Where Does All That Amazon Packaging Go?

As Christmas approaches and you do a lot of your shopping online, you probably buy a lot from Amazon. I know I do. It is convenient, and the prices often beat other options. Also, with Amazon Prime, I get next-day shipping, and a variety of additional discounts.

However, all the packaging from my Amazon purchases piles up. There is an awful lot of cardboard to recycle. I do save some of it; I sell some used books and CDs on Amazon, and I’ve been selling some stuff on eBay recently. So I keep a pile of mailers, and some of the smaller boxes, to be able to ship items I’ve sold.

But I bet most people don’t do this.

When I lived in France, you took your trash to large bins at different locations on street corners. Some of these spots had additional, large recycling containers for glass, paper, or cardboard. So when I had too much stuff, I could walk two blocks with a handful of cardboard, or stick it on the back of my car and get there in one minute.

Now I live in the UK, and trash collection is done at each home – every two weeks, only – and the nearest recycling center is about a 20 minute drive. This makes it much more troublesome to recycle anything. And you’re not allowed to put “brown cardboard” in the recycling bins they give you; they’re only for glass, paper, cans, and thin cardboard, such as cereal boxes.

Part of the problem is, of course, Amazon. (I don’t mean to single out Amazon only, the issue of packaging applies to all online retailers. It’s just that Amazon seems to be the one that more people use.) Most of my Amazon purchases come in packages that are way too large. Not books or DVDs; those come in folding mailers that aren’t too bulky. But even for most of those purchases, the packaging weighs more than the items shipped. For larger purchases, most likely for reasons of expediency, items are shipped in boxes often 2 to 4 times the size they need. It’s probably quicker in the warehouse to grab a bigger package than to try and fit something in the appropriate sized box.

For example, I bought an Apple Watch stand, and here’s how it looked in the box I received:

Amazon packaging

So what do you do with your Amazon packaging? Do you recycle it? What if you just throw it away? Perhaps Amazon should be socially responsible and organize recycling of the tons of cardboard they use.

Note that you can repackaging feedback for any Amazon order. I do this regularly when boxes are too large, but I don’t think Amazon does anything with this feedback.