All Green Podcast Ep.4- Daddy Bezos, Amazon, and the Space Race.
Michael: Alright! Hello everyone, welcome back to the All Green Podcast where we love to showcase all things green happening around the world around us. My name is Michael Ghazal
Andrea: My name is Andrea and we're excited to come back to you guys from our Eco Four Twenty office to talk about some exciting things today. What do you have for me, Michael?
Michael: Absolutely! I'm super excited to talk about Amazon, all things about technology, space and, I mean, all of July we've been hearing about Amazon and Jeff Bezos stepping down. You know, from starting the company years ago to be able to now step down and let a new overlord come on.
Michael: It's so exciting to see, it's exciting that change is happening, may there'll be better directions in Amazon, maybe there'll be different directions. Who knows? I know the head of AWS (Amazon Web Services) is now stepping in, so that just shows they're putting technology first, still. They're still making sure that technology is going to be at the forefront. I mean, that's one of the reasons why Amazon handled the pandemic so well, like they had such a good technology infrastructure setup even beforehand, that they were really ready to go. I know their sales have increased over 200% since the pandemic started and so many people now are shopping on Amazon that might've never shopped before, but just because they don't want to go out to the grocery stores.
Andrea: Out of necessity, right.
Michael: So it's so interesting to see, I mean I don't know exactly what's going to happen with this new CEO and how much involvement Jeff will have, but, I mean he's flying into space right now so I don't think he's going to be that much involved in Amazon.
Andrea: It's really cool I know Amazon is taking a lot of steps environmentally. In 2019 they signed the Climate Pledge, did you hear about that?
Michael: Absolutely! I think it's so exciting to see that big companies can take these effective changes and really push them. As you know there's over 500,000 small businesses and medium-sized businesses selling in the U.S. (on Amazon) and all of these companies, Eco Four Twenty included, are subject to Amazon's environmental policies, are subject to their shipping policies, like there's so many things that they can do that can affect change in a positive way. If we're going to get eco-friendly, positive changes, it's only gonna come from these bigger companies that are- they might be doing it for money gain and popularity, like they'll get positive press from this, for sure.
But in the end, it's gonna help the environment, it's going to help all these people. I think it's really really cool that Amazon's going out there, there's so many other big corporations that do not have pledges like this and don't take steps to even do simple recycling, versus the extensive steps that we could talk about on the podcast that Amazon's doing. Just from their shipping processes like asking us to ship in more eco-friendly packaging versus other things, it's really exciting that they're able to do these climate pledge things and I'm not sure exactly if they're going to reach that goal, but even if they get 50% there towards their goal, isn't that better? Isn't that a good, positive environmental change? So that's something I think.
Andrea: I think it's really setting the standard for corporate responsibility, right? The idea is that us as consumers, we can avoid using straws and plastic packaging and stuff like that, but ultimately it comes down to these big companies that are fulfilling the demand for these products. If they can sort've put a stop or put boundaries on what they are and aren't willing to accept for the betterment of their company and the world, I feel like it definitely sets the tone for the rest of the world to follow, 'cause then we have no choice as consumers to buy these products.
Michael: Absolutely, a great example is just in the delivery vehicles themselves. Imagine how many hundreds of thousands of cars and vehicles have been used to deliver Amazon packages and competitor packages around the world. It's cool that as part of their Climate change Pledge, they really wanted to say "we are going to be 100% renewable by 2040", and part of that is purchasing over 100,000 electric vehicles. We always know, since Tesla and all these other companies have been pushing it. But no big companies are out there saying "we're gonna build all of our vehicles to be electric", and I think it's good for them because they save money, gas, in the long run I'm sure they have a lot cheaper electric prices than the average company, but it's also good because now the environment is not have 100,000 vehicles constantly out there. Maybe FedEx, maybe UPS is now gonna have to say, "Shit! Should we maybe try to be more eco-friendly?" It's amazing, I think it's really cool that they're able to, I mean, their goal is to net-zero carbon by 2040, across all aspects of business and I don't know exactly what is involved in that, but can you imagine?
Andrea: It's a big reform, yeah.
Michael: Millions of people and all the reform that it's gonna take so it's good on Amazon for doing that.
