In this article, the various ways in which Amazon boxes can be reused will be assessed. A number of related topics will also be covered including:
- Why is the reusability of Amazon boxes important?
- How to reuse Amazon boxes?
- What is the environmental impact of Amazon boxes?
- How green is Amazon packaging?
- Is Amazon packaging biodegradable?
How to reuse Amazon boxes?
There are a variety of ways to reuse Amazon boxes including reusing boxes for future shipments, making compost and using Amazon boxes creatively to achieve utilitarian values.
The environmental impact of Amazon packaging is really great because each day, Amazon receives more than 1.6 million orders. This means 1.6 million packaging boxes.
It is essential to ensure that these packages are recyclable, biodegradable and above all, reusable.
Why is the reusability of Amazon boxes important?
The reusability of Amazon boxes is really important because it will let us fight against global waste production.
Global waste production is expected to be at around 2 billion tons annually. This could surge up to more than 3 billion tons.
These figures translate that an average person is responsible for the generation of about 5 kgs of waste per day.
These unprecedented amounts of waste generation are creating unprecedented obstructions and challenges to waste management authorities and their incapacity to do so is putting your health and the environment at great risk.
Therefore, it is essential to ensure that we reduce, reuse, and recycle the products that we use. The first two (reduce and reuse) are majorly on our own capacities and this requires knowledge and willingness to engage in pro-environmental activities.
Amazon is one of the biggest online platforms that offer all sorts of products. The extent of Amazon use can be guessed from the fact that, in a day, Amazon ships about 1.6 million packages.
This means that every hour, Amazon receives more than 60,000 orders. The figures speak for themselves and assert why the need for reusability of Amazon packaging is so great.
How to reuse Amazon boxes? (9 creative ways to reuse Amazon boxes)
Since a stance has been built on the importance of Amazon packaging and how fervent its reusability is, let us explore some options that can be opted to make sure that we sustainably reuse Amazon packaging.
The first question that might resonate in your mind would be can I reuse Amazon boxes for another shipment? Fortunately, the answer is yes. You can definitely reuse Amazon boxes for future shipments in order to make sure that there is less waste generated from your side.
However, you need to be careful about some aspects before opting for this option. The first is obvious. The box should be of a reusable quality. If the box has deteriorated in any way then you will end up with more harm than good because if the box is not in the right condition, it will damage your product.
In this way, you will cause greater damage to the environment because, as per LCA (life-cycle-assessment), more resources will be consumed and employed to remake the product. Further, the strain on your pocket also can not be denied.
Another aspect that you need to be careful about when reusing Amazon boxes is that all the unnecessary labels are taken care of. If there is mismanagement in this regard, then the Amazon box will get to some other place instead of the required destination.
This will also be problematic because transportation also happens at the expense of our environment. Most of the transportation and logistics are done by using non-renewable resources which are known to cause environmental anomalies like global warming et cetera.
Another great way to reuse Amazon boxes is to compost them. It is claimed by Amazon that its packaging is sustainable and biodegradable. This means that natural materials like recycled paper, sugarcane, mushrooms, and sugar beets are used to make Amazon boxes.
These materials have high amounts of organic content which can be used as a fertiliser. When Amazon boxes are used as compost, you will make sure that the soil quality of your garden is improved.
Composting will also ensure better plant health and water retention profiles of the soil. This, in a way, means that Amazon boxes can directly be used to conserve water, which is a very limited resource in the world.
Other than these basic reuses, there are a lot of creative ways to reuse Amazon boxes. By doing so, you will ensure that you are innovatively doing your part toward sustainability and a sound environmental future. Some of these can be:
- Amazon boxes can be used as a storage bin
- Amazon boxes can be used to keep jewellery
- Amazon boxes can be used as wall art
- Amazon boxes can be used to make a wall clock
- Amazon boxes can be used to make a serving tray
- Amazon boxes can be used as storage boxes
- Amazon boxes can be used to make cardboard letters
- Amazon boxes can be used as draw dividers
- Amazon boxes can be used to give an aesthetic touch to your garden
What is the environmental impact of packaging boxes?
Since Amazon is one of the leading online retailers, it is imperative that it will use a huge amount of packaging materials because packaging is an important part of the online business.
Packaging ensures that the products are not damaged in any way and that the functional and utilitarian value of goods inside is ensured.
However, the sad part of this is that the materials used for packaging are harmful. Most commonly used materials may include packaging peanuts, styrofoam and bubble wraps.
The problem with this kind of packaging is that it is not degradable and will pollute water streams, soil and also the atmosphere.
