How to Reduce Packaging Waste in Amazon Orders

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We can order almost anything online now — home goods, entertainment, even groceries are only a click away, shipping the packages straight to our doorsteps. And if you’re like most people in America, you enjoy the speed and convenience of ordering products online.

Many people might even call themselves Amazon addicts; the mega online retailer shipped more than 5 billion items worldwide in 2017 through Amazon Prime alone.

But when you open your box of goodies, you may be dismayed to find it filled with plastic air pillows, bubble wrap, and other packaging and padding materials. For the green-minded consumer, Amazon packaging can be unsightly and, for some, it’s a reason not to shop there.

It turns out, an eco-friendly Amazon solution is easier than you think.

Reach Out

Those concerned about the packaging in their orders can email Amazon’s customer service team at cs-reply@amazon.com to request minimal plastic packaging inside their orders. Customer service will add a note to your Amazon account so employees can note your packaging preference when fulfilling your Amazon orders in the future.

Here’s an example email you can use to ask Amazon to reduce waste in your orders:

Hi,

My name is _________. The email address attached to my Amazon account is __________.

I’m requesting that Amazon use minimal packaging in all of my future orders. Please note on my account to avoid plastic packaging like bubble wrap and plastic air pillows when fulfilling my orders.

Thank you!

Amazon will respond within a day of receiving your message to let you know they’ve added a note to your account.

Cardboard shipping box with plastic bags and various wrappings

Does your favorite online retailer use more packing materials than needed? Let them know your preference to eliminate unnecessary packaging. Photo: Adobe Stock

Give Them Feedback

It’s important to keep an eye on your orders following this change to ensure that Amazon is, in fact, limiting packaging. Even with a note on your account, the packaging is ultimately up to individual warehouses and packers.

After each order, take note of what was inside your Amazon package. Was the box too large, leaving empty space and wasteful fillers?

Whether you see an improvement or there was still too much plastic, let Amazon know how they’re doing. By providing feedback, you can help ensure that they heed your request or, better yet, change their processes to reduce unnecessary packaging for all. Satisfying customers is their goal, after all.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

If reducing the amount of packaging in your Amazon order isn’t on your to-do list, you can still be a satisfied environmentalist knowing all of Amazon’s packaging is recyclable. Materials may not be accepted by your curbside recycling program, so jump to Earth911 Recycling Search to find out where you can take yours.

The company says they have developed a software program to determine the appropriately sized packaging for any given item to be shipped to a customer, based on the item’s dimensions and weight.

“As a result, the number of packages shipped with excess packaging has decreased dramatically,” Amazon’s customer service team told Earth911. “In fact, many of our items are being shipped in no-air packaging, meaning the packaging is small enough to enclose the items securely using the least amount of materials possible.”

Amazon also lists products with “frustration-free packaging.” Amazon Certified Frustration-Free Packaging is recyclable and often comes without excess packaging materials. Look for items certified as “frustration-free” in the title or item description box.

By asking Amazon to avoid excess packaging in your orders and opting for Certified Frustration-Free Packaging, you can help reduce your Amazon shipping waste significantly.

Do you shop with other online retailers? Let them know about your preferences for less packaging, too!

Feature image courtesy of josemiguels on Pixabay

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Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren has a B.S. in environmental science, a crafting addiction, and a love for all things Pacific Northwest. She writes from her cozy downtown apartment tucked in the very northwestern corner of the continental U.S. Lauren spends her time writing and focusing on a healthy, simple and sustainable lifestyle.
Lauren Murphy