Shipped Products Packaging Praise – Sparkfun / Adafruit
I don’t often do posts that are off-topic to my projects, but I could not resists posting this. Some of my schooling was environmental-related. Paired with moral obligation, myself and my family try to do our part to be environmentally concious. I wanted give praise to 2 companies that I often order electronics parts from for their effort to be environmentally concious with packaging and shipping. Specifically Sparkfun and Adafruit. I recently received my MicroView from Sparkfun and wanted to give you an idea what I am talking about. Have a look at the picture to the right. The product shipped took about half the size of the box. To protect the product, they used a sturdy cardboard box and a thin sheet of recycled paper with a unique cut pattern that makes it an excellent protective material. The most important point – all packaging is recyclable and likely came from recycled paper. Also, the package was sized for product.
Although this is a small step, my hope is that pointing out this sort of thing will encourage other companies / vendors to follow suit and seek similar approaches. All too often we see larger companies (one of them is well known as a lush rainforest and the other is named after some guy) who ship tiny products in massive packaging (I have personally seen this myself). Although they also use cardboard for the most part, it is a complete waste of space and inefficient. One thing I learned in my schooling is you have to think of not only the end product, at but both the upstream and downstream impacts. For example, these larger boxes needed to be created (more paper, fuel, trees etc), transported (more weight, space, fuel, storage etc), then later recycled (again more paper, transport and fuel etc…) I also have to give some credit to overseas sellers I often buy from. Due to these orders being mostly free shipping, they are driven to minimize packaging and costs (which has it’s disadvantages). However, I often see good use of recyclable materials and limited use of plastics etc.