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The Cardboard Recycling Problem After the Holidays

The Cardboard Recycling Problem After the Holidays

We've all seen it — the piles and piles of cardboard boxes in front of just about every house in the days following the holidays. Once everyone has unwrapped their presents, taking everything out of the packaging, all of those cardboard recyclables need to go somewhere. Although this isn't a new problem, it has become exacerbated in recent years due to the explosive growth of online shopping. Here's how this problem became the huge menace that it is today and some hope for a better future. 

The Amazon Effect 

Amazon is a giant in the e-commerce world. Of course, there is a myriad of other online shopping outlets, but for this article, we'll look at Amazon as a prime example. The current trend in the online shopping industry is shifting towards faster and faster delivery times. While this is great for impatient consumers, it creates problems from a shipping perspective. Rather than waiting to package multiple items in a single box, merchants must send things out individually as they come available in order to get them to consumers as quickly as possible. This creates even more packaging waste through multiple shipments for the same order. 

Problems Throughout the Supply Chain 

The issue doesn't just occur on the shipping front; it is affecting the recycling industry as well. Because fewer items are being packaged in each box, more packing materials, like bubble wrap, have to be added to protect the items. Sorting out and removing these packing materials takes time and effort, slowing down the recycling process. Furthermore, the rise of meal kits has brought with it the complication of recycling ice packs used to ship food. These materials are not as easy to recycle, creating bottlenecks in the process. 

The current trend in the online shopping industry is shifting towards faster and faster delivery times. While this is great for impatient consumers, it creates problems from a shipping perspective.

What Consumers Can Do About It 

Consumers are in a unique position to be able to influence the e-commerce industry. Rather than just accepting that this is the way it has to be, take the time to share your comments and concerns with the online merchants you patronize. Urge them to use less packaging for their products and to do away with the box-inside-a-box trend. Although most brands want to do right by the environment, many of them won't be spurred to action without pressure from their customers to keep up with the changing times. Environmentalism is a growing concern for many people, especially millennials, so you are not alone. If you don't take action, the brands you love won't know how you feel, so make your voice heard! 

For More Information... 

At Central Kentucky Fiber Resources, we are your recycling experts. We can work with your business to help you reduce your reliance on heavy cardboard packaging. Call us today to speak with one of our associates about how we might be able to assist you. Don't forget to subscribe to our blog for future updates on all things recycling.