Monday, 04 May 2009 23:31

Online shopping: packaging

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I have to order a lot of items for work, and often I need to buy them online. Some people say buying online is more eco-friendly than driving to buy a product, especially if it's far away (wasting gas). It seems like it's a thin line, but since companies like USPS, UPS, and FedEx are out anyways (especially if you are in a busy area) you might as well have them drop off a package. It's also better to have products shipped ground, instead of an expedited method that will require a plane.
Anyways, my new fixation is on packaging. I decided to start keeping track of how companies ship their products. I do a lot of ordering via Amazon, but usually it's through one of their vendors. Today I received 2 packages. One package had one small item inside, and the other had 4 items. Believe it or not, the first package was large enough for the second package to fit inside, even though the first package only had one item inside! I decided to email the company, Skin Care RX and express my concern over the environmental impact of using such large packaging for a small item. They wrote back: "Are shipping department only has one size box that they use if possible please recycle the box if posible" Clearly they don't have excellent grammar, nor do they care that they have now lost my business. (And of course I will recycle the box - that's not the point). Not to mention there were a ton of catalogues and flyers in the box as well - I can find all of that info on their website, which is how I ordered from them in the first place.

On the other hand, I would like to commend Brand Vitamin Discounters for their nice use of packaging.

Please consider this next time you order online, and join me in writing companies to express your dissatisfaction with their packaging - maybe together we can make a change.

UPDATE: I just received a third package (told you I order a lot) and I had to mention this one from Good Health Natural Products as well. Not only was the box a perfect size for the contents, but they used shredded paper as stuffing/packing.

I received a very nice email from Good Health after writing this post:
"Many of our products have a huge vegan following. We try to keep in mind when developing a snack product that some people do not want dairy products in the seasoning so we always make sure we have a flavor or two that are dairy free.
Every day we try to look at ways that we can become more eco-friendly. We're taking steps to make changes like new biodegradable and recyclable packaging on our soaps and opening an East and West coast warehouse to make our carbon footprint smaller. Within the next six months our vegetable oil soaps will switch to a natural sodium gluconate base that is truly 100% biodegradable in the environment. We realize we have a long way to go but we are getting a little closer every
day."
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