Belvedere resident works to establish an Amazon box reuse program

Charlotte DeForrest

A recent petition requesting that Amazon reuse their shipping containers in Marin County is gaining support. The petition, created by Belvedere resident Carolyn Lund, has been endorsed by five cities in Marin and has over 6,000 signatures. 

A garbage collector for the Marin Sanitary Service makes early morning deliveries.

Every year Amazon ships over 600 billion cardboard boxes to customers, and according to the petition, 3.5 billion of these boxes go to the landfill. Even though the remaining boxes are sent to recycling, the process of recycling still negatively affects the environment. 

Lund reiterated the idea that recycling these boxes is not enough to preserve our environment.

“Recycling is really remanufacturing, and with it comes all the problems of industrial processes in terms of industrial damage…Not only do you lose the trees but you give up the benefits of those trees which are capturing the carbon,” Lund said.

The petition was quickly supported by the Redwood Environmental Action Club. Lund attributes the success of the initiative and Larkspur’s endorsement to their support.  

Joe Stewart is the supervisor of the Environmental Action Club and an environmental science teacher at Redwood. He believes that Lund and the Club were successful because of their enthusiasm and interest in the cause. 

“The environmental club is always excited about taking some action that is doable and related to the environment,” Stewart said. “I think that any way we can help minimize waste is beneficial to all of us. There is only so much space in our landfills.” 

Larkspur was among the first cities to support the initiative, followed by Belvedere, Muir Beach, San Anselmo, Fairfax and San Rafael. The counties have shown their support through letters of endorsement to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and verbal support during their city staff meetings. Lund has reached out to the town of Tiburon for its endorsement, but the council member in charge of evaluating the petition, Alice Fredericks, removed it from the agenda. 

Fredericks is worried that the Marin Sanitary Service, the company responsible for waste collection and recycling in Marin County, could experience a drop in revenue due to a decrease in cardboard being recycled in Marin. 

In an article by the Marin IJ, Patty Garbarino, President of the Marin Sanitary Service, reiterated Frederick’s ideas. 

“If you take a piece out, naturally that has an effect on the rest of the calculations,” Garbarino said. 

Sitting at the Marin Sanitary Service, cardboard waits to be recycled.

Lund, on the other hand, believes the impact would be almost unnoticeable as the majority of the revenue comes from citizens’ garbage bills. 

“I think [Fredericks] was using it as an excuse to not move forward…Tiburon just hasn’t figured out how to handle it. The idea of supporting an initiative is something they are having trouble wrapping their head around,” Lund said. 

According to Lund, if the program were to be approved by Amazon it would not only result in less deforestation, but also a decrease in pollution, gas fumes, and chemicals in the air and water near paper mills. She hopes that in the future other companies will follow Amazon’s example and become more eco-friendly. 

Ultimately, Lund hopes to discuss the project with state legislators Mark Levine and Kate Sears to expand the measure to all of California. She urges anyone who wants to make a difference in the environment to sign the petition. 

“I think [the petition] won’t solve all the problems, but I think it’s going to take a handful of innovative programs like this to start making some difference,” Lund said.