How many times a month do you order an item off of Amazon? Do you know where the products are coming from? Amazon is simple, and it has everything you could need from food to cars. “I use Amazon for anything I can’t find in stores, or if I need something last minute” Rachel Binderman, a sophomore, explained. Many students at Weber use Amazon in their weekly lives. Even our school has a prime account for Amazon. Although Amazon is great, it also has many negative impacts on our environment and the economic system.
You may be wondering how Amazon is impacting us. Every benefit Amazon has to offer, there is a negative effect that procedes. With such low prices, free one-day shipping, and free returns, Amazon is leading in online sales. As of June 2019, there were an estimated 105 million U.S. Amazon Prime subscribers. Now, Amazon has more Prime members than members who are not subscribed to Prime.
Amazon has their own delivery service, including company trucks, Amazon air (company planes), and company workers delivering in their own cars. Studies have shown that driving to stores to get products is actually worse for the environment than one truck delivering to homes; yet, commercial trucks are higher-polluting per mile than passenger vehicles. The trucks run on diesel fuel which is more efficient than gasoline, but produces four times more nitrogen dioxide pollution. The problem is, people are both ordering online and shopping in stores, which congests the roads and the air. In 2014, Amazon has added “two-hour shipping” for prime members which is called “Prime Now”. To make this work, Amazon relies on hundreds of thousands of independent employees with passenger cars to make those deliveries. The drivers take longer routes going from their home to warehouses to your homes and back to their homes. Overall that is many more miles than going to local stores.
Amazon trucks and cars are problematic, however, the rushed orders are mainly transported on planes, which produces loads of CO2 into our atmosphere. CO2 is a heat-trapping gas that is somewhat responsible for our frighteningly increasing climate change. The uprise of Amazon customers means an increase in packaging waste. Cities are collecting more and more cardboard along with recycling companies. Cardboard is an easy material to recycle as long as it gets into the bins. The overflow of waste that doesn’t make it into the recycling bin is put into landfills.
In addition to our environment, Amazon also affects our economic system. Amazon’s servers host a third of the world’s cloud-based data. Being accessible worldwide, and how easy it is to buy anything you need, local stores are going out of business due to a decrease in customers. As Amazon grows larger, local boutiques and shops grow smaller. Consumers may miss the experience of shopping in person because it is much easier to use Amazon and be lazy.
A random poll of Weber faculty and students revealed roughly nine out of ten people are prime members. Jo Samuels, a Weber sophomore stated, “My family gets an average of two packages a week.” While Kira Berzack, sophomore, explained, “We receive at least five packages a day.” “My family gets around three packages a month,” Mason Chernau said.
Amazon, everyone’s go-to online shop, wastes energy, pollutes, and litters throughout our planet. Every positive Amazon offers is negative in the long run.