Green Shipping Packaging in the Era of Online Shopping

Green Shipping Packaging in the Era of Online Shopping

As we move into the new year, many consumers may make resolutions to lower their carbon footprint. One way they may choose to do this is to become more conscious of the packaging used to ship products they order. Online shopping has become less of an occasional happening to a normality and sometimes preference for consumers, which has drastically changed shipping in the United States. If consumers are searching for ways to make their online shopping better for the earth, these are some of the shipping companies making that same resolution!

Amazon –

Amazon is often the subject of skepticism and criticism despite its popularity. Regarding its packaging practices, Amazon has three main goals: Minimize packaging, eliminate packaging when necessary, and optimizing packaging whenever possible. One notable method Amazon is using to achieve these goals is by using computer algorithms. In 2021 they began using algorithms to analyze the contents of packages and find the most compact and efficient was to package them, saving both cardboard and plastic!


UPS is striving to become completely carbon neutral by 2050. Part of this strategy will be to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% per global small package by the year 2035.  To offset the packaging used, UPS has planted 22m trees since 2012, and they aim to reach 50m by 2030.

FedEx –

FedEx is making stride to become more sustainable and seeing results. As of now, “FedEx-branded cardboard packaging is 100% recyclable and composed of 37% recycled content”. Among its green strategies, it is redesigning packaging, reducing materials, and maximizing recycling. In its 2022 Environmental, Social, Governance Report, FedEx even outlined its specific strategies for sustainability in different regions of the world!

Walmart –

In April 2022, Walmart launched Circular Connector, in an effort to open a line of communication for companies providing packaging to stores such as Walmart. According to their launch announcement for Circular Connector, “it’s a platform that will aim to help accelerate packaging innovation and its implementation. We want to make it easier for sourcing teams and brand companies to quickly find sustainable packaging solutions – enabling us all to move faster together on reducing waste from our communities, our oceans and our environment.” This innovative platform supports collaboration to create a better future for our planet.

According to Freedonia Groups recent report, “Shipping Boxes Consumer Insights”, access to recycling services and awareness regarding sustainable packaging are still relatively low. Of those who responded to our survey that they had shopped online within the last year, 39% said that they think packaging for online orders should be made with recyclable materials, while only 16% said that they return the packaging they receive for recycling. Perhaps the increase in initiatives by companies to use recyclable materials will help raise awareness and make recycling more accessible and more widely practiced!

To read more about packaging demand around the world, check out Freedonia Group’s new study, “Shipping Boxes Consumer Insights”.

About the Author: Bethan Davis is with, where she writes, edits, and provides production assistance for The Freedonia Group and other brands.

  Consumer Goods      Packaging