Above, one of three mounds at the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Waterloo, NY, as seen from the west side of Seneca Lake approximately eight miles away (through a telephoto lens). Credit: Kevin Colton, HWS.

EPA Region Map

EPA Region Map
EPA Region Map

Monday, February 14, 2011

Too many boxes

This past week, I went to my mailbox because I was expecting a package from Amazon.com with the remaining books I needed to get for thissemester. Considering I ordered all six books in one order, I was expecting only one package slip. Instead, I opened my mailbox and found six. Amazon sent each book in a separate box. All of the books were coming straight from Amazon, not from any of theiraffiliated distributors, and I even checked the box while I was ordering saying I would rather my order be sent in one shipment.

And if sending each book in its own separate cardboard box wasn’t bad enough, most of the boxes were way larger than the book itself. This just highlights the problem with automating processes without taking all the possible consequences into consideration. In order to make shipping easier, Amazon computerized its packaging process and a computer picks out the appropriate sized box from a group of boxes of set sizes. The problem with this is that computers can make mistakes, so instead sending my 9”x6” book in a similarly sized box, I received it in one more appropriately sized for a pair of boots. This is just an example of unnecessary waste generated for the convenience factor.

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