Ponderables: Why Must Amazon Ship Air All Over The United States of America?

Reader Marc would like Amazon to stop shipping bubbles of air all over the country. He ordered two items that would have been fine to ship in an envelope — but instead he got the usual large box with several air bubbles. This makes Marc mad.

Marc says:

They could have double padded-enveloped the items and they would have been better protected than shifting around in that huge box, under those plastic air pillows (What the heck is up with those air pillows anyways? They don’t do jack). How about getting one of those huge brains over there on the task of figuring out how much more gasoline/diesel and packaging material is wasted because Amazon insists on shipping air around the country for no good reason at all. I am talking about how much is wasted because additional trucks and delivery drivers are needed to transport boxes of air all around the country.

Maybe if they are called out a little more on the environmental damage and waste they are causing, some numb-skull at Amazon should be able to grasp that they are not making any sense at all. No matter what, they need to be made aware that anything but sending things in appropriate packaging is a dumb excuse!

It is kind of sad to think of all the air that Amazon is shipping, and here at Consumerist we get tons of complaints about it — far too many to post them all.

What do you think? Is this a serious problem?


Comments

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  1. TheBusDriver says:

    think of the jobs it creates. This is part of Obama’s plan to save the US.

    • Jared Pointer says:

      @TheBusDriver: Absolutely. If Amazon quit doing this and laid off a lot of their workforce, the same people complaining about the shipping would then be complaining about the job losses.

      • TheBusDriver says:

        @Jared Pointer: And the person who made the air bubbles, and the person who made the ink that they print on the air bubbles, and the guy who made the printer to use the ink to print on the air bubbles….Wow. The entire country could go under. I think it is our duty to all purchase small items from Amazon just to keep these hardworking folks employed.

      • alexawesome says:

        @Jared Pointer: Um, no. I fail to see how putting air and little products in a box is more intensive than putting stuff in an envelope. Part of why this is so silly is because it’s about the same amount of effort and time.

      • TouchMyMonkey says:

        @Jared Pointer: Who would get laid off if they had to use appropriate-sized shipping containers? Please tell us, and try not to be ridiculous.

        • Jared Pointer says:

          @HurtsSoGood: Wow, lots of you guys take this internettin’ business pretty seriously. I did not know I had to preface my post with the definition of what sarcasm is and how it is used.

          But seriously, think of all the people who would be out of a job if the factory that made the air bubbles went out of business.

          And really seriously, many of you folks need things to do if you really are getting riled up about how amazon ships their stuff. Whah whah. I’ll hug the next tree I see just for you guys.

          • headcase says:

            @Jared Pointer: “I did not know I had to preface my post with the definition of what sarcasm is and how it is used.”

            Well, let this be your lesson then. There are posters on the internet with an IQ lower than a bag of bricks. They will make posts exactly like yours except seriously. And on the internet we can’t hear your tone. Add an emoticon, bake in the word “surely”… something.

            Admittedly, this site has less problems than most for posts that should be sarcastic but aren’t, so if you’re going to make subtle sarcasm, it might as well be here.

        • rpm773 says:

          @HurtsSoGood: People who work for the company that makes the airbags? The people who work for the company that supplies the airbag company with the unrefined plastic?

    • Skunky says:

      @TheBusDriver: I knew his plan for the economy was just a bunch of hot air, but I didn’t think it was literally a bunch of hot air!

  2. theirishscion says:

    I just got two books in the mail from Amazon yesterday, small cheap paperbacks that could have both fit in the same padded envelope, but which were both shipped in quite a substantial cardboard box. I have to assume there’s some economy of scale here we’re not seeing, perhaps if they keep all their small packages in regular standardized stackable sizes, the shipping companies give the a break on the cost or something. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me but I have to assume that shipping a padded mailer is cheaper than a big ‘ol cardboard box, mostly filled with airbags.

    • ludwigk says:

      @theirishscion: I got a book recently from Amazon. It was packed in this super-efficient folded cardboard sleeve that sort of wrapped around, and created a natural suspension structure around the book. It was really neat, and extremely efficient. I recycled it.

