Guest blog by Simon from Parcelhub
Have you ever received an item in the post and felt like opening it was a game of pass the parcel? While studies have shown that eCommerce offers a more eco-friendly shopping experience when compared to physical shopping, it doesn’t always feel that way. This is largely due to the amount of packaging that sellers use to protect their goods during shipping.
Parcelhub works with over 500 Amazon, eCommerce, and eBay retailers, and sees the impact of the way in which goods are packaged. Online customers don’t necessarily expect the item to be boxed in the same way it might be in a retail store, which gives you the opportunity to customise the way things are packed. However while it’s important to protect the goods you have sold, excessive packaging is not only bad for the environment it can also be bad for your bank balance.
One benefit of selling on Amazon is that you can cater to your buyers needs while also having complete control over how the item is packed and presented.
Here they offer some more tips on helping to save the planet while also saving some cash.
1. Review your packaging
It is worth your time to carry out a quick review of the packaging you currently use to ship items. Make a list of materials used to package the items you sell, where you source these materials from and how much they cost. After doing this you should be able to work out the average cost of packing an item. This will help you when considering which alternatives might work out better for your wallet and for the environment.
2. Think Outside the Box
There are many different sizes of box out there and finding the right size can considerably cut down your shipping cost. If the boxes you use are too large you will probably end up using roll after roll of bubble wrap or other padding in an effort to fill the space around the item. Not only is this bad for the environment, it is also bad for your wallet, as the cost of sending an item in an over-sized box will be higher than it needs to be. Boxes made from low density cardboard can help reduce weight, leading to a further saving for you and the environment.
3. Think Inside the Box
Once you have checked you are using the right size packaging to ship your items, you should be using a lot less padding to protect the item you are shipping. However, in an effort to be even more eco-friendly, you could also think about the type of padding you pack with. You might consider changing from Styrofoam, which is made using petroleum and is non-sustainable, to environmentally friendly options such as corn starch cushioning, bio-degradable bubble wrap or even recycled paper scrunched up into a ball. These methods are just as effective as more traditional packing materials.
4. Buy Green
There are now many companies which specialise in eco-friendly packaging materials. While some of these products can cost a little more than their planet destroying cousins, sellers often find they need to use less of them. ‘Bubble wrap’ consisting of 100% corrugated cardboard is lightweight, strong, and helps save the environment. You could also go a step further and opt for eco-friendly packing tape made with plant based adhesives or shipping labels made from recycled material.
As an Amazon Seller it is highly likely you will receive your fair share of items which are packaged in durable cardboard boxes. Providing the box is not damaged and you are able to cover or remove the address markings, you can make the most of this durability by re-using these boxes and any bubble wrap or Styrofoam to ship your own items.
6. Minimise Paperwork
Have you ever received an item that seemed to be padded with invoices rather than Styrofoam? You can avoid this by looking into other ways of sending invoices to customers such as e-mail or via SMS. Again, while cutting down on your carbon footprint this should also help reduce your overall shipping cost. If you do continue to use paper for invoices and other documents try to make sure it comes from a sustainable source and can itself be recycled.
7. Ship Things Together
It is a common misconception that shipping several small, light parcels is more eco-friendly than sending one large box. But using one large box can reduce emissions and also use less paper, padding and labelling. One large box will also fit onto the truck, train or plane used to ship your item more efficiently, which will further help reduce your environmental impact.
8. Choose the Right Shipping Provider
Lots of Amazon sellers start off selling a relatively low volume of items, meaning that they are able to pack and post their items themselves. However, once you are posting 10-plus items a day not only do the frequent trips to the post office increase the amount of time and money spent on postage, they also increase your carbon footprint. Services such as Parcelhub offer a multi-carrier solution which not only increases the efficiency of your shipping but also helps reduce the overall environmental impact. Larger retailers rely on a more comprehensive ecommerce fulfilment solution.
9. Ground versus Air
Once you have made your packing as eco-friendly as possible the last thing to consider is the impact of the way you ship. While air delivery is much faster than road or rail and sometimes, due to distance and time constraints, the only option, you should keep in mind it has a much larger cost on the environment. Wherever possible you should opt to mail your package over land or sea rather than by air.
10. Let Your Customers Know
As well as saving you money and protecting the planet, going green can also help boost your reputation among your buyers. Environmental awareness has never been so high and many shoppers keep it in mind when deciding what product to buy and who to buy it from. Having taken so many steps to pack and ship in an eco-friendly way, don’t be shy about mentioning this fact in your product description and on your Amazon seller page.