Innovative Focus on Environmental Impact of Packaging

I love the levels of ingenuity and creativity that are brought to bear to bring about paradigm shifts in areas where environmental damage is happening at unacceptable levels.

Fast Company Article – Ken Dumps Barbie

The amount of packaging used for children’s toys has long appeared unacceptable to me. That got me thinking about other products and areas where there is waste. One area that troubles me is when I buy books and other goods from Flipkart.com. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love this company for their slick professionalism, speed of execution and efficient delivery within an Indian delivery environment that can be very challenging. However, if I’ve ordered 12 books, do I always need each and every one of them to be delivered individually, each wrapped in a thin coat of plastic, surrounded in bubble wrap and then encased in cardboard and half a mile of sticky backed tape? When you factor in the transportation of each of those books as well, I hate to think what the final carbon footprint of my consignment of 12 books amounts to.

Shouldn’t it be possible to offer me a variety of delivery options at the time when I place my order? Could it even be that in my ‘settings’ on the site I could choose a more environmentally friendly ‘consolidation’ delivery schedule where large consignments wouldn’t be sent out unless at least 4 books at a time were there to make up the package? In that way my 12 books consignment would see transportation impacts reduced by around 65% (each package will be bigger) and packaging materials likewise similarly reduced.

Until that happens, I’m inclined to pick up more popular, regular books on ‘large’ runs to Om Books or Landmark, using Flipkart just for the more difficult to find books, which is a pity when I feel positive about their service levels overall.

If we are to be responsible consumers there are many such debates we need to weigh up. Somewhere, my own personal debate on books will hit a further conundrum – at what point should I stop or reduce purchasing of paper books in favour of acquiring an ebook reader/ tablet computer and then buying ebooks. Until then, I’ll continue to search for a good carpenter to build me another set of bookshelves for my study!

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One Response

  1. I hope Flipkart.com is listening.

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