      Padded envelope for a book? People would complain of book damage. They want their new books to arrive in pristine condition, and it is much easier to achieve this in a box.

    • MonkeyButt says:

      @theirishscion: You say that now but wait until a book is shipped to you in a padded mailer with a deep cut half way through the middle caused by a machine. 4 more inches and I would have had two halves of one book.

  3. Canino says:

    This makes Marc mad.

    Jeez, lighten up. It isn’t like they shipped the items packed in spotted owl feathers.

  4. Plates says:

    I stopped dealing with Amazon after they sent me some damaged books and having to deal with South Asians who the Amazon management thinks are people your average American can understand.

    • PHRoG says:

      @Plates: Wow…I’ve never once gotten a non-us rep and they have always been very quick to resolve any problems I’ve had…Now, finding their 800 number several years back was nearly impossible.

      One such situation is I ordered a brand new camcorder about a week before my son was born (wife was being induced on a certain date…4th of July, YAY!)

      Anyway, it arrived damaged, the did not have any more in stock…They upgraded me to the next model up, free of charge (next model camcorder was about $400 more) AND over-nighted it to me.

    • HooFoot says:

      @Plates: I’ve never had problems with Amazon’s South Asian reps. They have all spoken very clearly and quite friendly. I much prefer talking to them over a generic Indian call center.

  5. bnelson333 says:

    It probably comes down to labor costs. If they streamline the process and make it so the guy at the warehouse doesn’t have to figure out the most efficient packaging, they save probably a minute or two per transaction. But multiplied across millions of transactions, it probably makes up for the material costs.

    Although the last time I ordered some books from Amazon they did come in a hardboard sleeve, but everything else comes in a box with air bubbles.

    • Papercutninja says:

      @bnelson333:

      Absolutely. It’s much faster to have a efficient packging standard, rather than have the warehouse guy play tetris with every order. I would imagine that the impact on the environment is minimal, especially since the padded envelopes may be more expensive/take more resources to manufacture.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Let’s take a step back here and think about this:

    First, the air pillows were created in response to environmentalist complaints about foam peanuts. Empty bags of air – even empty bags made of plastic – are a HUGE step forward from foam packaging.

    Second, I guarantee you they’ve done a cost-benefit analysis on this and arrived at the conclusion that the rate of damage in this shipping is smaller than that on double-padded envelopes, and thus this is a cheaper method to ship. This means that we, the consumers, get A) cheaper access to goods, and B) fewer broken items delivered to us. As an extension to point B, this means that we have fewer return shipments (and fewer replacement shipments), saving on fuel and personnel cost.

    Third, let’s also remember that the cardboard box is RECYCLABLE. No, recycling isn’t free (in terms of cost, pollution, resources, or anything else), but it’s not like all this excess packaging is going straight into the landfill.

    And you know what? If it gets my cheaper USB drive here faster with a smaller chance of breakage, I’m really not that upset about it.

    • Microshock says:

      @GiacintaJalope:
      That’s funny actually, Newegg still uses the foam peanuts frequently. I remember my 8800GT coming in a box full of those and my 10 dollar usb external hd enclosure having that also.

  7. Zeniq says:

    What the heck is up with those air pillows? They are fantastic, that’s what the heck is up with them. I find that indeed, they do do jack.

    • ludwigk says:

      @Zeniq: Air fill pillows are also super-efficient packing material. They come in special rolls that are filled and heat-sealed by a special machine. They cut down on the weight and bulk of packing material, and are highly recyclable.

      The plastic can be readily melted and pelletized and turned into any number of other plastic products, or more air-fill bags.

  8. nighttrain2007 says:

    Sheesh, what whining. Did you get your product as ordered? I do business with a company because they can deliver a product, not whether or not they attend the church of global warming

  9. MyPetFly says:

    Did he mistakenly ask that it be shipped airmail?

