The increasing popularity of online shopping has undoubtedly transformed the way people buy and receive products but with the convenience and efficiency of ordering items online, however, comes with a downside – the packaging of parcels purchased online is causing significant waste and garbage spread.
It can be noted that the packaging of parcels bought online often involves excessive use of materials to ensure the products reach the consumer in perfect condition. The packaging includes boxes, cushioning materials, tapes, and plastic wraps. These materials are not recyclable in most cases, and the amount of waste they produce is alarming. Furthermore, many companies use oversized boxes that are larger than the product’s size, requiring even more packaging materials. As a result, the amount of waste produced is far greater than the actual contents of the parcel.
The increase in the number of households shopping online has led to a surge in waste production. Whereas before, people could reuse and recycle packaging materials from physical stores, people now order more frequently online, leading to the constant production of waste. Despite the measures put in place to improve recycling in many countries, not all consumers recycle these materials. The plastic packaging, in particular, is culminating in a serious waste problem, leading to environmental degradation and pollution.
Alarmingly, the materials used for packaging are not biodegradable. Cardboard boxes can take up to two months to decompose, Styrofoam and bubble wraps can take as much as 500 years. These materials find their way into our natural spaces, where they can harm wildlife and negatively impact the environment. They also end up in the oceans, where they contribute to plastic pollution and endanger the lives of sea animals.
In addition to the environmental impact, the waste resulting from packaging materials affects economies. The waste creates a financial burden on local governments that have to collect, transport, and dispose of the trash, ultimately compelling tax payers to bear the cost of waste management. It also affects cities’ aesthetic beauty as covered streets and overflowing dustbins become the norm.
Amidst the urge to enjoy the convenience and efficiency of online shopping, individuals must act responsibly and adopt measures to reduce, reuse, and recycle packaging materials. Companies can lead the way by employing sustainable packaging options to reduce the waste and help their customers enjoy the products while preserving the environment and creating a more sustainable future.