30 Unnecessary Packaging Fails That Got Shamed Online (New Pics) (Interview)
It is mind-boggling how much packaging can be used for even the tiniest things. There’s so much packaging that you could almost build a fort out of the trash!
30 Unnecessary Packaging Fails That Got Shamed Online (New Pics) (Interview)
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Waste, waste, waste. That’s almost all you ever hear people talking about on the streets and in cafes. Whether it’s wanting to eliminate the use of plastic by replacing straws with pasta in Italy or coming up with new ways to recycle bottles, there are all sorts of small steps that we can take to make Planet Earth a cleaner, healthier, greener place to live on.

However, one area where some but not enough progress has been made is in the packaging of certain products. It is mind-boggling how much packaging can be used for even the tiniest things. All to make them look attractive and make us want to buy them. There’s so much packaging that you could almost build a fort out of the trash!

To show you just what we mean, Bored Panda has collected some of the most egregious examples of unnecessary packaging found in the dark corners of the internet. So scroll down and upvote the pics that make you fear for the future of the world. Send your pals the link to this list so that they realize what a big problem this is as well. And share any ideas for possible solutions to the waste crisis in the comments.

Scroll down for Bored Panda's four interviews on the topic with experts, including with Greenpeace's Graham Forbes, the Global Project Leader for the Plastic-Free-Future.

“For years, companies have sold people on disability — the notion that we can use something once, for a few minutes, then simply throw it away,” Forbes explained. “The problem is, we know now that there is no such thing as ‘away.’ Less than 10 percent of the plastic ever made has actually been recycled, with the vast majority ending up in our oceans, landfills, or incinerated — polluting communities around the globe.” Scroll down for the full in-depth interview.

Forbes from Greenpeace continued: “Companies are still stuck in this outdated business model that uses unnecessary packaging and puts the onus on the consumer to clean it up. It is up to all of us to demand accountability from these companies that continue to churn out throwaway plastic. It's time to demand systems of reuse rather than polluting throwaway packaging.”

Some British supermarkets take the packaging waste problem very seriously. For example, Waitrose has impressed its environmentally-conscious shoppers by offering them the possibility of buying food and drink without any packaging.

That means that customers can fill their own containers with a whole range of Waitrose products, such as rice, cleaning materials, wine, beer, etc. from various dispensers. This not only helps the environment but is good for your wallet as well because product prices drop by around a seventh as a result. Of course, this means that we won’t get to build any forts with all the unnecessary packaging. But some sacrifices must be made for the greater good.

“By utilizing reusable bottles, bags, or containers, we can start to build the systems that we want to see from large companies. Ultimately, large-scale systemic change will depend on companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo changing their business models to reject throwaway plastic packaging. By rejecting throwaway culture, we can move them in a better direction quickly,” Forbes said, adding that those readers who want to learn more can read Greenpeace’s reports here and here.

Bored Panda also talked to Kara Pochiro of the Association of Plastic Recyclers about the topic. According to Pochiro, “packaging often has a variety of uses that the general consumer does not realize such as protection and preservation.”

“If consumers purchase products and packaging made with recycled content, this will encourage companies to use more recycled content, can boost demand for that material, and increase recycling rates,” Pochiro explained, suggesting that customers recycle and conserve to help the environment. “Consumers play a big role in the success of recycling programs. They need to recycle and buy products and packaging made with recycled content.”

Back in 2018, more than 40 British companies, including the UK’s largest supermarkets, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, and others, vowed to cut plastic use within 7 years.

Reuters notes that these companies promised to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic packaging in the UK by 2025. There’s still a long way to go until then (unless you’re reading this in 2025, in which case, hello, future Pandas!) and this is just one country. But it’s a strong start.

Andrew Almack, the CEO of Plastics for Change, had this to say to Bored Panda: “Removing unnecessary plastic requires companies to redefine their supply chain. They have to do RnD while keeping in mind challenges like the visual appeal of product packaging, the durability of alternatives, sustained supply of alternatives, costing and manufacturing.”

According to Almack, customers are a ‘force’ that can bring about change in the market. “It is important for customers to purchase and use products made by businesses that focus on sustainability. When people start buying from eco-friendly businesses, the demand for such good would increase and ignite other players to cater to this trend which could be done by a simple change in current company policies.”

He continued: “Being more conscious about our throwaway culture is where one should surely start. Simple changes to eliminate single-use plastic go a long way: avoid gum and plasticware, reuse storage containers and use razors with replaceable blades.”

