10 Reasons Not to Shop on Amazon

Submitted by egreene on December 13, 2018
Photo by Julie Clopper

We recently posted a couple social media graphics about reasons not to buy from Amazon, during the holidays, “Prime Day”, or any other time of year. Not buying from a giant online store is not a surprising perspective from Green America, an organization that believes in the power of the green economy—that increasing the supply and demand for green businesses and green products will be what creates the environmentally friendly and socially just world we want to live in. 

That said, we’re making some big claims about Amazon, and we want you to know they’re based on evidence that the company is far from green. Here’s what we claim and a few links to where you can read more. If you found our social media graphics helpful in learning about Amazon, please share them, and this post! 

Amazon… 

  1. Exploits workers and fights unions. This article from The Guardian discusses how Amazon has surppressed unions in its warehouses and how unions could help its workers. In this article from Green American’s “Hidden Workers Fighting for Change” issue, we spoke to labor rights activists about the harsh conditions in Amazon’s warehouses and how they need to change.  

  1. Is largely powered by fossil fuels. Green America’s Build a Cleaner Cloud campaign has been pushing Amazon for years to use clean energy to power its web hosting services, one of the biggest cloud storage hosts on the internet, and gotten Amazon to 50% clean energy (which means the other 50% is largely from coal, gas, giant hydropower, and nukes). The Center for Biological Diversity’s “Amazon Shine” campaign pushes Amazon to use solar energy to power its warehouses for the good of wildlife habitats.  

  1. Fights tax laws that would support local economies. This Atlantic article discusses how Amazon worked to kill a business tax in Seattle that would have created affordable housing in the city that is home to Amazon’s headquarters. This USA Today article talks about how Amazon raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in a faux grassroots campaign called “No Tax on Jobs” in Seattle. 

  1. Creates excessive packaging waste. A Forbes writer dives deep into the waste issues created by the online shopping marketplace and Amazon in particular. This Bloomberg article goes into the growth in cardboard waste in the rise of Amazon Prime. 

  1. Raised minimum wages at the expense of workers’ benefits and incentives. In October, Amazon announced that the company’s minimum wage would be raised to $15 an hour. The Washington Post wrote about how even workers affected by this change were not excited, because the increase is not enough to consider many of its jobs “good jobs.” NBC News discussed how Amazon dropped stock plans and bonuses at the same time as it raised the minimum wage, which left many unhappy.  

  1. Further enriches world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, contributing to wealth inequality. This one is pretty self explanatory. Business Insider wrote about how Jeff Bezos makes more money in one minute ($36,000) than the average millennial makes in a year. A tech writer on Medium wrote about how Jeff Bezos’ $100 billion comes at the expense of exploited workers.  

  1. Stifles the voices of authors and harms the flow of information to the public. A New York Times journalist talked to publishers and authors about why Amazon wasn’t helping them, and how the company might be violating anti-trust laws. 

  1. Rakes in billions in taxpayer subsidies for its new headquarters buildings in NY and VA, despite being worth over $1 trillion. Investigators at The Intercept reported that Amazon’s “HQ2” will cost Virginia taxpayers $4.6 billion, twice as much as the company stated. The Washington Post reported it would cost taxpayers $2.5 billion, but that’s still one of the world’s most valuable companies tapping taxpayers’ money to build headquarters that will create a lot of negative impacts for local residents.  

  1. Penalizes small businesses that use its platforms. The Sun magazine did a feature interview with author Stacy Mitchell on how Amazon undermines local economies and is bad for small businesses.  

  1. Treats workers of its own delivery services poorly, which unlike UPS and USPS are not unionizedInc digs into the struggles of being a driver for a company that promises rapid deliveryBusiness Insider spoke to 31 Amazon drivers and heard several disturbing stories of a physically demanding and poor-paying job. 

6 reasons

4 more reasons

While Amazon makes it so easy to shop on its site, if you resist the urge to engage in one-click shopping, and instead shop directly with a local green business, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting your local economy and get to meet business owners and employees who share your values. 

Or try shopping online directly from green businesses through our GreenPages.org – with hundreds of businesses and thousands of products to choose from. You can also check out our 11 Greener Options than Amazon. Either way, you’ll wind up being more intentional about your spending, and more likely only purchase what you need, and you’ll be directly supporting the green economy. 

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