We don’t know. But according to a report released by Sanford C. Bernstein, Amazon ships an average of 608 million packages each year, which equates to (an estimated) 1,600,000 packages a day. That’s a lot of cardboard, even when we consider some of the packaging used may be padded envelopes.
Life is easier, but perhaps less ‘green,’ thanks to e-commerce
We can purchase televisions, pencils, cotton balls, office supplies, sports equipment, even a week’s worth of dinner and have them all delivered to our front door. It’s not unusual for sales people at the brick-and-mortar retailers to direct customers to ‘go home and order it online’ when what they’re looking for isn’t in stock.
Each delivery (and return) impacts our carbon footprint, and whether it’s a positive or negative impact is still being debated.
Is e-commerce reducing or increasing our carbon footprint?
As for the corrugated cardboard box, the most used packaging for e-commerce deliveries, it is the biggest manufactured product in the U.S. waste stream by weight – nearly 30 million tons! It is also the most recycled than any other packaging material in the United States. In 2015, corrugated containers had a 93 percent recovery rate.
The impressive recycling rate for our biggest selling product is good news. MRBOXonline not only sellscardboard boxes, but we also brand them for customers with our printing service and we custom cut them to meet specific sizing requirements. We have more than a million cardboard boxes made of recycled material stocked in our warehouse and ready for shipment. Our packaging materials help customers ship products safely and efficiently, and with minimal waste.
But high recycling numbers for the brown box doesn’t begin to address the larger issue: Each year in the United States, the paper thrown in the trash represents approximately 640 million trees, or roughly 915,000 acres of forest land, according to upstreampolicy.org.
The recovery rate for other paper packaging is only 22 percent. “If we recycled all this paper instead of using virgin paper, we could save approximately 27.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere.This is the equivalent of taking 5.2 million cars off the road each year or the amount of energy that it takes to power 1.3 million homes for a year,” according to the organization’s website.
At MRBOX, we try to do our part. In our office, we’ve installed energy efficient lighting and water saving faucets, and we have a recycling program. Our truck delivery routes are planned for the greatest fuel efficiency and the least amount of time on the road.
For our customers, we offer products that are environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and made from recycled products. We help them choose shipment packaging and materials to safely, efficiently, and with the least amount of waste as possible, ship their products to customers.