Furthermore, Bored Panda interviewed a spokesperson from the Alliance to End Plastic Waste: “Everyone agrees: plastic waste does not belong in our oceans, or anywhere in the environment. And despite the many benefits of plastic to health, safety, sustainability and convenience, plastic waste has become a challenge in parts of the world because it is not managed properly.”

The spokesperson went on to say that “to help address the challenge in a globally coordinated and transformative way, over 40 companies around the world, from across the plastics value chain – companies that make, use, sell, process, collect and recycle plastics – have joined together with a clear mission: to help end plastic waste in the environment.”

They continued: “The Alliance to End Plastic Waste has pledged 1.5 billion dollars over the next five years to develop, accelerate and bring to scale solutions to minimize and manage plastic waste, catalyze investment, engage communities and promote solutions including reducing, reusing, recovering, and recycling materials. Alliance efforts will be implemented in a coordinated way with support and resources from both the public and private sectors, facilitating comprehensive, meaningful and lasting change that will help end plastic waste in the environment.”

Comments (104)
Its funny to me that so many people are acting like ordering online is somehow worse than going to buy it locally. All the reasons of availability/brand aside it still takes trucks to bring that shit into the local stores...you still have to drive round trip... Also nothing stops the local stores from creating a online store to streamline purchases. Not to mention the amazing customer service/return policy Amazon offers...hell they will even extend the warranty of items they sell to 90days. My mother bought a couch that had a defect and when i contacted the seller they said it was over 30 days so no warranty, kicked it to Amazon and got a email the next day saying they would refund or replace. Its hard to see how a local store could compete. Also Walmart put more mom and pop stores out of business than any other chain but i dont see the hate for people shopping there.
Helena R
Just a thought- it's not the shoppers fault that the item arrived with so much excess packaging
K Lane
Why are people acting like it's terrible to order online? Not everyone has a perfect life. Buying online and getting it delivered is a godsend when you're disabled, elderly, sick, dying, have mental health problems, multiple kids, no car, you work unsociable hours, or a whole host of other problems.
Where I live you have to pay more for shipping if the box is bigger, that motivates businesses to send everything it the smallest box possible. So that helps a bit. Of course there is still sometimes unnecessary plastic wrap around things.
Kristie Whiterock
I'm working as a packer for a car part dealership and we don't actually Have packages that are small enough for some of these items. Reason being that they wouldn't go through the machine that wraps them in plastic bands. Also the invoices would not even fit on the package What I do is fold the flaps of the box over to create a small space in the middle, then use a bit of wrapping foil as protection. We also have bubble-lined bags but they are only available until a certain time before they have to be ready for delivery. Also when ordering as a private buyer you would never get one of those because of insurance reasons. The mailman would just toss it into the mailbox without any signature proving that you actually got your stuff
I'm sure many of these products can be special orders directly from physical shops. It should not be a problem to find similar products that can be purchased directly from shops. We should all consider what we by online. Its shipped from the other side of the world and has a huge carbon emission.
I sell things on eBay. I save all of the bubble wrap and paper that I get, and use it in my packages. But I try not to overdo it.
Ted Wiley
This is an article that discusses how The Anchor Packaging System can help companies eliminate this waste! https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/eliminate-waste-make-your-ecommerce-packaging-green-anchor-wiley/
You should send all the unnecessary packaging back to Amazon. If everyone started to do that they would soon change their ways. It worked with Walkers Crisps in the UK.
Dear People, please avoid ordering and delivering home, if possible. Go to the shop and by these things locally when you would go shopping anyway.
Well I worked in shipping before, packing stuff. And yes it was policy to put in lots and lots and even more packaging for two simple reasons: 1 the companies processing and delivering packages don’t handle things with care, not one bit, I’d say even the opposite and 2 a lot of customers are unbelievably fuzzy and will demand refunding/ resending if just the direct packaging of the product has a dent or something even though the product itself is in perfect condition. So companies just want to make extra sure so they don’t have more work afterwards...
Uncommon Boston
Apparently a computer decides the box size based on the most efficient way to pack the truck.
Emily Softley
I wonder if Amazon workers are silently protesting their working conditions by doing this. It's giving the company a constant load of bad press, much more than the way they treat their workers ever does.
Tammy Ralph