Andrea: And I think one of the cool parts about that is, you can only imagine how much shipping waste goes into the stuff that Amazon, even just receiving, repackaging, and fulfilling to customers. So one part of that pledge is they have, what they're calling, is Shipment Zero, and their goal is to deliver 50% of Amazon shipments with a net-zero Carbon by 2030. So that means that they operations they use to deliver will be net-zero Carbon, from the centre where they fulfill it to where the item is picked, the materials, transportation, all that stuff is essentially going to cut down in all the resources needed. I feel like that's huge because you can only imagine, even after Covid, how many people have been receiving packages and just throwing out the cardboard.
Michael: Absolutely, I mean, just a stat here that I see, it says in 2019 alone, Amazon generated an estimated 465 millions pounds, or 211 million kilograms of plastic packaging. A lot of this does not get reused or upcycled in any way, it's just landfill, garbage and it's causing pollution. And so, for them to be able to say, "let's take the lead and try to do more eco-friendly shipping processes," if not them, who else is gonna do it?
Andrea: Right, and then we actually go ourselves a sample, right? Of the new recyclable padded mailers.
Michael: It came in just a random order one of us ordered.
Andrea: So these mailers they started making in 2019, we honestly think it's weird to talk about packaging obviously, but I think it's intuitively valuable in principle, so yeah what do you think, Michael? Like holding it, thoughts? Opinions?
Michael: I think it's amazing, so it's basically like a padded envelope completely made out of cardboard. And they're able to somehow trap bubbles of air within, and so I just think it's such a- like there's a little ASMR.
Andrea: Crinkle action.
Michael: It's actually really protective and I think it's more protective than the previous bubblewrap ones we saw and I think, definitely this is even flatter so they can store it flatter and that means their storage costs and transportation costs can be so more effective but then it still has the same integrity I can definitely see this being 100% recyclable I think it's amazing. It even says here, it says "howtorecycle.info" so it even like-
Andrea: Tells you how to separate it if you need to and stuff
Michael: It explains more processes about the recycling and maybe even how it's made and everything and I'm sure they have different sizes so this is the future you know? Whether it's Amazon or other companies, people are not gonna, eventually, use non-recyclable packaging and clam-shell packaging and all this other packaging that they have is so crazy and old-school, that we're gonna laugh in the future, "why did we even do this?"
Andrea: Right, so Amazon's goal is to replace the use of all their mixed-paper and plastic mailers by the end of 2022, so, I think it's cool 'cause they're essentially setting the standard for what other people should follow, you know, like even here we have our mailers and stuff like that, and I'd love to imagine that we can get our hands on these, Amazon will make it become more widely available to retailers and eCommerce and stuff like that.
Michael: I know the packaging we have is 100% recyclable, but, can we make it more sustainable? Can we improve? Absolutely, and I definitely think this is a great example on how we can-
Andrea: - it's like raising the bar.
Michael: There's so many ways to just continually raise the bar, you know just a small example, is Amazon had their own programming that they started called Amazon Frustration Free Packaging. One of things that people want is it has to be 100% curb-side recyclable. So many times you buy stuff on Amazon, with these cheap, plastic, clam-shell crap, like the idea is if your product is in clamshell packaging, it's terrible for the environment, it's hard to open, you're adding extra weight to make it maybe look nicer in a retail store, but these are online stores, like this is an online order, you don't need it to be stored in that clearly environmentally-poor way.
Michael: And I just think- so the idea is if you can show Amazon, "Hey, I have this frustration free packaging, it's eco-friendly, it's recyclable and it follows all your policies," they give you a little badge on your listing, and they actually advertise it for you. So, I think that's just another example of how they're pushing small businesses and all the people who sell on their platform to be more eco-friendly. Maybe if all these people using clam-shell packaging stopped, the world would be a better place. That's really cool, it's something that we've always been inspired to do, even when I designed our packaging, it was with the eco-conscious consumer in mind. Can we make it so that our actual boxes are recyclable? Why do we need to have it in clam-shell packaging? And so, just a small example of how Amazon is reducing plastic waste and just garbage overall, I think it's a very admirable thing.
