McKeon Introduces Bill to Reduce Packaging Waste

Legislation Would Prohibit Retailers from Shipping Small Items in Oversized Boxes

Seeking to reduce packaging waste connected to online shopping, Assemblyman John McKeon has introduced a bill that would prevent certain retailers from shipping small items in oversized boxes.

Many retailers use large boxes filled with air pillows or other packing materials to ship their items, but this is not a sustainable practice as it generates a significant amount of waste. In 2020, the e-commerce industry produced approximately 2.9 billion pounds of plastic waste.

The bill (A-2235) would prohibit large online retailers and major retailers in New Jersey from using shipping boxes that are more than two times the volume of the items being shipped. Under the bill, retailers who do not comply would be subject to fines ranging from $250 to $500 for each offense.

“Earlier this year, I ordered a ‘Baby on Board’ magnet for my granddaughter and, although the magnet itself could have easily fit in an envelope, it arrived in a box at least 20 times its size full of packing materials,” said Assemblyman McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “We have to address the fact that online shopping is the source of a significant amount of packaging waste. Instead of using an oversized box and filling it with packing materials that will end up in a landfill or find their way into our oceans, this bill asks retailers to minimize waste by using shipping boxes that are appropriately sized. While recycling is part of the solution, the best way to reduce our carbon footprint is to reduce the amount of cardboard and waste we produce.”

The legislation has been referred to the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee for consideration.