  10. larrymac808 says:

    You can have free shipping or you can have “green” shipping. Or you can pay more across the board in either case so they can mask the shipping costs.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @larrymac808: TBH I don’t care how they ship it, and I prefer free or low priced. Or actually that should be in quotes “free” 2-day shipping since I actually pay for the amazon prime. But between my wife and I we get our money’s worth out of it.

      But I don’t think they really saved any money by using large boxes instead of envelopes in this case.

  11. menty666 says:

    Amazon most likely bulk buys only a handful of box sizes. Your order is picked and packed using the smallest box that it’ll fit in and voila, you have packaging that often doesn’t make sense. Amazon, however, saves on the costs of warehousing seldom used packaging and passes on the savings in part to you the consumer. The boxes are flatpacked so they store nicely, the air pillows aren’t inflated until they are needed, so they store nicely in rolls. Padded envelopes, however, would take up more space.

    Be thankful they didn’t use peanuts or pour and mold foam. I hate that stuff more.

    • menty666 says:

      @menty666: Incidentally, packaging material is the bane of most vendor’s existences. For example, I make stuff out of glass as a sideline. The supplies for that take up their own space, plus inventory that I produce eats up more. Still more space goes to having boxes and peanuts on hand for shipping, and bags and boxes for when I do live sales. All of that packaging just eats floor/shelf space the rest of the time and doesn’t contribute to the bottom line.

    • MonkeyButt says:

      @menty666: Oh man, don’t get me started on peanuts or #7 plastic sytrofoam – can’t recycle it and takes forever to breakdown. I hate to get big boxes with tiny things inside but man, if it came packed in peanuts I’d lose it.

  12. pdxguy says:

    I enjoy those small air pillows. Now that I’ve ordered enough items from Amazon I have quite a collection of them. I like to roll around naked on top of them. Their gentle puffiness is so comforting and they are always there for me.

    • doireallyneedausername says:

      @pdxguy:

      Charmin soft and cuddly!

    • ludwigk says:

      @pdxguy: For you, I recommend the “Fill-Air 2000″, for all of your, erm, plastic pillow “needs”.

      [www.sealedair.com]

      Now, you’ll never have to leave the house, or even click a mouse to enjoy superior void-filling Fill Air pillows. Just flip the switch, and prepare to be covered in a never-ending stream of inflatable goodness.

      Now I feel dirty.

  13. Andrew O. Ellis says:

    The reality of this likely:

    1. It’s just as costly (if not more so) to manufacture small boxes as larger boxes, especially if we’re talking about getting into very specific sizes for (insert product of choice here.)

    2. Smaller boxes tend to include smaller items. Valuable items like electronics, jewelry and media. Smaller items are more susceptible to theft.

    So likely these are just as much cost (and liability) saving measures as anything else. But the OP is right in that it’s getting harder and harder to justify this in ecological terms.

    But on the other hand, I’ve gotten plenty of what I would categorize as “appropriate and responsible” packaged items from Amazon and the like. Cardboard Mailers for DVDs, books packaged in boxes only slightly larger than the book itself, and even flatpacks/sturdy envelopes for a couple things. So I think they’re coming around.

    You can also fight this by ordering more efficiently. If you foresee buying more than one item in the near future, order them all at once and specify that you want them in the same shipment. It doesn’t apply to all cases, I know. But if you’re really worried about efficiency in parcel transit you can start there.

  14. OverSleeping_GitEmSteveDave says:

    OK. I have asked this a few times before. Has anyone contacted Amazon for a statement? A response to these stories? I think this would make an excellent post to see if they are “taking it seriously”.