Andrea: It's cool, yeah and I think there's also a bunch of different new, innovative types of packaging that I've seen. Like, mushroom, made out of seaweed, and the corn starch mailers that we saw a couple months ago, I think is really neat. Just the idea that it's biodegradable, it's made from a renewable source, corn, it takes up 0.05% of annual corn crops to make these mailers and they decompose. It's just the idea that people can take things and just sort've reformat that for the more improved alternative, I think it's really interesting but I look forward to seeing what other new types of packaging.
Michael: Yeah! And I know we talked about like, the mushroom clothing and bags and all this stuff like, there are companies out there that we haven't even heard of that are researching ways to make packaging out of mushrooms and packaging out of seaweed, like all these companies are always going to keep improving and one day it'll be like, completely it'll decompose in water or something. Just like our cornstarch packaging peanuts, that are completely made of cornstarch. And so, if you put it in water it completely dissolves in an eco-friendly way, like I saw that and I'm like "I don't care that it's more money, we're using that." Like it's so cool that we can ship in an eco-friendly way like that, yeah absolutely Amazon's pushing the way, I'm sure other companies are also but it's just so cool that Amazon can do this pledge and do these things that "If you don't do these eco-friendly things, get off our platform," you know? And they're taking those cool steps, so they're going above and beyond I guess just like, Buzz Lightyear-
Andrea: To the stars?
Michael: To the stars!
Andrea: To the moon? Yeah
Michael: I think it's amazon to hear just, Jeff Bezos the old CEO of Amazon is now shooting himself into space for some reason.
Michael: I think it's so interesting and yeah, like overall what do you think about it? Just first thoughts, no research, nothing. What is it about billionaires and wanting to shoot themselves into space?
Andrea: I feel like, as a creative you get to the point where life on earth is like- it sounds weird, but you're bigger than life on earth. You know? Like, he's made this billion dollar company, he's donated to charities, he's done a lot of work but to an extent, people realize that there is a lot of value in going above and beyond just our planet and our immediate environments, so. I don't know, I think it's just big thinkers.
Michael: They've always been one to push the edge, even, we will talk about Richard Branson and, but, Richard and Jeff Bezos, all these guys have been pushing the edge of things, like, even when Jeff started Amazon we saw that photo of him handwriting Amazon.com, and to go from that to, like- he's always pushing the envelope and, you're right, they're probably running out of things to like, do here on earth and they're going to be doing these scientific pushes.
Andrea: And I feel like they also maybe like the idea of the lack of limitations they have with space exploration like, you can really- the stars are the limit at that point.
Michael: I heard just separately of this, I heard Elon Musk said like, there's no rules in space, like there's no government who can tell him what to do, and so, that guy in itself is crazy a little bit but I think it would be interesting to see because you know eventually the governments on earth are gonna make government there and it's gonna be rules. I just wish, let's stop building space forces and fight each other and like, let's atleast say "okay, earth if we're gonna kill each other, whatever. Let's not make it space. Stop fighting in space Star Wars was enough."
Andrea: Yes it was for sure, but it is interesting to see what they're doing with it, so.
Michael: Yeah! And I just think it's so amazing how Jeff is now doing Blue Origin which is really like, a privatized space program. The governments haven't really helped them, maybe they've given them a little bit of funding I'm not knowledgeable about it. But, it's a private company and run by private corporations and I think that's a new age of space flight. Being able to see all these companies and even competing against each other, you know you have Blue Origin and Jeff has already planned this for a long time, and it's so cool that a week before Richard Branson's like, "Actually, we're also going to space"
Andrea: The convenience
Michael: How convenient! He's been doing that for over 10 years now and wanting to do it and in interviews he even said, "why am I doing this?" sometimes. Like it's 5 years in and he had no idea at that point, are we really going to get to space? Are we really going to do these crazy ships? I just think it's amazing to see that they're doing it and eventually it will be cheaper for many people and there's also other positives that I'm excited to talk about, but. I just think it's cool of a story to say, so, he's going to be taking his brother, like, Jeff Bezos is physically taking his brother, Mark, which I think is amazing, like that'd be a dream to be able to go to space with your brother. And then he's also selling one seat for $28 million, somebody bid for it, so, that guy better be a billionaire too.
Andrea: Well, we gotta start scraping together our money Michael, I don't know what to say.
