How to Instantly Reduce your Amazon Packaging
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 5 ways to reduce your packaging waste from Amazon. OK, so the first one is more of a hopeful request, but the others are very easy to implement, will reduce the amount of waste created by your orders, and lower the carbon footprint of your deliveries.
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 to abide by your request, but it’s important to let them 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 of us who make this request, the more they will realize that it’s important to their customer base and can essentially affect their profitability.
Enter your info here to request minimal packaging from Amazon:
2. 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 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 for frustration-free packaging on the product page:
*it will either show it in the title
*or in the shipping details
*or it will give you the option
3. Group Your Orders Together
If you’re ordering multiple items, when you get to the shipping page, Amazon gives you the option to group your items in fewer deliveries. This not only reduces the amount of boxes and packaging needed for your orders, it also reduces the amount of planes and trucks involved in getting them to you. This reduces their use of fossil fuels and lowers their carbon footprint. Indirectly, it also reduces your carbon footprint since you’re reason behind those deliveries.
4. Choose No-Rush Shipping
This one doesn’t affect the amount of packaging you receive, but it majorly affects your carbon footprint. Unless you have this burning sensation in your crotch that needs to be relieved immediately, you probably don’t need same-day delivery for your wheatgrass powder or post-it notes. I know its free with your Amazon Prime membership, but getting all your deliveries within 24 hours of ordering them means there a bunch of half-empty planes and trucks all over the place. But if you choose no-rush shipping, Amazon can efficiently pack all of their vehicles to capacity. This decreases the amount of deliveries they make, lowering their use of fuel. And Amazon often gives you a cash back reward for choosing the slower option.
5. Feedback. Feedback. Feedback.
Once you’ve received an order, 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’re helping to improve their sustainability 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’ve removed that feature for some reason. You can still leave feedback via their Contact Page 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.
In case you’re wondering if doing any of the above actually make a difference, let’s hear from someone who has successfully 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’s noticed a 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]. 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 for 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’s usually a 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!
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions or comments, you can post a comment below.