    From what I surmise from what I have received from Amazon and from my experience in a mail room, Amazon has a selection of boxes in certain sizes made for them. All of these boxes are coded with certain numbers, like C2, Z1, etc… They do this b/c rather than stock up on hundreds of sizes, 95% of the time, the orders will fit “sensibly” into the boxes. The dimensions of the boxes are entered into a computer. When your order is processed, a slip pops out of a printer in the warehouse. In the bottom corner of everyone’s invoice/packing slip, there is a code. The last two digits of this code are the box that the order is to be packed in when it is assembled. This is smart for two reasons. #1, the computer is pretty good at figuring size better than a person may be before the order is assembled, and #2, it helps keep track of box inventory, so Amazon doesn’t order more boxes then it needs to, which saves trees. When the person gets the slip, they don’t have to gather up all the items first THEN choose the box, they can get the box before the items are gathered. Once gathered, they just fill the box with plastic bags of air which ARE better/cheaper than Styrofoam peanuts, and are also more easily recyclable if you deflate them and bring them to your grocery store and stick them into the bag/box at the front of most stores for recycling plastic bags.

    Now yes, out out the 100% of orders, there IS going to be 5% that don’t fit the “mold” and require getting more box than necessary. BUT this 99% of the time results in something arriving more safely than if it was just shoved in an envelope, padded or not. This also saves WAY more resources in the end.

    Rememeber what GitEmSteveDave once said “You can pack all packages perfectly to size some of the time, you can pack all packages too large all of the time, but you can never pack all of the packages perfectly all the time”. That’s just my take though.

    • ben says:

      @3.5 B: disk_GitEmSteveDave:

      great explanation. considering that consumerist has received “tons of complaints” about this, it’s surprising that they haven’t tried contacting amazon for a comment. (or if they have and amazon hasn’t responded, then that information should be mentioned.)

    • LordofthePing says:

      @OverSleeping_GitEmSteveDave:

      Great post. I work in a bookstore and we always recycle these airbags. I’m guessing Amazon reasons it’s better to have boxes which are too big rather than too small.

      Most of the publishers ship their books in tightly packed boxes. No peanuts, just the plastic pillows or twisted up pieces of brown paper.

  15. Real Cheese Flavor says:

    If it bothers you so much, do the following:

    1. Pop the little airbags. they’re quite small when empty and take up very little space in a landfill. Oh yeah, they’re recyclable too.

    2. Using the same method you used to open the top of the box, open the bottom of the box.

    3. Fold the box so that it’s completely flat. In the industry, this is known as “breaking down” a box.

    4. Stash this “broken down” box under your bed or in some other out of the way place until you need a box for some reason.

    5. Simply unfold the thing, re-fold and re-tape the bottom and you have a box again. Magic!

    • Andrew O. Ellis says:

      @Real Cheese Flavor:

      Yeah. You can always re-use boxes for shipping things or even, you know, storage. I’ve even got some space allotted to hold on to those air pillows, which come in handy if I sell something on eBay and need packing materials.

      When I was learning about the environment in grade school they taught us the “Three R’s”

      Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Everyone seems to forget that second one.

    • louiedog says:

      @Real Cheese Flavor:

      I don’t think you get it. But don’t let that stop you from being smug.

    • TVarmy says:

      @Real Cheese Flavor: See, I don’t ship as much as I order stuff online. What would rock is if the air pillow technology allowed the bags to inflate and deflate multiple times. Then, shipping companies and post offices take the pillows back to reuse later.

      That may never happen, though. The company that invented them has a nice little consumable, and why would they ruin that?

      At the very least, I’d like to see a buyback program for boxes. Recycling is not as good as reuse, but some of the perfectly good packaging that comes to my house, I’ll likely never find a use for again.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This stuff is so big that I’ve seen some delivery guys unpack the boxes and slap the labels right on the product, just to be able to fit everything into delivery vans. It is definitely unnecessary to over pack.

    • Microshock says:

      @YangDer:
      Yeah, somehow it’s illegal to open someone’s mail. They don’t ship something in the box that it comes in.

      ILLEGAL

      • clickable says:

        @Microshock: They most certainly do, depending on the product, and they state it clearly in the product description – take a look at products like TV’s, microwaves, etc., very often it will say that if this is a gift, it may spoil the surprise because it will be shipped in the original mfr’s box.

  17. louiedog says:

    My parents visited me last summer. The week before, my dad bought a new DSLR and decided he needed more storage and had an SD card sent to me. Amazon packed it in a box with an air cushion and sent it UPS. I found the card trapped below one of the flaps in the cardboard.