Michael: We are going to start a GoFundMe, cause I would love to go in space.
Andrea: Send a filter to space.
Michael: Just secretly put it in the ship somehow, like maybe-
Andrea: That little extra weight just makes or breaks the whole thing
Michael: They're like "We don't know! We calculated to a split pound, why is this extra pound in the back?" So, knock on wood I think it'll be a great space trip for, I mean, while we're filming this now Richard Branson already went and successfully did it and now Jeff is gonna do it in less than 7 days, so it's interesting to see what he's gonna do, but, I know I always think about it and say like, it was Apollo 11 in 1969, when we knew it was possible to get man on the moon, and now private companies are shooting into space in multiple occasions and we're able to get rockets that can launch and land back on earth. I think that's amazing, if the Wright Brothers looked back on what we're actually doing when they tried to fly on the beach and tried to do these things where, I think like- the longest trip was 500 metres or less, like, you could still see them. I think that's amazing to see the differences, they would shit their pants right now, if they were like "Yeah guys, we're actually just shooting about 300 rockets a year into space."
Andrea: "Oh, we're sending a Tesla X Model into the earth's rotation"
Michael: Yeah! Imagine if they just saw a Tesla shooting out into space-
Andrea: With the dummy!
Michael: And that was his Tesla, like his first Tesla he made-
Andrea: He's like "Bye, send it to the moon."
Michael: I think that's so funny, but, it just goes to show the amount of technological progress we're making and I'm proud of us
Andrea: Even just in 50-70 years it's unheard of and I truthfully feel like it does really come from these individuals, if i'm being honest. The government has it's own schedule or prerogative when they're doing space travel but it's people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and stuff that have the resources, the money, the people, they have their own morals and visions with it, and I don't know I just feel like it's showing you that the sky's the limit, basically. It's really inspiring.
Michael: And I loved how, even when Richard Branson went up he said, you know "if we can do this, what else can other people do?" And I do hope it inspires another generation of scientists, of engineers, of people who love science and love technology. We're definitely lacking that, atleast now.
Andrea: And I think one of the things with NASA too is at one point you had to have an engineering degree or something like that to even be an astronaut and now it's not necessarily that, you just need to have a degree and then yearning and the will to want to do it and learn it. It just shows you, we're getting to a point where there's less and less limitations on the human capacity and it's really cool to experience.
Michael: Yeah, and you get to see these companies that are- even 30 years ago, if you're a private company and said I'm gonna shoot rockets into space, land it back on earth and then reuse it again so we can keep using satellites back and forth and you don't have to pay a big rocket at the beginning. They would laugh at that. I'm sure even NASA was like "this is not possible," only imagine what can be possible in 50 years, in 100 years. It also just goes to show how much things change with time and that leads us, I think, to the coolest part of this whole Blue Origins and New Shephard trip. I'm not sure if everybody's heard but, there was a female Air Safety female named Wally Funk. She was the first female Air Safety Investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, she was the first civilian flight instructor at multiple agencies; Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and she was the first female Federal Aviation Inspector and the youngest graduate of the Mercury 13 program. But, what happened Andrea?
Andrea: So for those of you who don't know, Mercury 13 in 1959, 13 American women, as part of a privately funded program, successfully underwent the same physiological screening test as had the astronauts selected by NASA. While these women never actually got to go into space, they were the same women who lobbied the White House and Congress to have women included in the astronaut program.
Michael: So she was actually one of these women in the program, she paved the way for many female astronauts to do what they do today. But, because she was a woman at the time NASA did not approve her to go on and one of the things that was crazy, she was overqualified, she did the same testing the same standards and did it better than the male counterparts at the time. But because of who she was as a gender, she wasn't able to go, so. I just think it's such a cool way for Amazon to now, take a leg up and what Jeff Bezos is doing is he- Wally does not have to pay $28 million, for free she gets to go to space now, which is a lifelong dream of hers. I mean, I don't know, you can't not cry and watch that story.
Andrea: It was emotional, I'm not gonna lie, it was and I feel like especially when she was talking about all the flight hours and all the people she like- no doubt she probably trained people that got into NASA, you know what I mean? So it's-
Michael: She said she flew every single NASA craft, every single- or sorry not every single, like Airspace- all the jets, all the, like everything when she was at the time.
