As you may know, tomorrow (April 22nd) is Earth Day. Living in Seattle, it’s easy to find ways to get outside and soak in nature (beaches, mountains, trails galore). But today I thought I would share a couple of Amazon’s innovations that are helping by reducing and re-using packaging. I’ve used both of these innovations in the last week (and do regularly). And I’ll continue to do so until more sustainable long-term options are available (like maybe packaging free delivery or bins a’ la Amazon Fresh).
Give Back Box
Amazon is partnering with Give Back Box to give you an opportunity to re-use your Amazon boxes and to make donating easier for you. Fill your Amazon box with items you would like to donate, print out a free shipping label and click a checkbox to arrange for pickup by UPS or the postal service.
I’m a bit of a neatnik and a KonMari advocate. So since the program was announced, I’ve been challenging myself to fill each Amazon box I receive (and to be clear, that’s several a week) with items for donation. All items need to be clean and suitable for re-use (think: things you would see on sale at a Goodwill store). But this program has actually gotten me to part with a large volume of “maybe I will use that one day” items. When I receive an Amazon delivery, I just leave my box by the door and toss in things I find around the house that I don’t need anymore. Let me tell you, it feels great.
You get the satisfaction of helping people, don’t have to store and deliver your donation items, and you have less cardboard to haul out to the curb on recycling day.
Every time I think of Frustration-Free Packaging, I mentally shout “no more clamshells!”. F-FP is standard for some products and an option on many other product detail pages, allowing you to opt for packaging that is 100% recyclable and easy to open. Often, it means that items will be shipped in their original boxes (you can opt to have it shipped in an Amazon box if it’s a gift). Items come without unnecessary air pillows or outer boxes. No clamshells, no twist ties, no frustration. Chances are you have received an Amazon order that uses Frustration-Free Packaging without even knowing it.
Frustration-Free Packaging has been around since 2008; the program launched by providing more customer (and environment) friendly packing on the 19 worst offenders when it comes to wrap rage; the kinds of products where home consumers got to look for garden sheers because their scissors weren’t strong enough and then prove that you really can make yourself bleed with plastic retail packaging.
All of our new packaging solutions are lab-tested to ensure product still reach their final destination safely. Since launch, the program has eliminated over 100 million pounds (you read that right) of excess packaging. By the way, we also have a packaging feedback program so if you still find something that’s frustrating or your item doesn’t arrive as expected, you can let the packaging team know.
So maybe for Earth Day, you’ll be inspired to do a little donating via Give Back Box and you’ll know to select Frustration-Free Packaging as an option when you see it.
If you're interested in more info on Amazon's sustainable packaging efforts, see this interview with Brent Nelson, Amazon's Senior Manager of Customer Packaging Experience.