    Last week I had another SD card arrive from an Amazon seller, not Amazon itself. It was in a padded envelope and the postal worker was able to put it in my mailbox, saving me the hassle of dealing with UPS delivering something when I’m not home. It also came faster.

  18. magnoliasouth says:

    Didn’t I read somewhere that their shipping practices are being investigated? I also believe that no one knew why. I guess this is the reason.

    • scoosdad says:

      @magnoliasouth: Shipping practices…. “investigated”?? Come on, be serious. :-)

      Next on Hard Copy… we’ll go undercover to investigate the nefarious shipping practices of a large well known internet retailer who goes by the name of a very large river….

  19. Anonymous says:

    I agree that this is a waseful practice designed to keep the USPS and other shipping industries in business (they are losing a lot of money, hence the postage increases every year now). I just sent this link and story to Amazon. Maybe if they get a lot of emails about it they’ll do something about it.

  20. PHRoG says:

    Well, for one…It actually is not Amazon that is doing this…It’s the fulfillment centers that are doing it (i.e. Ingrams).

    Second, I really don’t see what the big deal is? I believe the materials are made of recycled stuffs. I for one am glad that someone actually takes the time to try and package an item well. I find nothing more annoying that getting a package that has been poorly protected and arrived damaged as a result. Also, by doing this Amazon cuts down on possible insurance claims due to damaged shipments. It’s smart business.

    Finally…To be blunt…Do your part, recycle the stuff instead of sending it to the landfill.

  21. ALaterDayTD says:

    At woot! you have to pay 1$ + 3$ shipping for your bag-o-clean-texas-air in the random crap…

  22. David Brodbeck says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the cardboard and air pillows are more recyclable than air-padded envelopes. Mixed materials, like plastic bonded to paper, tend to be hard to recycle.

    Also, I’ve found that envelopes are prone to getting crushed, and the postal service doesn’t really like envelopes with non-bendable materials in them.

  23. delicatedisarray says:

    My self and my husband order from amazon fairly often. I guess we just always get the good packers as we have never had the big box little item issue. I recieved a book I ordered in the mail just this week, it was in a padded envelope. I keep waiting (not wanting, but then again I could use a couple of medium sized boxes right now) for this to happen. I feel like one of those people who think cancer/car accident/whatever will never happen to them. I live in the perfect little amazon shipping world.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Hey guys, i believe amazon is using automated packing for the majority of their high selling items. A machine does not have the ability to put everything in miniature envelopes. Hence the large mostly wasted box. Boxes are cheaper then labor.

  25. longtimegeek says:

    You should see what they look like at the higher altitudes in Colorado – usually the sides of my Amazon boxes are bowed out from the ground level air pressure in those things. Nothing slides around in those boxes, believe me.

    I have always assumed the large boxes are to save from stocking lots of different sizes and saving the packers from having to choose the right one. This is similar to why automobile manufacturers put a single wiring harness in all vehicles of the same type – regardless of whether you have the basic radio or the mondo system.

  26. sapere_aude says:

    Just had the same issue last week. Ordered an Xbox Live Gold Card and they shipped it in a box much larger than the card package. Luckily they threw in some air bags so the cardboard Xbox live card arrived unscathed!

  27. willdude says:

    I’ve often gotten items shipped from them in boxes that are barely just big enough and without any padding at all, such that it gets damaged. I’ll take a slight excess of air pockets if it means better protection.

  28. vladthepaler says:

    Got to side with amazon on this one. Better overpackage than underpackage. Pop the bubbles and recycle the plastic, no big deal.

  29. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    I actually LIKE the fact that amazon over-protects in their shipments. Wait, let me explain:

    First off, I agree that they over-pack. I also agree that this practice, in itself, is not very green. However, as someone that sells the occasional thing on eBay or craigslist, I REUSE the air bubbles and cardboard packaging for my shipments. I save on packaging costs! Good for the environment and good for my bottom line.

