First, let me say I am not an Amazon hater. In fact, I love their service, I am amazed by their company’s success and our household, like many other families, probably orders something from Amazon at least once a week.
I am however a hater of wasted resources, wasted space, and wasted money when it comes to e-commerce packaging, especially when the guilty party is someone who claims to be a leader in the protection of our environment.
An example of what sustainable packaging is NOT!
Check out the attached photographs. The item my daughter ordered is a fish breeding stone (don’t ask me what that is) which is cone shaped and measures approximately 9” X 4-1/2” diameter at the widest point. However, the box it arrived in was 14-1/2” Long X 8” wide X 7-1/2” high.
The box is obviously oversized for the product being shipped, and I understand for a company like Amazon with a wide assortment of products and sizes, it is a challenge to properly fit every item being shipped. I get that. However, in this case, the product is 182 square inches (even less due to its cone shape) and the box used is 870 square inches. In other words, the box is over four times larger than it should be!
What I also found ironic is the eight 4” X 7” air-filled pillows that were supposed to provide some cushioning. They were not nearly sufficient to fill the void created by the oversized box, and also created a different environmental problem – disposal of the air pillows. They are supposedly recyclable at the retail store level if you evacuate the air and take them to one of those locations accepting plastic bags.
Amazon packaging versus Your e-commerce packaging
I am not sure what Amazon is able or willing to do to correct or eliminate situations like this example I have shown you. But this post is not really written for Amazon; it is written for you, the many small to midsize companies that ship out orders every day. Above I listed three types of waste that I hate seeing in e-commerce packaging. Some are obvious, and some types of waste that many people don’t even consider or realize:
Wasted Packaging Resources – obviously the larger the box, the more corrugated board that is required. Not so obvious is the water that is used to produce that board and the fuel/energy consumed in production and shipping this oversized product.
Wasted Space for Shipping in and out – USPS, UPS, and FedEx all factor in the box dimensions (LxWxH) to determine their dimensional shipping rates. The more space your package consumes in the truck or airplane, the more they will charge you to ship it. I don’t necessarily disagree with that, and it should encourage right-sizing to the smallest possible container. Maybe Amazon does not have to worry about dimensional tier rates, because they have negotiated pricing that you and I will never see. However, oversizing any package can bump you to the next tier, and that can add two dollars or more to your shipping cost.
Don’t forget these same boxes have an inbound freight cost as well. The larger the box, the fewer that can be stacked on a pallet, and the more pallets are required. Someone is paying for that as well and that someone is probably you. Keep in mind even “free delivery” is built into most pricing for packaging.
Wasted Money – In addition to the in/out shipping cost detailed above, let’s not forget about handling, storage, and inventory costs. Many of our customers utilize fulfillment operations and most of them charge per pallet for storage and handling. It is always in your best interest to use the smallest box you can to ship your products to your customers.
For the last eleven years, we have made millions of subscription and e-commerce D2C boxes for thousands of customers. Our objective has always been the same – create an attractive box that delivers the product being shipped safely at the lowest possible overall cost. Visit our gallery to see a few of the customers whose trust we have earned.
Contact us via email at www.SalazarPackaging.com or call us at 630-551-1700. One of our branded packaging specialists will be glad to review your specific application and needs.