Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Welcome REI Co-op Members! We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community, click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

Feedback on single use plastics in REI's shipping practices

Greetings,  Thank you REI for being concerned with our use of single-use plastics.  I appreciate reading REI's recent email on the issue.  I am concerned as well.  I am an active participant and leader in trash bashes around the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.  I see first hand what happens to single-use plastics - they often end up in our wild waterways.

Recently I spent my 2019 dividend on a new REI Diamondback spotting scope.  A great product - I'm looking forward to upping my bird watching!

However, the product was swaddled in multiple layers of single-use plastic bags.  The scope was wrapped in paper tissue that could have protected the scope in transit.  Then it was wrapped in a plastic bag.  Why?  The scope was packed into its case.  A well-designed case that looks like it will really protect the scope.  The case was also wrapped in a plastic bag.  Why?  The scope, case, and plastic bags were all packed into a box.  I get the box - it's necessary for shipping, warehousing, and display.  I can even understand the outer sheath of plastic wrap to keep moisture out - although I think a simple seal would keep the product safe from people trying to open the box.  My first impressions of the product when it came out of the shipping box was, "Oh no, **bleep** plastic wrapper!"

I think this product has way too much single-use plastics built into its packaging.  Plastic film is a pain in the neck to recycle.  It probably will be in a landfill for a very long time.  I will make sure that I properly dispose of - and, hopefully, recycle - all the packaging.

Will you continue to work with your suppliers to remove unnecessary single-use plastics from REI's products and packaging?

7 Replies

@JayBrooktrout Thanks for reaching out and for sharing your concerns with us!

Can you provide us with a little more information? Was the product you purchased this one? We’d love to provide our Sustainability team with that information so they can follow up with the brand specifically. We work closely with our brands, using our Product Sustainability Standards and Packaging Guidelines, to mitigate the environmental impact of our business. The standards provide clear expectations of our brand partners, encouraging them to integrate leading sustainability features into products and providing a platform from which REI can offer support and guidance.

One of our first advances with our own packaging sustainability was to convert all of our Co-op Brands packaging to FSC-certified, recycled-content paper, with the How2Recycle logo. We also have a major packaging effort underway, working with brands to eliminate polybags, which we haven’t used for our own Co-op Brands for years. We’ve been sharing our roll-pack method of packing our Co-op Brands apparel to assist other brands in making the switch.

Thank you, again, for letting us know about this situation and for helping us improve!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.


I purchased a Vortex Diamondback 20-60x60 Angled Spotting Scope, Item #161306.

Outdoor recreation is highly dependent on plastics - as a long-time member I encourage REI to be a leader as we move toward a sustainable civilization where we can still play in the wilds.

@JayBrooktrout Thanks for getting back to us so quickly!

We will pass this feedback along to our sustainability team.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I hope to see REI become an industry leader in eliminating plastics altogether. There are even fast fashion companies who are now using compostable/biodegradable plastic-alternative bags to ship their products. REI should really be leading the way on this effort and sustainability in general. It's part of the reason we want to be members of the co-op. 


 can you replace your plastic tape with paper tape?  Given the extra shipping - I’d love to be using less plastic everywhere. 


@Casey-T321 thanks for the suggestion! We mentioned it to our Sustainability team yesterday and it sounds like this is already under consideration, so your feedback was really well timed! Keep it coming!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thank you, @REI-JenK. I have written emails several times about REI using single-use-plastic shipping bags. There are several fast fashion companies who at least use biodegradable "plastic" bags for their shipping. It seems that REI should be an industry leader on this issue and sustainability in general. Thank you for helping push this effort forward!