In August, a Redditor who claimed a summer program for children gave them unopened packages posted photo evidence of a supplier’s phenomenally wasteful shipping practices in the r/Anticonsumption subreddit.
At a time when many companies are downsizing their packaging and at least attempting to reduce plastic use, you’d expect smaller companies to try to cut costs and improve their image the same way. According to this Redditor, however, that’s not what School Specialty is doing.
“Got a 20 box delivery today,” they said in their post. “Each box contains one wiffle ball and tons of plastic filler.”
The boxes in question were at least twice as wide and tall as the balls, leaving plenty of room for the company to pack multiple items into each package. Instead, the boxes were full of plastic airbags — pretty unnecessary for a plastic product designed to be hit and bounced on the ground.
“Apparently there were 48,” the original poster said in a comment. “They threw out a bunch because it was overwhelming the package room.”
Shipping products in a ton of extra packaging drives up the cost for no reason. At the same time, it means fewer items can fit on each truck or train, meaning more trips and more pollution to transport everything. The packaging itself is also waste that can end up damaging the environment or taking up space in a landfill.
One user commented, “You need to seriously talk to whomever is doing your purchasing because they massively screwed up here.”
“Yeah, I didn’t order this,” the original poster replied. “It was for a summer program that I don’t run, they never opened them, so they offered them to me before throwing them out.” They also added, “A lot of school specialty companies are like this.”
“We need to start making companies accountable for the waste that they create,” said another commenter, prompting the original poster to name School Specialty as the culprit.
Another user chimed in, “I am reminded of the book I Want To Go Home, in which the main character ordered 1000 volleyballs to a summer camp. I am imagining those volleyballs coming in this kind of packaging.”
Unfortunately, waste in schools is a common occurrence — and without the help of the administration, it’s challenging to address. In the meantime, speaking up can make a difference, and on an individual level, there are many ways to change the way we buy and use plastic, including trying to support brands with plastic-free packaging.
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