When you think of all the people trying to do their bit for the environment by recycling and then you look at the unnecessary waste from company's, it's like fighting a losing battle.
Viv Hart
So many of those small articles which are available locally, but ordered online, tells me that these people are too lazy to go to their own local store. You can't tell me that all these people are disabled. I love shopping locally, my favourite family-owned supermarket, will even try to get me an item not in stock, if it's locally available. Thisexcess packaging by, for instance, Amazon, is really disgusting!
The Frog
Made me realise 'I'm not the only one who thinks Amazon is wasteful'
Chris DiFonso
What's especially tragic is how many times plastic was used for padding to avoid damage to the item(s) ordered, when paper could have been used instead. A material than can be recycled 100% of the time instead of a material that is only recycled 10% of the time.
So...stop ordering Amazon? Duh.
Sarah Kate Lamming
People are giving others grief for ordering things online... but there are a hundred reasons why someone would choose that over shopping locally. For me, I have a disability and use a power chair. Shopping in stores is a nightmare as I usually need someone with me to reach things, and life isn't designed for people in a seated position. It's much easier to get things to be delivered. So before you label people lazy or wasteful, just remember that we are not all the same!
Katinka Min
I really do understand when someone orders something online that they simply can't get offline. But a battery??? I hate getting parcels because the delivery is terrible, so I have to pick up the parcel from Godknowswhere, shlepp it home an up to the foruth floor and then I am sitting on tons of packaging that I need to get rid of. It's so much easier to just pcik up something on the way home.
brandon sat
everyone complaining about packaging here but if there wasnt enough packaging and shit got broke...people would be just as pissed. i would rather them over package and my stuff get to my house not broken than it get there broken.
Pored Banda
lol, tomorrow Bored Panda will have a post about how annoyed people are to receive damaged items in the mail from Amazon.
Maybe companies are tired of people complaining about broken shit so they're extra careful
Demi Zwaan
And if whatever you bought gets damaged, because they didn’t use 50 feet of wrapping, you raise hell...
Stop ordering a single battery or shit like that online and go to a real store. It's not just the packaging but also the gas and pollution it takes to bring that battery to your home!
Trash Panda
I just received an order of 6 items from Amazon that all came from the same seller but came in separate boxes... While we're at it though, I can't seem to figure out why you can go into CVS and buy 1 item yet walk out with a receipt that is longer than your arm.
Freya the Wanderer
Here are some good reasons to visit a brick-and-mortar store. Things are going to be shipped one way or another - and what if the B&M store is within walking distance, or on public transit? Besides, shopping IRL means that what you see is what you get. You hear stories about people getting something entirely different from what they expected when ordering on-line, such as ordering a cheap chair only to find out it's for a doll house. Also, when you do B&M shopping, you get what you seek immediately
Also, I suspect for the small items in big boxes, it's not to protect the item, but is to make the box uncompressible and packable. Think if they had 1000 different size boxes, imagine the puzzle of getting that to fit into the truck. So, the have a tiny non-fragile thing in a box, but might be putting 4 20pound boxes on top of it. That's the problem. They need to find a different way to transport these small, non-fragile items (and people need to stop buying them - who buys two tea boxes to be delivered!!??)
They do it because we allow it. I ordered something online and got so much packaging that I didn't order online again except on rare occassions. That was about 12 years ago. I assume you all did the same, and the companies did surveys to find out why, then fixed their packaging issues, right? Hah, hah. Almost nobdy thinks ahead to the collective result when they make decisiosn in their lives as far as I know. And I just don't get it.
Kevin Hickey
Something changed on this website and now the "up arrow" and "down arrow" keys are behaving quite badly. Most annoying.
Monika Soffronow
How come people even survived for so many millennia before online shopping? ;-)
Shirley Smithers-Cranswick
I am disabled and for the most part can do my own shopping but sometimes have to do internet shopping. %90 of them over package and Amazon is the worst culprit of them all.
Theresa Tzitzira
It is as if all these companies who send their products to customers get bonuses by the packaging material and the transport companies if they use huge boxes and tons of wrapping material
BiLal Asif
These discussions in comments are more unnecessary than the packaging
Margareth Su
So, is it a habit for people to comment at everything online? You don't know what was the issue that they had to order these things online. If they pass while grocery shopping or walking down the street to home from work, you'd think they won't grab, say, that packet of battery? Can't y'all just keep those hateful comments that are so baseless to yourself? Be an ass, sure, just stop spreading the hate vibe.
