why does online shopping = wasteful packaging?

I am an all-around shopping minimalist, but I live with a prolific online shopper who asserts that it’s better than driving to the store.  This is debatable, especially since we live within walking distance of some of the discount stores he frequents online.

But shopping online is not my beef, since I know it can be useful, and it won’t go away.

What I can’t stand is wasteful packaging.

This arrived from Buy.com.  Why does one package containing two squid-like powerstrips* have to come in such a huge box?  WHY?

(* Yes, the squids have a master switch for easy power down for overnight or extended-absence power savings.)

The PowerSquids are hardly fragile items. You should have seen the amount of paper scrunched in the box.  We folded it up to save for future shipping needs and put the box out for recycling because we don’t have any immediate need for it.

This kind of waste must be costly for the company, when you multiply such cases by the volume they push through.  In this case, it was Buy.com, but they aren’t the only ones with wasteful or problematic packaging examples:

So even while the shipping companies DHL are greening their operations, and companies are making strides for better shipping, including Amazon.com, chances are such wasteful packaging practices will continue.  (Even with the economic downturn, you know lots of air and paper and cardboard will be transported all over the country.)

So, some thoughts on Everyday Sustainable choices to reduce wasteful shopping:

  • Buy local.  Walk, ride your bike, public transit or include in a car(pool) outing that hits some other errands along the way.
  • Shop for more than one item from the same store, to minimize extra shipping. Best to confirm that things will ship together.
  • Find companies that you know have good shipping policies, or even a radical packaging philosophy, like the LUSH “Go Naked” campaign

What online shopping stores have a good (and effective) packaging/shipping policy?  Please leave a comment!

This entry was posted in environment, everyday, local, shopping, sustainable, transportation, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to why does online shopping = wasteful packaging?

  1. Jay Kilby says:

    You can sign a petition asking Hewlett-Packard to reduce wasteful packaging at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/10/campaign-to-reduce-package-waste

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