Over the past decade, many companies have taken significant steps towards making their businesses more environmentally friendly and improving their ‘green’ credentials. With this, consumers have also become more environmentally conscious, with many consumers typically trusting and preferring to order more from companies that support social and environmental issues[i]. This movement towards more eco-conscious mailing has become significantly more prevalent in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic; with a vast increase in eCommerce mailings due to worldwide ‘Stay at Home’ orders, combined with the creation of many new small businesses borne from time spent in lockdown and job losses.
As a packaging company, we take our environmental responsibilities seriously and promote our greener options wherever possible, whilst also striving to introduce new alternative products to help support businesses looking to make the move to more environmentally friendly products.
So, what are some of the ways in which a business can turn their ecommerce more eco-conscious?
How Can I Make My Mailings More Environmentally Friendly?
There are a variety of different things to take into consideration when improving the environmentally credentials of your mailings, the key to which is in focusing on the total environmental footprint of your product, including its packaging. This can be done in a variety of ways;
Reusing Where Possible
One of the best ways to improve the footprint of your product and its packaging, is to get as many uses out of it as possible. This is an area where cardboard is truly king, as there are so many alternative uses for it as a material, from arts and crafts projects through to ending it’s life in compost. This means that any cardboard (or paper) that it used in the packaging of your product can continue its life long after unboxing. Cardboard is also a completely organic material that can be sustainably sourced and ethically produced, making it the perfect product for greener mailing.
Supporting the Circular Economy
The circular economy is an approach which is designed to contrast the traditional linear model of consumption known as 'take-make-waste'. Instead, a circular economy is designed to be regenerative, keeping materials and products in use for as long as possible in order to reduce waste and pollution. This means choosing materials which are designed to be durable and which can be easily reused, remanufactured, and recycled to keep the components in circulation. The circular economy is also designed to avoid the use of non renewable resources, by using previously recycled products where possible or ensuring that any raw materials are sustainably sourced.
Improving Customer Awareness
It’s important to let your customers now about all of things that you are doing to try and help the environment. Not only might this draw in more customers that are seeking to purchase from a more socially conscious business, but it is also key to ensuring that your customers help to do their part in the products journey. This can either mean recycling it and introducing it back into the circular economy or reusing it to prolong it’s lifespan. For other materials, such as LDPE (like plastic bags, bubble wrap, and stretch film) or bioplastics, it can help inform customers of how to best dispose of their products so that they can either be correctly recycled or broken down.
Reducing the Carbon Footprint
Reducing the carbon footprint of your mailings can be one of the more difficult aspects of making them more environmentally friendly. This is because it includes looking at the entire supply chain to find ways in which each of the constituent items may be using excessive energy. Some ways in which this can be tackled could include; buying larger quantities to avoid multiple shipments being transported, buying a larger range of products to better fit different items and to reduce ‘dead air’ (which typically requires additional products to fill), or investing in bespoke boxes to ensure that the products fit perfectly and provide the perfect unboxing experience.