Andrea: It's a nice progression, I feel like in modern society to see a more inclusive Airspace Industry. I know historically, women have been the backbone of space travel because they were considered like, the computational minds at NASA. They would stay at home base, behind the scenes, doing the calculations by hand to ensure that everything in the trip is going smooth. Very seldom did you hear about any of them, it was always about the people on the ship, the people who landed on the moon, all that stuff so I think it's super inspiring I think it's very heartwarming. I'm super happy for her that she got her opportunity and I think it's gonna be really awesome.
Michael: It's amazing to see that if the FAA and NASA aren't gonna change, private companies are gonna force change. What better way to smash the patriarchy than saying, "you know what? Wally's gonna come on the ship with us, I don't care about gender, I don't care about anything before I care about making things right-
Andrea: - and merit, right.
Michael: And she was in tears herself, hugging him. I thought it was really inspiring.
Andrea: As she should be, yeah.
Michael: I guess like, a lot of people will ask, overall, is airspace travel good for the earth? Is it good for the environment? What do you think about that, Andrea?
Andrea: I feel like the average person, is like, "Why the hell are you so worried about going into space when there's obviously issues here?" But, I think that something that people need to realize is that a lot of scientific advances come from space exploration, have been brought back to earth to improve our living conditions. One example of this is how they using Carbon capture processes to make sustainable oil. So the idea is that when people are up in space, there's waste products that are produced over however many days or months that they're up there. They essentially created a process that takes these waste products and turns them into breathable air, clean water, and food. So they basically mix the CO2 and like a bunch of other ingredients in this vat, and then there's gases that are consumed by the microorganisms which grow and produce proteins and oils. These proteins use up the waste products and then the process is more efficient than traditional agriculture. So the idea is that it requires less land and water and it can help us create crops that feed people. And so, it shows that- have you seen the Martian? With Matt Damon?
Andrea: Yes, do you remember when he went up and he was going the potato thing and stuff like that, like that's the idea, is that he can take waste- in a weird way it's similar, like you take waste- human waste that's otherwise good for nothing-
Michael: And would weigh something, it's just a burden.
Andrea: Yeah you can eliminate it and make something out of it. So it's just idea, 'cause obviously food consumption is gonna be a big issue in the world as the population increases. But, I really do think that space exploration is so important for population management, climate control, communications- like satellites in the world, stuff like that is why we have Wifi, and watch TV. It really revolutionized the way we work as a society and I feel like people should, "Go Space Exploration!" You know what I mean? It's exciting, I feel like people should be pumped about it.
Michael: That's a really cool example of how people are able to use technology that was learned from NASA trips and then use it for our agriculture, using it for our telecommunications, using it like- these kind of scientific discoveries are only possible because of, like you said, hundreds of women scientists, hundreds of male scientists and people on the ground, preparing those experiments and then, there might only be 3 NASA astronauts, or there might only be a couple people, but.
Andrea: That's all you need sometimes!
Michael: I read that they're doing 12 hours of experiments a lot of the times, there's always an experiment going on in our International Space Station. A lot of these technologies will then be brought back and help us here and then even just like, help us one day live on other earths and other societies
Andrea: And I feel like, even in general, a lot of these scientific explorations and understandings happen out of necessity. Like, they're up in space they have to find a way to manage the waste, they have to find a way to have sustainable food. It's also in a way, a reflection of earth, they have to do these things out of necessity, so I feel like it's a more controlled environment, or a different environment that allows us to really look at what's needed and what we need to bring back down here and expand to the rest of the world, but-
Michael: I agree with you, Go Earth!
Andrea: I love earth, I love space. Go space! Go stars! They're doing amazing. I think it's really cool, even with Elon Musk i can't wait to see what he does.
Michael: And I know it sucks that it's only billionaires doing it, but sooner or later, we know it's gonna be down to hundred millionaires, and then millionaires, and then way below it'll be us. And then the average people who sneak their products on the space ship as it goes up, you know? I think that's gonna be the future and it'll be good for everybody. You know the trickle-down effect doesn't work in economics, but it hopefully works in technology and the adaptions that we make and so, I do know there's a lot of real right things to be mad at Amazon about, to be mad about all these billionaires just shooting into space, but, there's also a lot of good and a lot of environmental impacts that can help.