  30. komodork says:

    If they shipped the item in an bubbled envelope, there is a chance that they might get bent or broken depending on what the item is. Thats why they ship it in a box. They have a standard box that i am thinking is faster for shipments. I do not know why people keep complaning about how they got small items in a huge box. If a large company like amazon took its time finding the proper envelope or box that would fit all the items perfectly, imagine how long it would take for your item to arrive, there would be alot of backorders. If they had 1 standard box, all the do it put the item in and off it goes. Also, Postal companies have an optimal size where shipping is cheap.

  31. rtmccormick says:

    get. off. the. shipping. bitching. highhorse.

  32. 2719 says:

    WHY do people care? What the hell? I just don’t get it.

    If I get a product in working condition and without any damage I could not care less if it came in a tiny box or a huge crate.

    Are you guys so lazy you can’t toss the packaging in the garbage?

    Or maybe this is ‘save the world’ bullshit? If so, again, why people care?

    I never recycle, NEVER! In fact I use the same trash bin for everything, every-day trash, car batteries, even car oil (I change my own because I don’t want to pay a disposal fee since I care not about the world). My catalytic converter is modified (not functional) since I did not want to pay extra for a functional one. My computers are running 24/7. And I have 8 of them. I pay my electric bill every month and you get no say about it.

    It boggles my mind when people get ‘mad’ because of crap like this. Funny thing is it’s only suburban types living in modern day comfort, whining about saving the world. Well once you go back to living in the wild with no modern day utilities I may listen to your hypocritic whining.

  33. oneliketadow says:

    New Poll Question: Do you think that people who work in shipping departments for a living are really that smart and/or concerned about this kind of thing?

    Yes or No?

  34. Jim King says:

    It seems ironic to me that Amazon’s shipping practices may very well be killing the, ahem, Amazon.

  35. Framling says:

    You ever see a big semi hauling an empty flatbed trailer down the road? It’s not empty. It’s carrying a shipment to the air pillow factory.

  36. madanthony says:

    As someone who sells on eBay, I love Amazon’s packaging – it’s great to reuse for when I send stuff out. I’ve got a closet full of air pillows.

  37. orlo says:

    I always wonder if I will be exposed to cyanide gas or Avian Flu when I pop these.

  38. Sherwood Vaillancourt says:

    It makes Marc mad…has Marc appeared on notalwaysright.com?

  39. Sean Tapscott says:

    Another overblown article. I’d prefer air bubbles that I can pop versus the syrofoam peanuts.

  40. TheJinManCan says:

    No. You got your order. Break down the box.

    It’s only a problem if they’re charging crazy amounts of shipping for what small item you’re buying. Then and only then I think people should whine.

    Oh, and the air bubbles NORMALLY help when you have a big item to send, but too big a box. The packing helps your big item from bouncing around all over the place and has the box feel “fuller”.

  41. HogwartsAlum says:

    We get tons of air pillows in our Staples orders at work. I recycle the boxes and air pillows. I have to ship stuff that can’t move around much, so I use the pillows to fill in the space. And if I need a nap, I have a pillow handy. :)

  42. octajohnny says:

    Ummm… if they didn’t do this, we’d be reading headlines that say “AMAZON SHIPS YOUR ORDER WITH NO PACKING… AND BLAMES THE POST OFFICE” and/or “AMAZON POORLY SHIPS YOUR BOOK, AND REFUSES TO REPLACE IT SINCE ‘IT’S ONLY A CREASE’”.

    Cmon people… it’s not like they are pulling a Dell and shipping a single disc inside a of box fit for a bum’s kingdom.

    Amazon, feel free to keep shipping as many air packets in my packages as you want since I like the fact that I’ve gotten all my packages in one piece, unlike many of the other companies I’ve ordered from.

    And before I get any eco-hate, we reuse them at my office when we ship out so :-P.

  43. Corporate-Shill says:

    Said it before, will say it again.

    This is not an issue. It did not cost you more money in shipping costs. It did not cost Amazon more money in shipping costs. It did not cost UPS more money in shipping costs (and if it did UPS would quickly change their policies). It is not harder to pack or handle for Amazon.

