Amazon India has begun shipping certain products without the cardboard box that’s a familiar fixture with every shipment from the online retailer. If you’re used to junking the cardboard box that ships with every Amazon order, you may not have to do that for some shipments going forward.
At the moment, Amazon India has begun shipping only items from select product categories without its own packaging material. An Amazon India spokesperson told Gadgets 360 that this includes apparel, automotive accessories, baby products, home and home improvement products, luggage, shoes, and tech accessories.
“Liquids, fragile items, or products that need privacy are never shipped packaging-free,” the spokesperson added.
This doesn’t mean you can expect to receive a pair of shoes without any box whatsoever. If these products are shipped without an Amazon box, they will be shipped in the original box that the manufacturer includes, with an Amazon shipping label pasted on top.
Amazon India first piloted this around two months ago in Bengaluru and now it has begun expanding this to other cities as well. These include Mumbai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Nagpur.
Amazon first introduced what it calls “Frustration-Free Packaging” a decade ago. This means that its cardboard boxes are designed to be easy to open and are recyclable too.
The next step in going environment-friendly is to ship products without that box where it’s not needed.
“As of October 2018, 4X number of products were shipped in their own container compared to 2016, thereby reducing paper and plastic consumption,” an Amazon India spokesperson told Gadgets 360. In India, over the last two years, Amazon India has seen plastic usage dropping by 13 percent and usage of corrugated boxes dropping by 15 percent for every shipment, the spokesperson added.
Amazon India also described how the process works. It’s not like Amazon lumps a bunch of unpackaged items in trucks and ships them to you. “With packaging-free shipments, we can minimise secondary packaging required for individual shipments by securing multiple shipments from one area within the city together with strong packaging material. For example, in a city like Bengaluru, the shipments would leave our Fulfilment Centre in the form of reusable crates that serve as protected covering, eliminating the need for plastic to secure the shipment,” the company told Gadgets 360.
Some of the brands with whom Amazon has partnered to ship items sans the Amazon cardboard box are HUL, Lifelong, Pigeon, Prestige, Sunflame, Butterfly, Maharaja Whiteline, Inalsa, SAF, Cello and Bajaj, among others.
Gadgets 360 was first alerted about this development by Aditya Pradosh, an Amazon customer from Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. Pradosh shared pictures of Comfort Fabric Conditioner, which was shipped to him without any Amazon packaging. He returned the product and got a refund because the product ships unsealed. When alerted about this case, Amazon India asked us to share the order ID for internal investigations and said it probably was an error.
Pradosh told Gadgets 360 that he didn’t receive any notification to hint that his order might arrive without any kind of packing material. Amazon says: “Customers who receive their orders packaging free, have a paper pouch pasted on the product which contains the printed invoice and a message thanking customers for joining the effort on protecting the environment.” Perhaps the company could do more to alert people that their orders are being shipped without the Amazon cardboard box.
In the US, Amazon adds a tiny note to the product description stating that the item ships in its own box and adds an option at checkout to allow people to get the product shipped in an Amazon box. So far, we haven’t come across this option on Amazon India. There are also concerns about products being damaged in transit, which means Amazon will have to work towards ensuring that items are handled properly in transit. With that said, this development is encouraging news for those who kept wondering why small items arrived in a huge cardboard box stuffed with plastic air bags.