Sending a package over a long distance can be an ethical dilemma. Shipping undoubtedly creates excess miles, grows your carbon footprint, and can sometimes even involve wasted packaging. Rather than trying to avoid shipping altogether, there are a few simple tips you can follow to make the process a little greener.
#1 Source renewable packaging
First and foremost, packaging makes a big difference in how green your delivery is. Shipping in plastic containers creates waste, but even more benign-looking packaging is often thrown away because it can’t be recycled. Instead, go for traditional cardboard boxes. These come in all shapes and sizes, and you should be able to find a box that fits your parcel. Better still, embrace “plantable packaging.” This new innovation involves cardboard boxes with seeds built into the structure. When the box is thrown away, the seeds grow into plants!
#2 Reuse where possible
Even better than buying recyclable materials is to use packaging from previous deliveries. While this isn’t always possible, it pays to keep a store of boxes and parcels that you can dip into when you make your next delivery. The simple act of reusing an old package keeps material out of landfill and means that one less parcel needs to be manufactured, so less material is wasted. Encourage the recipients of your package to reuse the parcel too. This way, you can foster a cycle of reuse.
#3 Ship multiple items together
Shipping single items generate needless air miles. Instead, try to let your deliveries build up and then ship them all at once. This, of course, can be costly, but sourcing shipping companies intelligently can secure you a discount of up to 75% less than usual rates. That makes it far easier to ship items in bulk, cutting down on unnecessary air miles. Repeatedly shipping single items is notoriously bad for the environment, so structure your deliveries around bulk exports.
#4 Don’t “over package”
Over packaging has been an issue amongst big retailers for years. Excessive plastics and even too much cardboard not only make items bulkier (meaning that less can be shipped together) but generate excess waste. Packaging is a skill, but cut down where possible. Remember that items should be snug within their packaging but not too tight. Packaging that’s too big gives room for the item to rattle around, potentially causing damage. However, if the package is too tight, your item will protrude, exposing it to bumps and scrapes.
#5 Research companies
Although it doesn’t always seem to be the case, plenty of delivery companies place ecological concerns at the top of their agenda. A little research can go a long way. Some use predominantly electrical vehicles to make their deliveries, others engage in carbon offsetting programs. Favoring these companies not only means that you’re doing your bit for the environment, but it sends out a message. More companies are likely to adopt green practices if they identify demand within their customer bases.