    SO WHAT IS THE ISSUE?

    Oh, that is right, there isn’t one.

  44. razremytuxbuddy says:

    The only thing that makes me mad about Amazon’s air pillows is that I didn’t invent them.

  45. Ninja Tree says:

    actually air packaging helps a lot from my experiences.

  46. junip says:

    Amazon recently shipped me an EMPTY BOX. No kidding, just a box with some brown paper in it. I had to email their customer service to tell them they forgot to include the item in the GIANT EMPTY BOX.

    Oh fun.

  47. linoth says:

    I work for an online retailer, and while we don’t require customers to insure their order, _WE_ insure their order because inevitably they expect us to pay for it when it gets lost in the mail. So the reason for those air cushions is very simple, really.

    Damage claim with USPS: LOL. See you in 60 days. Maybe.

    Damage claim with UPS: Maximum 8 business days. Must have 2+ inches of approved padding around the item in question, box meets certain standards, electronics are double-boxed, etc, etc, etc.

    Bet you those air cushions are approved UPS packing material, and neatly meet their safe shipping guidelines when used properly. They’re also cheap, use a hell of a lot less plastic than foam peanuts, are easier to clean up, easier to store, lighter to transport…

  48. Anonymous says:

    Yes it could be better, but at least they don’t use packing peanuts. I can recycle the plastic pillows (sans air) and the cardboard boxes, but I can’t get rid of the packing peanuts without either throwing them in the trash, or sending them to someone else. Also, I’m not sure how recyclable the padded envelopes are.

  49. tworld says:

    Amazon is getting to be the absolute worst. On 12-31-08 I placed an order for CD’s that I moved from my Wish List to my Cart. However, when 2 of the CD’s (1 each on Wish List) moved to the Cart, they became 4 (2 each). Since I didn’t have 2 each on my wish list, I didn’t notice the change in amount until they arrived and my credit card had been charged an extra $28.95 for the 2 extras.

    When I called Customer Service they were happy to e-mail a pre-paid mailer and return authorization immediately. That was on 1-7-09, and I immediately mailed the 2 CD’s.

    Today is 2-14-09, after three phone calls to Amazon I’m still waiting for a credit to appear on my credit cards.

    Now if Amazon made this “mistake” with one million people, how much money would they have sitting in some account collecting interest? More corporate greed.

    However, as a consumer, I’ll think twice about ordering from Amazon again.

  50. Weirdsmobile says:

    There is absolutely no issue more important to this nation in 2009 than wasteful packaging. None whatsoever. I applaud everyone who is giving so amply of their valuable time in order to address this critical problem.

  51. clickable says:

    While it’s always a pleasure to be in my Brooklyn, New York home, open a huge Amazon carton and get a whoosh of lovely, fresh, pine-tinged Washington state air with just a touch of the Pacific breeze, I’ve commented to them several times about the waste. A lot of times the disproportionately small widget rattling around in the carton is itself packaged in ultra-secure clamshell packaging by the manufacturer*, so the chances the item itself would be damaged in a smaller outer package are minuscule.

    I recycle all the packaging materials and I’m sure many other shoppers do as well, but I wish Amazon and other merchants could think of a more practical solution.

    *For limb-threatening clamshell packaging, I finally caved and bought the popular “AsSeenOnTV” package opener, even though I hate stockpiling gadgets that can be used for only one task. Turns out I pull it out a couple of times a week, one of the best purchases I ever made. Does the task fantastically well. Of course, it arrived from Amazon in a box big enough to hold two dozen of them. But at least it was easy to pull off its wrapper :).

  52. Peter Stern says:

    Blame UPS. They will not honor claims for lost or damaged items shipped in envelopes.

  53. maevealleine says:

    they’re padding the shippers pockets, wasting resources, and creating more waste.

  54. Anonymous says:

    I call these things box intestines, because when I open a box a pull out the strip of bags, it looks like I’m disemboweling it.