The Packaging For 1-800-Contacts Shipments Is So Wasteful.


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My wife wears contact lenses and orders them from 1-800-Contacts because it seems to be the least expensive option for whatever version she needs for her eyes. But a box of them just showed up the other day, and this is all that was in the box:

The box was huge and all that was in it was a few tiny boxes of contact lenses. 1-800-Contacts, what are you guys thinking? Using more packaging than necessary starts a compounding ball of environmental and financial issues rolling down a hill:

1. More cardboard is needed to make the bigger box.
2. Company has to spend more money to make the bigger box.
3. Company has to spend more money to ship the bigger box.
4. The US Postal Service has to do more shipments and use bigger trucks to move this stuff across the country.
5. The US Postal Service has to use more gas to move the bigger packages.
6. The US Postal Service has to spend more money to buy more trucks/pay employees, thus rates go up.
7. My mailman then cannot walk around the neighborhood as he has too many large packages to walk – he has to drive.

I can understand giant boxes for packages that require giant boxes…but I cannot understand the giant boxes for 2 small cases of contact lenses. Hopefully someday, someone over there will start to really consider the impact of their shipping habits!

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  1. Hey,

    Found your site on google searching for stuff about soy chicken patties. I like what I’ve read so far.

  2. Unreal! I received something similar the other day from an eBay’er. I ordered a used DVD for my kids from an eBay store and the guy sent me the DVD is a shoebox! As you point out, not only did he pay way more to ship it than he had to, he contributed to bogging down the mail system even more.

  3. Check out the amazon packaging when I ordered four 1-cup Pyrex containers. They came in separate boxes. This is just for one Pyrex container

  4. I mailed back my empty contact lens packets (the ones that you peel back to get your lens) and asked if they are recyclable. They were nice enough to send me a letter, but also included the packets in the letter and said that currently only part of the packet is recyclable and only in some places. Seems strange that companies can get away with this. The waste has to go somewhere.

    In addition, the contact manufacturers have product lines that are DAILY disposables…so that means 365 x 2 non-recyclable packets per yer, per person. I have monthlies, so that’s not as bad, but it’s still 12 x 2.

    And I agree with you on the excess packaging for shipping.

  5. It could have been a whole hell of a lot worse. I ordered an OEM copy of Windows XP Media Center, and got a box that was about 6x8x12 inches in size. The actual product was in a packing envelope about half an inch thick, the ENTIRE BOX was filled with STRYROFOAM PEANUTS! I was outraged. You should be happy, really, I don’t see any peanuts in that box.

  6. I used 1.800contacts, until I found out that my contacts were way cheaper at Costco, and they have most rx in stock. They did put mine in a paper bag, but I reused it twice, then recycled it.

  7. In some places I imagine Costco would be cheaper, yes…unfortunately that is not the case for us. Thanks Cath!

  8. C’mon, let’s face it, this should have been a post about the overload of packaging when you buy ANYTHING online.

    From peanuts to styrofoam to shredded what have you, it’s an enormous amount of waste compared to what you’d generate if you picked it up at a brick and mortar store. Many times, if i’m buying a single item, i refuse the ubiquitous plastic bag and just carry it in my hand with the receipt.

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