New Jersey Assemblyman John McKeon said he thought of the bill after receiving a small item in a gigantic box filled with packaging.
"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 McKeon.
Unsustainable shipping practices from online retailers contributed to 2.9 billion pounds of plastic waste in 2020 alone.
McKeon's bill would prohibit large online companies and major retailers in New Jersey from using boxes that are more than two times the volume of the item being shipped.
Retailers could face fines ranging from $250 to $500 for each offense.
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"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," McKeon said. "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 bill has been passed along to the state's Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee for consideration.
If the bill is passed it would be the first of its kind in the country.
"There's not going to be the package police, that's not what I intend at all," McKeon said. "I'm hoping to do something in a common sense way. We have to look out for small business. This only applies if you're doing more than a million dollars in shipping online in any given year."
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