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If you do as much online shopping as we do, you've probably run into over-packaging before. You ordered something small, and it arrived at your house in a box large enough to store your entire wardrobe (with the Bubble Wrap to match). Or you ordered 10 things, and they all came in individual boxes.
Over-packaging isn't just frustrating; it's creating a big problem. Packaging materials make up more than 40% of the solid waste stream in the United States, according to Packaging Digest. Most of that ends up in a landfill.
We all know the drill: reduce, reuse, recycle. But why aren't our favorite online retailers on board? We found 10 examples of ridiculous packaging that prove it's time for retailers to rethink how products are shipped.
It started out as an SD card. Then it got shoved into a plastic protective case. Then the plastic protective case got its own plastic clamshell cover. Finally, it shipped to the consumer in a massive box, complete with a seemingly endless roll of wrapping paper. Maybe nesting SD cards are the new collectors' items?
Our second example appears to be a child's small toy car set. These sets are typically lightweight and come in very small boxes, but the toy was shipped in a box large enough to fit a small car.
Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. Nevertheless, the box and packing materials are a little much.
In our next example, we can place the blame squarely on the retailer. This Flickr user ordered a new smartphone. You know, those fancy, streamlined, thin-as-a-piece-of-paper things you can fit in your pocket? The phone was packaged neatly into a tiny box, which was put into a slightly larger box, which was then put into a huge box.
Maybe the real lesson here is to never order an SD card online unless you need a huge box for moving. Here's another example of a small, lightweight SD card being shipped in a box that's big enough to almost cover an entire desk.
We count 20. A customer ordered a single ruler off of Amazon. The ruler does fit lengthwise in the bottom of the box, and technically the 20 pieces of protective packaging fit, too. We're just not sure they were necessary.
Knives should probably be packaged pretty securely — even if they're plastic — but this might be too much. Each paring knife was wrapped in protective cardboard and placed in its own box. Then the three boxes were placed in another even larger box and wrapped with air cushions. Overkill? We think so.
One of our biggest gripes? Not just getting too large a box, but getting too many shipments. This plastic container of maple syrup was shipped separately from the rest of the order. With plenty of space in that huge box, it looks like the items could have been shipped together.
Maybe Sears knew this customer was pro-organization? The person did buy socket organizers, after all. Perhaps the company was just trying to show off its skills to a fellow enthusiast by packing each organizer neatly in its own box?
We're not sure what's going on here. The item is clearly unprotected on one side, but oh-so-protected on the other. In fact, there is so much inflatable packaging perfectly in place, it's almost peaceful to look at. If only all that plastic wasn't going to waste.
How do you ship padded envelopes? With even more padding, of course! This customer's set of padded mailers were placed in a box, wrapped with inflatable packaging, and then placed in another box. If only a padded envelope had a way of protecting itself.
Readers, what examples of ridiculous packaging do you have to share? Let us know in the comments below!