Surge in ecommerce and chickens blamed for UK cardboard shortage

By Lauren Fruncillo February 2, 2021 - 11:02 am

Reports from the BBC suggest that the increase in demand for online deliveries has caused many firms to blame online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay and chickens for a cardboard shortage in the UK.

Businesses are being met with disgruntled customers after the UK cardboard shortage has caused shipping delays, but can consumers really be blamed for doing their shopping online, keeping safe, and keeping businesses who sell on these marketplaces alive? It’s easy for other businesses selling from their own websites to blame the ‘ecommerce giants’ but behind those giant brands are masses of SMBs doing exactly the same, trying to sell their products. Whilst many supermarkets have temporarily introduced more plastic packaging and some have had better accessibility to unbranded boxes to help this shortage, businesses are putting the blame on ecommerce giants for supposedly ‘panic buying’ cardboard. That’s not all, apparently, consumers have been eating more eggs meaning egg boxes are also part of the problem.

According to packaging company DS Smith one challenge they are facing is the fact that less paper is being put back into the recycled network. More used cardboard boxes are being left in homes or garages. With such an increase in home deliveries, it wouldn’t be surprising if people were ending up with a lot more recyclable packaging than their recycling bins can handle.

Perhaps the real blame should be put on the Amazon #MoreThanABox campaign in December. Kids across the UK have created and grown attached to their Amazon box creations. I wonder how many cardboard cars are sitting in a garage somewhere? But, on a serious note, Amazon has been keen to reduce the amount of packaging they use for a while now, ensuring additional packaging is removed where possible. Customers are even given the option to wait a day or two to have items packed together in the same box.

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