Is Amazon Prime actually an EcoCrime? →

May 27, 2015 |

Om Malik:

Yesterday I received a package from Amazon Prime. It had two small items inside: a Gorilla Pod , and a pair of eco-friendly water filters for Soma Water Carafe. There was nothing unique about these items—they were puny in size and yet they arrived in a giant box bursting with air-filled packaging material. And I looked at that box with absolute and complete disgust, wondering, Is Amazon Prime actually an EcoCrime? Others on Twitter agreed with that take, which only reaffirmed my guilt for using Prime—for being an unwitting enabler of waste.

He makes a great point. Any packaging excess, even if it’s only for small items, becomes a huge problem when a company ships at the volume Amazon does. That’s why, for years now, Apple has been putting so much thought into reducing packaging for their products as much as possible.1

For what it’s worth though, I haven’t seen the same issue here in Spain with Amazon Premium — our version of Amazon Prime, which is identical except it doesn’t come with Amazon Instant Video. In fact, I have had the exact opposite thought a couple of times when receiving an order from Amazon Spain in the past. They really do use super efficient packaging over here, so I wonder what else is different in how the company operates across different countries.

  1. Well, that and the massive economic savings that come with it: you save on the materials for the packaging, you can ship more devices per plane so you also save fuel, and you save quite a bit of storage space for inventory. So there are plenty of selfish reasons to do the right thing here, apart from environmentalism.