An eco-friendly approach to online shopping
An Eco-Friendly Approach to Online Shopping
“The excess of cardboard boxes and hard to recycle plastics that come from online orders are hard to ignore. Reduce your carbon footprint and limit the amount of wasted packing materials, with these eight steps for shopping online in an eco-friendly way.“
With over 5 billion products shipped from Amazon in 2017, it is safe to say that this mega company is a large contributor to the excess of packing materials that end up in the trash. You may notice this issue yourself as you tear through the third layer of cardboard to get to your product, which may still be hidden under yet another plastic or Styrofoam casing. Sometimes, when opening an Amazon package I wonder, “What was the thought process of this intricate packing situation? Did the packer have a plan? Maybe they had extra boxes that they wanted to gift me? Surely, my shampoo didn’t need to come in a box the size of a microwave?”
I’ve come to the realization that I cannot understand the packing process at Amazon, but I can do more on my end to be eco-friendlier by reducing waste my packages create. Here are six simple ways to limit the waste from packages and support an eco-friendlier shopping experience with all the products and conveniences we love.
1. Buy from Eco-friendly Businesses
To limit the packing material, as well as your carbon footprint, the best option is to shop locally with reusable bags. When buying in person is not a practical option, choose products from eco-friendly companies such as Ringtechshop.com. Ringtechshop carries brands devoted to being sustainable options. In addition, Ringtechshop donates to eco-friendly, earth-conservation charities. Supporting eco-minded companies contributes to the action needed for a positive change on Earth.
2. Be Frank
The first step to online shopping is to request less packaging. While customers may not notice a difference in their orders, communicating the desire for a more eco-friendly package brings awareness to the distributer that customers care about the environment and they do not support wasted packaging.
Below is a sample message you can easily copy, paste, and send to the company’s customer service where you wish to make an order.
The name on my account is :___________________
The e-mail associated with my account is :___________________________
I wish to have all my future orders to be eco-friendlier but using minimal packaging. Please make a note on my account that I opt out of plastic air pillows, bubble wrap, and unnecessary packaging.
By grouping your products together, less packaging and fuel is used to deliver the items ordered. While this may take a little patience to wait until your shopping cart is full, you will reap a greater reward in knowing that your eco-friendly approach helped out the planet.
4. Practice Patience
Avoid the “next day delivery” button at all costs! When customers choose this option, companies rush the order. Packing and shipping for speed is their only focus, which means the item is not always packed efficiently and the order is sometimes shipped by plane to its destination, using much more fuel than a traditional truck. This nearly magical shipping option seems too good to be true, and it is in this regard. It’s a good idea to re-think it and choose standard shipping.
You requested minimal packaging, grouped your products, and chose the standard shipping option, yet your order arrived and still those plastic pillows leap from the box. A solution to the pesky plastic is the appropriate recycling of the material. While recycling is not the best solution, it will prevent the materials from ending up in a landfill or the ocean. Several stores will recycle such plastics for you. Check out the list of local drop off spots for plastic packaging near you.
6. Give Feedback
No matter which company you order from, take the time to give feedback. The companies who pack your order need to know if their packages are eco-friendly or not. Feedback contributes to these companies’ awareness of waste and hopefully helps shape the future of their business. Good, bad, or otherwise, the communication of your experience can ultimately help create a more sustainable future.
While it may be tempting to boycott online shopping altogether for the waste the packages produce, the truth is, the world of online shopping is not going anywhere. For some, online orders are the only answer providing necessities when they cannot physically gather those items for themselves. For others, the option of online orders saves time and resources in their busy schedule. Regardless of the reason, there are ways to benefit from the conveniences of online shopping all while supporting sustainable, eco-friendly companies. Little adjustments and communication can add up to make a big difference for the planet.
Mariah Swigart is a travel blogger and outdoor enthusiast from Arizona, USA. If she is not found at her computer sharing about her adventures or researching new places to visit, it is because she is out exploring.
Her motivation is to encourage others to seek out the beauty in the world through traveling, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures, and living a vibrant lifestyle. Mariah shares about her adventures as an expat in Spain at Swigartoutdoors.com.