Andrea: So, question. Would you- If I bought you a ticket to space, $28 million-
Andrea: You wouldn't go?
Michael: I would only do it when I'm like 80 or 90. Could you imagine if it blew up? And you paid $20 million? Like that's the worst investment ever.
Andrea: I feel like it's harder on your body when your older though, maybe. But Richard Branson did it.
Michael: I don't even know how old he is, but old. Old enough like, if he died there-
Andrea: In all fairness though, he wasn't in space space, right?
Michael: Yes, that's another big thing is like, he made it to the Carmen Line, but he didn't go over the line of space. So, that's why even a lot of the articles are like, "he made it to the edge of space"
Andrea: It left a lot to be desired.
Michael: It just goes to show, sooner or later the technology will get better and I know Jeff Bezos is actually going up to space, maybe they arranged it so now he can say he's the only billionaire in space.
Andrea: I mean, I don't know, the space race is on! We'll see what happens.
Michael: I'm scared of normal planes, so I don't know-
Andrea: Hitting like, zero-gravity. It's probably really tough on the body. I've seen a lot of videos of astronauts coming back from space and its like, the adjustment that they have to make is hilarious. Because they're in zero-gravity so they're used to just having a cup of water and then letting it go into thin air and it just floats there. And there's clips of astronauts on earth and they're doing an interview and they have a pen, and they just go to throw the pen in the air and it just drops and it takes a second for them to adjust to it-
Michael: That's so funny that they think it's just gonna float and stuff
Andrea: But I think one of the things is like, it's physically demanding because once you get back your muscles atrophy a lot, so it's like, the weight of your body on planet earth, like the gravity and stuff like that, is a hard thing to adjust to. Go Richard Branson, man that's hard.
Michael: Do you have to go in a, I'm not sure if it's an actual chamber that will help them to adjust to it, or do they just go straight from space to- like I think I read that some of, Neil Armstrong, some of those guys had to stay in like a hyperbolic chamber.
Andrea: Yeah, some sort of isolation chamber.
Michael: 'Cause imagine they're bringing back viruses, and diseases.
Andrea: Yeah they have to decontaminate them and stuff.
Michael: That's how all those horror movies start, and they just start poisoning the world with that, I guess? I don't know. I just hope, a) we don't poison space, like it'd be really cool, there's so much space junk. We're gonna do a whole other podcast about space junk-
Andrea: That'd be dope
Michael: and the amount of satellite garbage and stuff like that's totally- we'll plan another podcast for that but, 100% is like, I think one day there's gonna be people littering in space in the same way that people litter here. I just hope that doesn't become a thing, I hope we can learn from our mistakes on earth and not bring those problems and trash into space. That example of Matt Damon is such a good example of, like yeah- these are the changes that need to be if we're gonna be a technologically advanced society.
Andrea: We just need to be less wasteful, I think. Like even with this idea with Elon Musk, the fact that you can reuse that entire portion of the rocket, like land it on earth reuse it, that is tonnes and tonnes of waste that would've gone to garbage. Right? So, people really need to appreciate it-
Michael: You can save money there, and the environment. That's a great combination.
Andrea: So, on the topic of Amazon I know there's probably a lot of listeners who don't sell on Amazon themselves, and don't really know how it works, and I feel like there's a lot of things you can help us debunk as a company that sells on Amazon. So I have some questions
Andrea: So the first question, how am I supporting a small business if I'm buying their product on Amazon?
Michael: It is a great question. Really, many people don't realize it but there are so so many small businesses all over the world, directly selling on Amazon. Amazon is just a giant marketplace for products. There are over 30,000 Canadian-based third-party sellers from all 13 provinces and territories that are actively selling on Amazon.ca. One of the things that's important is there are these people that- you might think it's coming from Amazon but it's actually coming from a small business. Amazon does do a good job at hiding that fact, but the truth is that there are small businesses all around Canada, all around America all around the world that are shipping products to customers as a result of Amazon there. So, yeah it can be a way to support a small business, just like Eco Four Twenty, we have our own Shopify website, but we also have many of our products on Amazon itself, .ca and .com., and so it's a good opportunity to reach new customers that might not have ever heard about.
