Strategic Technical Manager Helen Bird from Wrap has called businesses out for using “excess packaging for small items”, urging them to “reduce unnecessary packaging”. E-commerce companies do not always ship their products in suitably sized packages, leaving negative effects on sustainability.
Speaking to the BBC, Ms Bird said: “Anecdotally, I think the good news is that we think that anecdotally overall, the number of these instances are reducing.
“But of course, we’ve all had these instances, which is one too many where we’re receiving overpackaging.
“But I think perhaps because we’re starting to buy more stuff out online, and of course we were doing a lot more online shopping last year.
“The number of instances that we see in our lives are probably increasing.”
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The BBC host asked: “What do we need to happen then?
“Does there need to be an advance in technology or do consumers need to complain more when they get all of this packaging and a tiny product?”
Ms Bird answered: “Well, the onus needs to be on business to reduce unnecessary packaging as much as they possibly can.
“And so that has got to be really the number one priority.
“Sometimes they might have a shortage of standard boxes but, you know, really there’s no excuse for the overpackaging that we can sometimes see.
“But sometimes when we get this stuff through what we want to be able to do is recycle it
“And particularly because more of us at home-we’re spending more time at home, we’re recycling more at home.”
She went on: “And more than half of us are frequently or sometimes running out of space in our recycling.
“So that’s a double bad really because then we’re struggling to perhaps recycle everything that we want to
“So, you know there’s definitely work that needs to be done to reduce it, and then people need to be able to recycle it.
Online shopping was necessary for many UK consumers due to government lockdown regulations and restrictions in 2020, resulting in companies using more packaging materials to wrap items.
The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that plastic and other packaging make up about 30% of the country’s annual waste.