Wasteful Holiday Packaging

I love it when clients and vendors send us gifts during the holidays. It’s a nice touch.

What totally tweaks me, though, is how wasteful some companies are when they package and ship gifts. It’s ludicrous.

It’s now that season, so we’ve been getting quite a few deliveries of cookies, chocolates and all sorts of neat stuff. A few that came in this morning made me flip out…

A very nice partner company really went all out. We got some great chocolates from Saks. But the packaging was out of control. A thin tray of chocolates was placed within a box with a false bottom, measuring about a foot square by about six inches deep. This box was wrapped in a bow and placed within a bigger box containing a shitload of styrofoam packing peanuts. That box measures 18"X18"X12". At first, I thought it was part of a shipment of computers we ordered. No shit.

A vendor sent over two trays of chocolates, each packed up like the one above, only the outer boxes were a couple inches smaller on each side.

This has been going on for years. Last year, someone shipped a tiny crystal ornament that would fit in the palm of your hand in bubble wrap. The bubble wrap filled a box about the size of one of the medium size FedEx boxes. This box was swimming in a sea of packing peanuts. Contained in a box that could have easily held a dorm fridge. The pile of topsoil I had delivered to my driveway this past spring was smaller than the pile of peanuts.

And they’re not the biodegradable peanuts, either. Those you could dissolve by pouring water on them. And we’ve got no place to store them here at the office, so they end up getting thrown out.

I understand not wanting corporate gifts to show up damaged, but damn! This is inefficient and bad news for the environment.

This drives me crazy too, but I especially wanted to reply to this part of your post. When I get a bunch of styrofoam peanuts in a package, I put them in a garbage bag and take them to our local Mailboxes Etc. to be reused. They probably end up in a landfill eventually, but at least it gets a little more use out of them.

So do you ship to your clients the same way? :smiley:

Perhaps the first of the year might be a good time to lead by example if you ship products to your customers, and make a stink about it. Why not send a simple announcement in every package you ship that you are decreasing the amount of packaging as an environmental/waste management concern, and ask that they do the same.

Of course, that might mean making your products more robust and able to handle the rough and tumble hands of the minimum wage office clerk …

Actually, we’re doing chocolates again this year, and the box is just big enough to hold the chocolates and the card. No styrofoam needed. :smiley:

The company that puts the packages together and sends them includes a couple packages for us, so we can see the final product the way our clients see it. I don’t know if we’ll go as far as to include a “hint, hint, nudge, nudge” note about decreasing the use of packaging…after all, we do have to continue to do business with these people. But maybe next year we’ll do away with shipping altogether and do electronic gift cards or something like that.

Well, if the manufacturers get their way and convince Congress and the FDA to do away with chocolate in products labeled chocolate, electronic gift cards may be the only way to go. :smiley: