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Study reveals impact of unnecessary packaging for online deliveries

Around 85 million m3 of air is being shipped to UK homes each year due to unnecessary packaging – equivalent to more than 34,000 Olympic swimming pools, according to a new study from DS Smith.

It says the result is consumer frustration (43%) with the brands distributing the packaging and money wasted for retialers.

The study also showed that oversized boxes containing excess material are causing nearly 5 million unnecessary delivery journeys, leading to 86,071 tonnes of potentially avoidable CO2 being released into the atmosphere each year.

It found that such packaging includes a wasted 169,291 tonnes of extra cardboard, 480 million m2 of plastic tape and 80 million m3 of filler.

Consumers in the study said they would like to receive packaging made from alternative renewable sources (41%), packaging that tightly fits oddly shaped items (32%) and packaging that is waterproof (30%) in the future.

167 million packages are sent each month through online shopping, and the research found that while four fifths (80%) of businesses that sell goods online admit to often using packaging that is not closely sized to the product, more than half are focused on its recyclability (55%) and over a third on the reusability (35%) of packaging.

Stefano Rossi, DS Smith Packaging CEO, said that retailers need to listen. “Consumers want less packaging. Raw materials are more expensive than ever, and the benefits for the environment are significant, so now is the time to design the air out of online shopping.”

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