Andrea: Right, so accessibility, right? Like I'm sure there's a lot of small businesses that wouldn't be able to afford to ship across the country if they're in this small random town, and Amazon really makes that more available.
Michael: The FBA system makes it so much more cheaper and so much more effective to ship because your products will be locally in the area.
Andrea: Right, so on that note. How does Amazon fulfill the orders? How does the shipping process work?
Michael: Basically there's two main shipping processes on Amazon. There's FBA or Fulfilled by Amazon, and then there's FBM, or Fulfilled by Merchant. FBA would be, you buy it directly on Amazon, and the customer buys it and gets it from an Amazon warehouse. This might be an Amazon delivery employee who will get it, but it will be stored in an actual Amazon warehouse. Amazon has, I think, over 70 of them around the U.S., and over 10 across Canada, and these are the ones that would store products from all the different sellers in one central warehouse and then ship it out, depending on- Lets say that someone from Ohio purchases it, if we have filters in Ohio from Amazon FBA warehouse, that place will know "Okay, that's the nearest order for us." So we don't have to ship it all the way across the country, we don't have to waste gas going all the way across the country. It's just a 200 kilometre short trip here for that order. So they're able to actually- and from a seller's perspective, we don't have to pick. Amazon just automatically does it, it knows when a customer places an order, where the nearest FBA warehouse that has one of your products is. So that's all taken care of by Amazon and, in all honesty, is the most eco-friendly way because otherwise from us, we are sending it always from Toronto or always from our U.S. warehouse. But in that sense, it can sometimes be hundreds of kilometres of thousands of kilometres or miles away. Versus Amazon is always making it so it's from the nearby and you get it the fastest and you get it the closest. That is actually, so Amazon FBA is how customers get one and two-day delivery to many major cities in the U.S., and Canada.
Andrea: So that's like Amazon Prime and stuff?
Michael: Yeah, exactly. You just get it immediately. It's really cool how good their logistics has been. But, at the same sense they also have FBM, or Fulfilled by Merchant. What this means is a customer will place an order on Amazon, Amazon is basically telling the third-party seller, you know, Eco Four Twenty, "Hey, you guys got an order. You have to ship it. You have to fulfill it." We get the order, we print the order, and in that sense, we're now mailing it directly to customers. In Canada we use Canada Post, we use Chit Chats, we use Canpar. In the U.S., we use United States Postal Service, and so in that sense it's not Amazon directly getting it. You're getting it hand-picked from Michael and Andrea, or anyone else on our team.
Andrea: Full of love and kisses.
Michael: Yeah, it's just peace and love everywhere. It's able to be from a small business directly to your hands so, people don't see it but you know it's on Amazon and you know its a big corporation, you're supporting small businesses and you're supporting Eco Four Twenty if you buy on Amazon and let us fulfil it for you, and Amazon might take a smaller fee for that. But, either way it's how these smaller businesses will be discovered by customers, you know, we have our own Shopify site but it is truthfully hard to get thousands and millions of people viewing that website, whereas on Amazon, there's a lot more people there that are already actively looking for these products so it really does help to have it everywhere.
Andrea: It really matches the customer with the buyer, I feel like the system is very much so put in place to show you similar products or "you bought from this seller, here's something else you might enjoy", it does a lot of marketing for us which, I feel like is really important, natural like organic marketing basically. So Amazon is a very big proponent for a lot of small businesses.
Michael: And it's good to do all of it. You know? Like we can sell Amazon FBA, and we sell Amazon FBM. So in that sense, we just wanna have all these opportunities to meet our customers and help them in a direct way.
Andrea: It's good to know! Very informative. Okay, so what are some tips that you would give for somebody buying anything on Amazon?
Michael: It is honestly the best question because I'm- not only do we sell on Amazon but I'm constant buyer on Amazon. I regularly buy not only necessities, like some groceries and staple products like soup and stuff 'cause I get great deals there. But, I just love shopping on it. I love that you can look by categories so if you know you want a particular item but you don't know what brand, you don't know what exact- Let's say you want a sleeping bag. You don't know exactly what brand you want, you're not brand loyal to one. Amazon allows you to search by that category which would actually allow you to- I'm gonna compare 3 or 4 items and it really allows you to do that versus if you're on one website it's hard to compare multiple price, quality, threadcount.
