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Furious customer calls out major tech company after opening their online order: 'I'll never understand it'

This usually means higher prices for the consumer.

This usually means higher prices for the consumer.

Photo Credit: Reddit

As the online shopping industry gets bigger and bigger, excessive packaging is becoming a huge problem. 

Some companies, like Amazon, have pledged to cut back on their excessive packing practices, while others seem determined to waste as much plastic and other materials as possible. 

Based on one Redditor's experience, electronics manufacturer Hewlett-Packard might be one of the latter.

What happened?

According to this Redditor, they ordered four 16-foot cables from HP and got more cardboard than cable. 

"Why does HP waste so much packing material?" they complained in their post. "I'll never understand it. It's only for four five-meter 40G DAC cables. They could've all fit in one of the boxes the DAC cables came in instead of a huge master carton."

This usually means higher prices for the consumer.
Photo Credit: Reddit

The Redditor attached two pictures to demonstrate what they meant. One shows that four smaller cardboard boxes had been nested inside a larger box. The other shows what's inside one of the smaller boxes: a coiled cable, inside a plastic bag, in a nest of foam padding, inside the cardboard. The cable itself appears to be less than a quarter of the size of the box.

While that kind of packaging would make sense for delicate electrical components, it's less reasonable for a DAC cord, which doesn't have the same fragile elements.

"For a company called Hewlett-Packard — packing is not their strong point," one commenter quipped.

Why is the excess packaging a problem?

First of all, depending on the shipping company, size and weight can both be factors in the cost of shipping. Providers that use unnecessary packaging have to pay more to send out their products, which usually means higher prices for the consumer.

Meanwhile, all of that packaging creates a mess that the recipient has to take care of. Some of it might be recyclable, but much isn't and will only clog up the local landfill.

Is HP doing anything about this?

HP has been trying to reduce plastic waste in other areas, according to its website. The company said it has diverted and recycled 1.8 million pounds of plastic trash to keep it out of the environment. 

"We were one of the first to set up an ocean-bound plastics supply chain that could scale as significantly as we have," said Ellen Jackowski, the chief sustainability and social impact officer at HP. "It sends a signal to consumers, as well as other companies, about what's possible."

What can I do to reduce excess packaging material in shipped products?

Ideally, when it comes to a small item like a computer cable, ordering it online shouldn't be your first choice. Customers may not have options when they're receiving a replacement under warranty, but there are many other situations when buying a computer accessory in-store can be tacked on to your normal shopping trip.

You can also buy many items secondhand — even a surprising number of working electronics. Thrift stores offer steeply discounted rates, and buying from them keeps those items out of landfills.

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