Amazon is here. It’s convenient. And it’s very much ingrained in our culture. You or someone you know probably has an Amazon box at their door right now. I know I do and I totally get it. I too can be a victim of convenience and a better deal. And to be fair, sometimes Amazon is the only place you can find the things you need.

But shopping on Amazon also means tons of packaging waste, increased carbon emissions from shipping, and not contributing to our local economy. Yikes! When you can, shop locally to avoid those bummers. But for the times you can’t, try out these four easy ways to shop more sustainably on Amazon!

  1. Shop for items with Frustration-Free Packaging.
    In the same way you can shop by brand or price, you can also shop by packaging type. When you click “Frustration-Free Packaging” in the filter bar, your results only include items that ship in their own packaging. For example, a toaster already comes in a box, so Amazon won’t put it in another one to ship it to you. Perfect! This option saves natural resources and reduces plastic waste.
  2. Opt for the consolidated shipping day.
    If you’re ordering more than one item, you’ll see the option to select “FREE Amazon Day Delivery” when checking out. By selecting this option, your items ship in fewer packages and on the same day. This saves natural resources and reduces plastic waste. And, with fewer deliveries to your door, you decrease carbon emissions!
  3. Buy second hand items.
    Amazon offers Amazon Warehouse, Amazon Renewed, and certified Refurbished Amazon devices marketplaces. All three allow you to buy pre-owned, used, or open box items. And likely at lower prices! Making a new item uses raw materials, consumes energy, and produces pollution. But when you buy second hand, you avoid all of that. Major wins!
  4. Request to have your packages shipped plastic-free and with minimal packaging.
    This may not work every time, but it is 100% worth the attempt. If nothing else, just by asking you provide crucial feedback to Amazon. And if no one did that, change wouldn’t happen. So keep asking – it’s really important! If your request goes through, you save natural resources and reduce plastic waste with each order. Thanks to Milwaukee Without Plastic for bringing this to my attention!

    Here’s how to do it:

    A. Start a Live Chat with Amazon – Sign in to your account, search “contact us” in the search bar, click the link to “Contact Amazon Customer Service,” and click “Start chatting now.”

    B. Put in your request – Copy and paste this message in the Live Chat: “I’d like all future orders to be plastic-free and with minimal packaging. When absolutely necessary, please only use biodegradable packaging materials like paper. Thank you!”

    C. If your request goes through, the information will be saved to your account for future orders. You may also reach someone who says this isn’t possible. If so, you can request a phone call or restart the chat to speak with someone else. (Remember, putting in your request is helpful even if they aren’t able to accommodate it right now.)

So there they are! Four easy ways you can shop more sustainably on Amazon. Easy peasy, right? Just imagine the difference this would make if everyone who shopped on Amazon did it this way. I imagine there’d be sea turtles doing backflips and trees giving high-fives in celebration!

It’s also important to recognize that Amazon now offers these options because customers have been demanding it. So keep on demanding it! Vote for sustainability with your wallet and your voice. Please share this with others so they can too!