The efforts are part of a larger shift within the retail industry to eliminate single-use cardboard and plastic as consumers increasingly weigh the environmental impacts of fast and easy shipping. Brands such as Clorox, Haagen Dazs and Seventh Generation are moving toward glass, aluminum and stainless steel packaging that can be returned, cleaned and refilled for subsequent uses, with the help of Loop, a program introduced two years ago at the World Economic Forum.
Sustainability experts say much of the pollution associated with online shopping occurs during “last mile” delivery, that final stretch from warehouse to doorstep. But they say packaging is perhaps an easier — and more tangible — problem to solve. Consumers’ increased reliance on online shopping during the pandemic also put a spotlight on discarded cardboard piling up in recycling bins across the country. Corrugated box shipments rose 9 percent early in the pandemic as Americans