Reuse, reduce, recycle! In an increasingly busy world, it’s easy to lose sight of the details. As a small business owner, you probably know the feeling all too well. If you think too much, you might miss out on important deadlines and opportunities. Pondering over perfectionism is never a good thing, but we think striving towards constant improvement is.
One of the most hot button issues affecting us today is environmental preservation. Luckily, there are many ways for you and your business to make a lasting, positive impact in the world while reducing your carbon footprint. Today, we’re tackling packaging. Read on for a few key tips that’ll boost your brownie points with Mother Nature.
What’s Wrong with My Packaging Now?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably not giving much thought to your online orders. The ease of shopping online presents a façade that things are much more straightforward than they really are. The reality is that unsustainable eCommerce poses a real threat to the environment. Each year, landfills pile up with waste from homes, institutions, and businesses. The U.S. alone is estimated to have over 3,000 active landfills and 10,000 old municipal landfills.
While there are no clear figures on how eCommerce specifically has contributed to our growing negative impact on our planet, it’s safe to say that there is much to be desired when it comes to increasing sustainability efforts. 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, while only 30% actually makes it through the recycling process. Online orders, when optimized to reduce waste, are a great example of how we can switch up our habits for the better.
Promoting eco-friendly packaging isn’t just a way to help the environment. It’s also a way to connect with your customers on a deeper, more meaningful level. By showing your commitment to reducing your business’s carbon footprint, you’ll build trust in the best possible way — by showing you care.
So… How Do I Make the Switch?
Decide If Your Packaging Materials Are Absolutely Necessary
Have you ever received an order filled to the brim with balloons, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts? It’s likely that none of that is really needed to ensure the safe transport of whatever’s inside. Sometimes, less is more. Stick to the basics and Mother Nature will thank you!
Make Sure Your Packaging Is Appropriately Sized
We like this tip because you’re killing (saving?) two birds with one stone. We’ve already talked about volumetric weight, which is how shipping companies minimize profit loss for large, lightweight items. By choosing only the right box or mailer for your orders, you’re taking up less space during transportation and using less materials in general.
Check to See If Your Packaging Is Gentle on Our Planet
Have you ever heard of mushroom-based packaging? Get ready, because it could be our future. While plastic is definitely convenient, its environmental toll demands us to reconsider our reliance on it. That’s why companies are working on new ways to rework and reframe our experience as consumers. If you’re a budding entrepreneur looking for your next big idea, maybe this will be it!
Use Recycled Materials from the Get-Go
Packaging made from partly or 100% recycled materials is becoming more popular in the industry, which is great news if your business is trying to green. If possible, you can also look into packaging that is compostable or biodegradable. When something is biodegradable, it means it can break down and return to the soil in a safe manner, thus reducing buildup in landfills. Compostable materials are similar, but instead of simply breaking down, they provide nutrients to the soil as well. Cool, right? You can learn more about the differences here.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be! The trick to any big task is to break it down into smaller tasks. Once you get the hang of it, going green will become second nature to you and your business. Keep an eye out for future content detailing how you can further incorporate sustainability into your business practices. We’ll keep it fun, we promise!
Here at ShipMonk, we partner with companies from all walks of life so that they can grow, grow, grow! If you’re interested in expanding your business, shoot us an email and we will be happy to help!