Could we just stop it with the shaming? It's honestly not the customer's fault that the store uses all that packaging. People have reasons for shopping online -- and if one of them is "because reasons" that's okay.
Pretty Pangolin
Pretty sure the text should read "disposability," not "disability."
Nancy Massi
I've been on the other side of the problem where an item was poorly packaged and wrapped and came in broken, or in some cases, didn't come in at all (stolen). There are many crafters that can use cardboard and packing peanuts or poppers or butcher paper. Also, check on youtube--many great things can be made with waste materials. I kid you not, there are youtubers who make furniture out of cardboard, paper, and glue. You may end up finding something to make with all that stuff and start a great hobby.
Cenk Karaferya
Disgusting... no words!
Erin Sheppard
I have ordered more to get a full box and things were sent individually.
Radek Suski
I want to add my own to this post. How?
Russian Otaku
Biggest reason I do amazon is Kindle and no store has the fucking shit I need everytime. Also some things aren't even sold in the usa so ordering is mandatory :/
Karen Harling
Boycott fucking Amazon
Ben Smith
The only thing I learned from this is that people need to stop buying so many easily found products online. Go outside people! Talk to REAL PEOPLE
Mary Ridings Guarino
I order from amazon all the time for several reasons - when the price is lower than my local walmart or whatever, and because, yes I have health issues and the more i go to the store, the more pain and exhaustion I feel. It doesn't help that it took me 30 min to get home the other day and it was only 5 miles from the store to my house (there's a lot of construction going on). I do, however, try to make it to where I get one shipment for multiple things. I rarely buy just one thing. When you check out, you can see how many things will go in one shipment or if they have to come from different warehouses.
Lotus Flower
This whole article reinforces why you should shop local. If you don’t care about saving local businesses, maybe the effect on the environment will do it? (If you can buy local, that is.)
Guglielmo Marconi
I need a stone. Wait❗I'll ask Amazon to send one to me! ? I'm smart!!!!
this is one of the main reasons i dont like to order online. The others are the precarious jobs all around the deleivery chain (since u order till it arrives to u), the amount of effort and time needed for complaints, and supporting the local economy.
Capri Figueroa
Unpacking in general is exhausting. The toys, the furniture, the appliances...
Lisa Shaw
I think a lot of it has to do with convenience, ours and theirs. I worked for a company that shipped, they got a flat rates from the carrier for certain size boxes, so in order to appease the carrier they used unnecessary packaging, otherwise the rates fluctuated and became inconvenient, having to weigh and measure every single box going out the door. As long as we continue to pay $10 shipping on a $5 battery, nothing will change.
nala simba
AMAZON and QVC are helping, and doing a fine job, at destroying the environment. I too, have received single lipsticks in boxes which would happily accommodate six or even twelve house bricks. Oh, not forgetting the bubble wrap, of course.
Walmart delivers in our area so I used them. Once. The amount of wasteful packaging just to safely and cleanly deliver the products made me a bit ashamed of my unwillingness to shop myself. All liquids in plastic bottles were shrink-wrapped to prevent possible leaks from getting on the other items, etc. I complained directly to Amazon about the oversized boxes and now nearly everything comes in a bubble wrap envelope.
Ed Souza
People ordering stuff they can find at a corner store or grocery store... Amazon isn't the problem, you are.
as for small items, I understand they need to package it to larger boxes so it's easier to be passed around to dispatcher until it reached safely to the buyer. furthermore, it's quite hard to label really small items with the details they need like addresses and whatnot. although I also understand there are various reasons why ppl would have to resort to buying online for hard to get items, perhaps the only way to deal with this problem is not to buy small items online?
Roald v2
How about....not ordering online?
I just don't understand why people just can't take the time to go to a store to get a battery, food, make-up. I Just don't get it.
Y'all be complainin bout packaging when y'all could've gone to al local store for that shit.
I think the biggest problem is that really small packages get lost in the mail. The best thing you can do is to go to the store and buy it there. You will pay a little bit more, but our environment will thank you for it. O and take the bicycle when you go to the store ;D
Ray Heap
For the love of Pete, STOP BUYING CRAP OVER THE INTERNET and then complain about packaging. There are things called "Shops" y´all should have a look, they are really great.
Martti Laurson
The things people order online just makes me sad. Just get up, go to a store and find the stuff. Why are you so lazy? Kitty litter, micro sd card, battery, straws, canned soup? Are you kidding?
Tiffany Young
Moral of the story is stop ordering every little single fucking thing on Amazon
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