According to The Daily Mail, one Amazon employee said if an item is “too flush” against its box the item is “at risk of being damaged.”
We have reached out to Amazon for comment and will update if we hear back.
Kim Houchens, Amazon’s director of customer packaging experience, told the Wall Street Journal in December 2017 her team has been working on shipping more items in less packaging.
Amazon added machines to its warehouses in 2017 that create padded mailers as needed for smaller items. Houchens said half of Amazon’s products fit into these mailers and polythene bags. Before the bags and mailers, these items would ship in the company’s smallest box.
The company is also working with product manufacturers to create more efficient packaging for each item. Manufacturers may be used to creating large, attention-grabbing shells to stand out on a store shelf.
The BBC program “War on Waste” took Amazon to task for excessive packaging in 2016. According to a recap by the Mirror, the company began testing a program called Box on Demand that year. The program promised to match more appropriately sized boxes with each item.
Amazon also maintains a commitment on its website to reducing waste through packaging innovations.
Unofficial theories from outside the company chalk the over-packaging up to logistical issues. Standard-sized boxes are easier to stack, though more expensive since shippers hiked fees on large packages.
This story has been updated to better clarify the source of information cited.