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Frustrated shopper calls out Fisher-Price's problematic sales tactic on Amazon: 'It is greenwashing'

"It … comforts people's consciences into thinking they do the right thing."

"It is greenwashing AF."

Photo Credit: iStock

More and more consumers are starting to notice the unnecessary expense and strain on the environment caused by excessive packaging. Some companies are responding by cutting back on the waste, but one Redditor found a company that seemed to be taking advantage of the situation.

What happened?

The original poster shared their experience on r/Anticonsumption. "Pay eight euros extra for reduced packaging," they grumbled, posting a screenshot for context.

"It is greenwashing AF."
Photo Credit: Reddit

The OP captured the image on Amazon's website, showing a listing for a plastic potty chair from Fisher-Price. There were two packaging options: "standard" and "reduced." "Standard packaging" was listed at €24.36 [$26.24]; "reduced packaging" was €32.56 [$35.08], a difference of €8.20 [nearly $9].

"Makes me so d*** angry!" the original poster said.

Why does it matter if less packaging costs more?

Less packaging ought to lower costs for manufacturers. They can use less machinery and labor to process items, spend less on materials, and ship less weight. Theoretically, those savings could be passed on to consumers, too.

Instead, Amazon or its suppliers actually charged more for less packaging — possibly because offering an "extra" option involves costs or to take advantage of consumers' willingness to pay for a less wasteful, "greener" choice.

However, commenters questioned whether the reduced packaging option was actually better for the environment.

"They probably take it out of the box and all out of the plastic and styrofoam, put it in another smaller box," one user said. "It probably results in more broken items, more returns and more waste in general [than] the original shipping. It is greenwashing AF and comforts people's consciences into thinking they do the right thing."

Greenwashing — making a product or service look more eco-friendly than it really is — reduces buyers' ability to make informed choices about their purchases.

Is Amazon doing anything to cut back on extra packaging?

Amazon has had some hits and misses when it comes to helping the environment. It did change its shipping materials to get rid of polluting plastic mailers, replacing them with cardboard whenever possible.

However, it also went back on climate pledges that it made publicly in past years. And since Amazon is such a huge company, its shipping practices have a major impact — so those pledges would have made a difference to the world's air pollution and rising temperature.

How can I cut back on excess packaging?

The best option to reduce waste is to find a local seller that uses minimal packaging. This can mean buying secondhand at times. Not only will you save money and find many like-new items at most thrift stores, but you'll also keep those goods out of landfills, adding another climate benefit. Plus, you could even find a high-end item for cheap.

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