The photo below, taken last week, shows three of my children posing with three of the four plastic hockey sticks I ordered for them on Amazon.*
See those very large boxes and packing paper behind them?
That's how each of those four sticks was shipped to us.
In four separate shipments, arriving on three separate days.
If you noticed there are only three boxes shown, that's because the fourth box was damaged in transit. That stick arrived wrapped in brown shipping paper (like what is shown on top of the four boxes in the photo) with a shipping label stuck onto it. The Canada Post delivery person apologized to us and said the box had been crushed... because it was so empty, and couldn't handle the weight when something heavy was placed on top of it.
If you're perceptive, you may have noticed our "family height chart" hanging on the wall behind the boxes. That might give you a sense of how much packaging was used, but the perspective is off... so here are two better photos:
It's an obscene amount of packaging.
Anyone who's a regular reader of this blog will know that I'm a huge Amazon fan; my family gets so many packages delivered to our house every week, I'm convinced my wife and I will be asked to be the godparents for our regular delivery person's next child.
But the way these hockey sticks were shipped is absurd, and Amazon needs to do better.
Imagine if Amazon were to develop a "semi-sticky" address label: one that's sticky enough to remain on the product during transit but not so sticky that it can't be carefully peeled off the product without causing damage.
Now think of all the products that Amazon normally ships in boxes that could instead be shipped box-free:
Diapers. Toilet Paper. Laundry Detergent. Nearly indestructible plastic hockey sticks.
You get the idea.
Reducing the amount of packaging that Amazon uses isn't just the right thing to do... it's what Amazon has already committed to doing.
In September 2019, Amazon announced it was co-founding The Climate Pledge, establishing a goal to meet the environmental commitments outlined in the Paris Agreement 10 years early. In June 2020, they announced a $2 billion Climate Pledge funding commitment towards that goal, and decided the Seattle arena for which they had purchased the naming rights would be called Climate Pledge Arena, "as a regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action."
They've already made some big commitments, and written some big cheques, in the name of the environment. But they can obviously do more.
Starting, perhaps, with a semi-sticky sticker.
* My eldest daughter Chloe was participating in her virtual school when this photo was taken, and thus unavailable for the photo-op. For the record, she is equally adorable.