With the rise of e-commerce comes an overall increase in the use of packaging for shipment. Along with this increase comes a focus on how fulfillment companies are dealing with plastic and cardboard waste. Readers have probably seen images that show careless practices, such as a big shipping box full of plastic packaging to protect and a tiny little product. We also see images of accumulated trash along with frightening headlines about our ‘throw-it-away’ habits.
An article in the sustainability blog Reclay, recently stated: “It is believed that a greater percentage of packaging associated with these purchases, primarily old corrugated containers (OCC) and plastic, ends up in landfills. OCC, plastic, and various types of void fill are the materials most commonly used for e-commerce shipping packaging and for the larger parcel shipping industry.”
While AMS has been a green fulfillment company since its origin, we recognize there are fulfillment companies, shippers, and others in the industry not yet ‘thinking green’. With the problem of waste increasing, changes must be made in how business in general thinks about handling cardboard and plastic waste. The question for AMS becomes not only how can we improve ourselves, but how can we help others improve as well.
The AMS volunteer Green Team has outlined some of the ongoing efforts that the company has made and is making to reduce its impact with regard to packaging. Jay Catlin, AMS President and member of the Green Team, offered the following:
“As a fulfillment company, we are in a unique position to make an impact when it comes to sustainability. The Green Team has the subject of packaging and void fill as a constant and recurring topic. Focus has been on buying from green resources and having an appropriately sized shipping carton for the contents. We’ve all seen the waste that comes from a box that is too big for an order, with excessive void fill that must be dumped. Choosing an oversized box also reduces available space in transport, which not only costs more for shipping but also contributes to the burning of fossil fuels as it reduces the number of packages that can be delivered via truck or air.”