In a recent article on mbg, Céline Jennison, an environmental activist and educator who studies ocean trash in remote areas of the world, posed a simple ask: If you order something online, email to ask that the supplier doesn't package it in plastic. Curious, I reached out to Céline to see whether she's had much luck with this approach. She explained that, with Amazon orders in particular, she still does receive plastic packaging, but it's less frequent.
Intrigued—and slightly ashamed I hadn't thought to do so sooner—I shot an email to Amazon customer service (email@example.com) with the following:
I'm writing to see if you can make a note in my account that says I would like to receive orders in brown paper packaging (zero plastic or zero plastic or Styrofoam) whenever possible. I love the ease of using Amazon but have been disappointed by how much unnecessary plastic packaging it can come with at times.
I got a note back within a few hours, saying that my request had been forwarded to the appropriate team. Hoping to get something a bit more specific, I sent the same email to Jeff Bezos himself (or at least the address he has made public) and received a similar response. The next day, I put the service to the test and ordered a book. I was disappointed when it arrived in a cardboard box with a wad of plastic Bubble Wrap inside. The two emails I got back did say it could take a little while to handle my request, though, so I'm crossing my fingers for next time.