Michael: So I would say, search by category is a great example.
Michael: Another thing too is always price check. The prices on Amazon are constantly changing, this is because Amazon and their technology has automated price changes so they can even change their price based on competitors at Walmart, based on people in other online eCommerce sites, they can automatically change their pricing. I think if you're not in a hurry to buy something, it can be helpful to, you know, I save items and I regularly check the listing. Does the price lower? Is it more acceptable to what I want to pay? Only if I'm not in a hurry because you might maybe wait a week or two and the price can drop 5 or 10 dollars.
Andrea: Or the product goes out of stock or something.
Michael: Exactly. Another thing is, there's really cool third-party websites that I like to use that I really enjoy. You can set up notifications for when the price drops, this one is called "camelcamelcamel". But basically you can set a price, you know. Let's say I want the Eco Four Twenty filter, we sell it around $35 in Canada, let's say you want it to be when we get it on a sale at $32. You can set up a notification like that so when we do lower the price, if we have a sale, these people get an email right away and can take advantage of that nice lower price. And so these price checking options are always available.
I guess the third point that I would make is, if there is an item you discover on Amazon, it is possible to find maybe a cheaper price on their direct website.
Michael: A lot of times you can- Let's say, Eco Four Twenty, you discover our filters. If you like the filter enough but you don't want to support Amazon in any way, you can search "Eco Four Twenty.com/.ca" just in Google, and many companies, us included, have coupon codes that we allow people to use on our website that wouldn't be necessarily available on Amazon. So you get that opportunity to even, still get the small business experience, still support that same small business like Eco Four Twenty, but you don't have to help support Amazon in that sense. So, there are always these options about what you can do, and I think we're happy to get a customer on Amazon and happy to get a customer on Eco Four Twenty our own website just the same and we'll treat the same customer with love and respect and everything. In the end, the best prices are not always the best products. I really think you get what you pay for, you know if you want cheap plastic, crap filters, they're out there they have clam-shell packaging they have these shitty filters out there. But you get what you pay for, if you want high-quality aluminum, if you want a good product, I feel like you do have to pay a bit of a premium for that. It costs money to design it, it costs money to make an aluminum filter, for example. Especially materials, you can find a lot of times if a product is cheaper, is the materials, is the ingredients less? Is it different? Are they using lesser ingredients to make it? These are always things that a company and a customer should look into when buying something. It's not always just about price it's about value, compared to the actual product you're gonna get.
I know our products are a bit more expensive than some of our competitors, but I guarantee you they are 100x better and they're gonna last longer, and they're gonna be more eco-friendly in the long term and even cheaper in the long-term because of our replacement system. But that upfront purchase, would be more expensive, and so it's just something to keep in mind, you really truly get what you pay for.
Andrea; Right, so some considerations, I guess, for everyone when they're shopping on Amazon. It's just important to do your diligence when you're buying a product and what are your expectations of it, but I feel like all in all, Amazon is always my go-to to find an item. Like seldom can I find something in a store that I can't find on Amazon, so some really cool tips. I really appreciate it, from the Amazon Master himself-
Michael: Oh no, don't say that. Maybe Amazon Amateur? I don't know.
Andrea: Yeah, maybe next CEO.
Michael: I mean, all they have to do is send a hundred other people into space first, all of those have to crash and then maybe they'll be like "Let's get Michael to be the CEO"
Andrea: You will be next in line, absolutely.
Michael: Definitely the 25,000th in line I think.
Andrea: I love that.
Michael: Well, thank you so much everyone for tuning in to another episode of the All Green Podcast, you know we absolutely love doing this show for our awesome listeners and we really just don't want to let down Matthew McConaughey, so, I think that's an important thing for us so Matthew if you're out there still listening, we love u-
Andrea: We love you, Matthew.
Michael: Come on, connect with us. So, check us out www.ecofourtwenty.com, check us out www.ecofourtwenty.ca, our handles are just @ecofourtwenty. We're on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Grandfather's Facebook, you know, we're everywhere so, thank you so much for helping us make the world a greener place, one podcast at a time.