Reduce your Amazon Packaging in 10 Seconds
6 Minute Read.
You know that feeling —> You just got home and your Amazon package has arrived! You slice open the box with burning excitement to get your product, and you see a mass of plastic air pillows engulfing your itty-bitty product. We all love online shopping, but the packaging that comes with it can often be overkill.
After reflecting upon my own actions, I realized it was so easy for me to complain about the packaging without taking any responsibility for it. After all, I was the one who placed the order. Had I contacted them to let them know their packaging was wasteful? No. So how were they supposed to know if people, as eco-conscious as me, weren’t giving them feedback? And why would they change their practices if we don’t tell them that minimal, eco-friendly packaging is important to us?
Between the packaging, the transportation fuel, and their ability to get orders to customers within a few hours, there’s no denying that Amazon has a huge carbon footprint. The fact is: online shopping requires massive amounts of energy and resources, but there are several things that we as consumers can do to minimize that footprint. Here are 3 INSANELY EASY ways to reduce your packaging waste from Amazon. OK, so the first one is more of a hopeful request, but the second two are very easy to implement and will reduce the amount of waste created by your orders.
What can I do to make my Amazon orders more eco-friendly?
1. Contact Amazon: Tell them you want less packaging
You can ask their customer service department to avoid excess packaging when shipping your orders. In true Mama Eco fashion, I’ve made this super easy for you. All you have to do is enter your name and email below, and hit submit. Your email request will go directly to amazon, and they will respond directly to you (usually within 6 hours).
It’s ultimately up to Amazon’s fulfillment center to abide by your request, but it is important to let Amazon know that their packaging is wasteful and that people demand a more environmentally responsible alternative. I see this as exercising our consumer rights, and the more people who make this request, the more they will realize that it is important to their customer base and can essentially affect their profitability.
Enter your info here to request minimal packaging from Amazon:
2. Feedback. Feedback. Feedback.
Once you’ve received an order, you can give Amazon feedback about their packaging. If it was excessive, let them know. If they did a good job, still let them know. Either way, you are helping to improve their sustainability model and reduce their carbon footprint (as well as your own).
It used to be super simple to give them feedback on specific packages, but they recently removed that feature for some reason. You can still easily contact them at email@example.com and let them know what you thought of their packaging.
Here is a recent order I received from Amazon. After opening the package, I contacted Amazon and told them where their packaging was great, and where I thought they could improve.
3. Opt for Frustration-Free Packaging
Amazon has an option for Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP), which means that your order will arrive in easy-to-open, recyclable packaging without any of those “hard plastic ‘clamshell’ cases . . . [or] plastic-coated wire ties” (Amazon). Currently, they have about 750,000 products available with FFP, so even though they haven’t rolled it out site-wide, there’s still a significant amount of products available under this option. There are 2 ways to utilize frustration-free packaging:
Add “frustration free packaging” into the search field:
Look out for frustration-free packaging on the product page:
*it will either show it in the title
*or in the shipping details
In case you’re wondering if doing any of the above actually make a difference, let’s hear from someone who has successfully and significantly lowered her Amazon packaging waste. Shelbi is an aspiring zero-waster who uses Amazon as a way to source sustainable products that she can’t find locally. Since contacting amazon AND utilizing the above tools to minimize the packaging she gets from them, she has noticed a significant decrease in plastic fillers and overall packaging (despite experiencing the occasional plastic air pillow). “I use Amazon to buy things I can’t otherwise find in stores [like bamboo toothbrushes] . . . and it has definitely saved me a lot of plastic waste, time, and fuel, [which collectively] cuts down on my carbon emissions.” – Shelbi (a.k.a. Shelbizleee on YouTube) – FYI: her YouTube page has a ton of videos on lowering your waste.
Moving forward, if one of these suckers ends up in your Amazon delivery, you can visit How2Recycle.info, which is an online resource for learning about which plastics are recyclable and where your local drop off locations are. They might be nearer than you think! You can also drop it off at a local grocery (if they collect them, there is usually a dropoff bin at the entrance).
At the end of the day, online shopping isn’t going anywhere, so we need to create the most sustainable model possible. In 2016, there were over 310 million active Amazon accounts (Statista). Imagine if even 0.0001% of those people contacted Amazon to give them feedback about their packaging practices. Who knows . . . maybe our feedback will encourage Amazon to introduce carbon-neutral shipping. Fingers crossed!
In preparation for this blog post, I researched Amazon’s practices and initiatives, and the company is trying to better their efforts towards sustainability. They currently have 18 wind and solar farms throughout the USA with over 35 more projects in the works, and according to Kara Hurst, Amazon’s Worldwide Director of Sustainability, these initiatives are all working towards their longterm goal of powering their “global infrastructure [with] 100% renewable energy.”
Instead of criticizing Amazon, which doesn’t benefit anyone, I am choosing to communicate with them, to work with them, and to help them be better for the planet. To find out more about Amazon’s sustainability practices, click here.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions or comments, you can post a comment below.