the proper recycling bins. You can also use this website ( to find a place near you that will take your bubble wrap! Even though it’s not zero waste, there are so many small actions that can be taken to help lower what is going directly to the garbage and landfills.

Being a environmentally conscious shopper is hard in this day and age, and there is a lot of temptation to simply turn a blind eye to what is going on. But the Earth desperately needs our help, and we should be doing everything in our power to reduce our individual ecological footprints. Amazon is just one piece of the puzzle, but every action counts towards the future for our planet!