There have been a few articles of late about how flexible bags, mailers and sleeves are apparently a better choice than cardboard boxes for online sales. It seems there’s a trend to remove cardboard boxes from the eCommerce chain. It’s thought they are too bulky for a lot of thin small sized items sold on many websites..
However, using flexible mailers, bags or other forms of what is still a plastic based material does not solve the issue of what the consumer does with them. It may appear to solve spatial issues within the supply journey, which is always a quest. Plastic is conceived by most of the planet’s population to have a damaging affect if it gets into the oceans.
Using more plastic bags and mailers adds to this issue. Why? Well ask any consumer what they do with this plastic bag or padded mailer. Once they’ve opened it, most will say it goes in the landfill bin, or at best the recycling bin.
The consumer who puts it in the landfill bin will do so because they do not understand anything about how plastic is recycled. There are so many types and thats leads to confusion. So they assume is has to go to landfill.
What should be happening
The ones that put it in the recycling bin assume it does get recycled but what are the chances of that. There’s a combination of poor PR and lack of facilities from the plastics based industry to recycle specific types of materials, particularly combination materials.
Most people know that cardboard gets recycled. You only have to see evidence of that on the streets when its bin day. Most will state it does get recycled and used again for another box. This is backed up by the greater use of paper based products. You can replace a tree but not the oil in the ground.
So my point here is, why aren’t the advocates of bags and plastic flexible mailers developing paper based alternatives? Probably because they are not talking to the right people who invent things like this. I’ve said before, NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION.
Where there’s a will… etc and all that….