Eric Webster, 33, comes to recycle the boxes from Amazon on March 4, 2017 in Maple Grove, Minn. (Xavier Wang/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Consumers Wrestle With Deluge Of Cardboard Boxes From Delivery Services, Online Shopping

By Eric Roper
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) With e-commerce booming nationwide, the United States Postal Service’s package deliveries are up 65 percent since 2009. The onslaught of boxes is changing recycling and traffic patterns, inspiring thieves and even forcing changes in building design.

MINNEAPOLIS

The digital age has unleashed a torrent of cardboard boxes bound for homes as shoppers have everything from diapers to dinner ingredients shipped to their doorsteps.

Boxes are piling up in basements and garages, filling apartment building mailrooms and spilling out of overstuffed recycling bins. And they just keep coming, sometimes several a day.

“It’s kind of amazing,” said Dale Wood, who tends to a recycling drop-off center in suburban Minneapolis and sees a steady flow of people stopping by on Saturdays with cardboard that doesn’t fit in their curbside bins. “A person that just lives in a normal house would come with a whole truckload of cardboard.”

Nationwide, the United States Postal Service’s package deliveries are up 65 percent since 2009. The onslaught of boxes is changing recycling and traffic patterns, inspiring thieves and even forcing changes in building design.

The 360-unit Churchill Apartments in downtown Minneapolis receives 100 to 200 packages a day, with deliveries showing up more sporadically as Amazon offers near-instantaneous shipments using hired carriers. About 30 to 50 parcels arrive daily at the 56-unit Elysian Apartments, packed with students, near the University of Minnesota.

“Amazon Prime is showing up 10 times a day at these buildings,” said Dan Oberpriller, whose company CPM Companies manages the Elysian.

That means new apartment buildings need parcel storage areas, recycling chutes and reconfigured mail rooms or high-tech electronic lockers, which send residents access codes to retrieve their packages, said architect Neil Reardon of UrbanWorks.

The lockers take some strain off property managers, who are grappling with how to recoup the costs of the new service.
At single-family homes, some large curbside recycling bins just aren’t enough to keep up with the flow.

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