As per a study conducted in 2019, Amazon packaging led to the production of more than 400 million pounds of plastic waste.
Non-biodegradable packaging is mostly made from synthetic polymers. The most common synthetic polymers are plastics which are known to cause a lot of harm to people and the planet.
These effects can be:
- A rise in sea levels
- Melting glaciers
- More floods
- Frequent droughts
- Unprecedented weather patterns
- Infiltration into the food chains
- Loss of aquatic life
- Global warming
- GHG emissions
- Rise in temperature
- Accumulation of plastics
- Disruptions of ecosystems
However, it may also be asserted that the effects of polymers are not just limited to the environment, they are also impactful on health as well. Below are the common health issues that arise from non-biodegradable polymers:
- Psychological complication
- Neurological complications
- Reproductive complications
- Hormonal issues
- Damage to foetus
- Skin damage
- Eye allergies
- Organ defects
How green is Amazon packaging? (5 steps by Amazon for better packaging)
Although the facts and figures narrate otherwise, there are a number of endeavours that must be appreciated and given due credit. These steps are in accordance with the green principles and green philosophy.
Here is a list of some endeavours done by Amazon to advance a step forward toward sustainability:
- Option of plastic-free delivery
- Frustration free programs
- Amazon Day
- Use of recycled material
- Use machine learning to reduce packaging materials
Amazon has enabled customers to opt for plastic-free deliveries. However, customers will have to go an extra mile for it. Customers can now contact Amazon customer representatives and can ask them to not get plastic packaging deliveries.
Another limitation of this endeavour is that this option is not available everywhere. This means that only a handful of places are given the liberty of plastic-free packaging.
Another great initiative by Amazon is its pledge to reduce the amount of packaging material. In regard to this, the company makes use of better algorithms. The company’s vision is to rely on machine-based artificial intelligence to make use of fewer packaging materials.
It is claimed that because of these algorithms, Amazon has been able to reduce the packaging material by more than 34%.
Amazon pledges to make use of recycled materials in the packaging process to reduce the effect on the environment by reusing materials. In 2020, Amazon also promised to make use of 100% recycled material for device packaging by the year 2023.
In 2008, Amazon introduced the frustration-free program of packaging which asserts that the least amount of packaging may be used to ensure that there is the least amount of stress put on the environment.
This resulted from these endeavours that Amazon managed to reduce more than 2,00,000 tons of packaging material. In North America alone, Amazon claims to reduce packaging material by 30,000 tons.
Is Amazon packaging biodegradable?
Although there are a lot of endeavours taken by Amazon to shift toward sustainability, the major question still is whether Amazon packaging is biodegradable or not.
Biodegradability is the degradation caused by the microbes so that waste may become a part of nature again and the cycle keeps up.
If there is no biodegradability, there will be negative impacts on the environment and the people. These impacts have been studied in the previous sections in detail.
With Amazon’s pledge to biodegradability, the answer to the main question is not hard to guess.
Yes, Amazon packaging is biodegradable because it is made from natural and organic materials. It can also be made into compost which can be used as fertiliser too.
While Amazon does not reveal the exact materials used to make Amazon packaging, it is not that hard to guess. The common materials used for biodegradable packaging include sugarcane, sugarbeets, mushrooms, organic fabrics, and recycled paper.
It can be concluded that the environmental impact of Amazon packaging is really great because each day, Amazon receives more than 1.6 million orders. This means 1.6 million packaging boxes.
It is essential to ensure that these packages are recyclable, biodegradable and above all, reusable.
There are a number of ways to reuse Amazon boxes that include reusing boxes for future shipments, making compost and using Amazon boxes creatively to achieve utilitarian values of it.
Frequently Asked Questions: How to reuse Amazon boxes?
What materials are commonly used in Amazon boxes?
Amazon boxes are commonly made from cardboard. Materials used for packaging boxes may also include recycled paper, bioplastics, and plant-based materials.
Can Amazon packages biodegrade?
Yes, Amazon packages are biodegradable and can also be used as compost.
- Amazon. Improving Our Packaging. Retrieved from: https://sustainability.aboutamazon.com/environment/packaging
- Oceana. (December 2020). Amazon’s plastic problem revealed. Retrieved from: https://oceana.org/reports/amazons-plastic-problem-revealed/
- Siracusa, V., Rocculi, P., Romani, S., & Dalla Rosa, M. (2008). Biodegradable polymers for food packaging: a review. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 19(12), 634-643.
- Davis, G., & Song, J. H. (2006). Biodegradable packaging based on raw materials from crops and their impact on waste management. Industrial crops and products, 23(2), 147-161.