There’s nothing like the thrill of getting something you ordered online in the mail. Part of the joy and convenience of ordering items online is when they actually arrive. But that packaging that wraps those perfect items could actually be hurting the environment. Many e-commerce packages are sent in materials that are harmful to the environment, but a new wave of companies is setting out to create more sustainable packaging solutions.

  • E-commerce sales are expected to double in the next decade.
  • Online shopping packaging contributes huge amounts of waste.
  • Large companies like Amazon are taking steps to cut back their packaging and group orders together.
  • Startups are creating sustainable packaging from recycled materials.
  • In order to provide a complete customer experience, e-commerce companies need to take steps towards sustainable packaging.

Dangers Of Packaging

It’s no surprise that Americans love to shop online. Every year, 165 billion packages are shipped in the U.S., which uses enough cardboard to equal more than 1 billion trees. That doesn’t even consider the waste from the plastic air bags and additional packaging that keep items safe in transit.

Other common packaging options aren’t much better. Many packages contain materials that are difficult to recycle and are harmful to the environment. Many e-commerce companies, including Amazon, have started packaging more items in bubble mailers, which are lighter and allow for more items to be placed on planes and trucks. However, mixed materials of plastic and bubble wrap often can’t be recycled and instead block the recycling systems and slow down the process. When a bubble mailer gets stuck in the recycling machinery, the entire system has to be shut down to cut the package free. The materials not only aren’t recyclable themselves, they literally stop other items from being recycled.

Read the rest of Blake Morgan’s article at Forbes