December 15, 2014

I got a parcel from Amazon the other day. It was a small packet of dye remover, about the size of the palm of my hand and it could’ve fitted inside a standard envelope. The packet had its own packaging and the contents weren’t fragile.

So why did Amazon choose to mail it in a small box, surrounded by ‘air bag’ protectors? All that does is add to the volume and space taken up in cargo freight aircraft holds, add to postage/shipping costs (on Amazon’s behalf — I had free postage on this item), and potentially add to landfill if the cardboard box and plastic bags filled with air aren’t or can’t be recycled.

There were further costs too. This box also wouldn’t fit in my post office box, so I had to go inside the post office when it was open, wait in line with my little red card, and then someone had to spend time looking for the parcel. While this was perhaps a combined 5 minutes, I was just one customer. Multiply that by everyone else who has to do the same thing and the costs start to mount up. Then there are the labour costs of those who put this item in the box and added the air bags and then sealed it.

This overpackaging is just ludicrous — and terribly wasteful of time and resources.




Update 28 December 2017: I saw this on Twitter today. No idea if it’s true or not, but it does explain the large boxes used for packaging small items:


See also: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/no-wonder-the-world-has-a-plastic-problem/


One comment

  1. A great read Rhonda. Well done on highlighting that the life cycle implications of excess packaging are not only ludicrous from an environmental perspective, but also incredibly wasteful from an economic point of view.

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