It’s never been more important to consider the sustainability of your operation, the packaging you use and the processes you undertake. With the conversation around eco-friendliness and sustainability rising in popularity following the Attenborough Effect with the likes of Blue Planet and Life On Our Planet – it’s no surprise that individuals and companies are doing all they can to reduce their impact on the environment; and peak season is not the time to stop.
As we’re now in the final 3 months of the year, and Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas are looming, it’s time to turn our attention to how we can remain eco-friendly throughout the peak season. With the coronavirus pandemic estimated to add £5.3 billion to the UK eCommerce industry in 2020 and 73% of UK consumers looking to buy primarily online, it’s inevitable that this year’s peak is set to be the biggest yet. So how do we stay green during this busy time? We’ve put together 6 packaging tips to ensure that eco is the only option this Christmas.
When it comes to processing, picking and despatching orders, you need a process that is efficient, reduces waste and is eco-friendly; that’s where Integrated Labels come in. Designed specifically to make your despatch operation quicker and easier, these labels also help reduce miss picks – which at this time of year can be a crucial factor in your customer experience and overall success. Order details, customer name, and a peel-out customer address label are all printed on one page, helping to reduce paper waste whilst increasing efficiency. Made from sustainably sourced materials, these labels are plastic free and recyclable, making them an excellent eco choice.
A sure fire way to increase your overall eco-friendliness as an eCommerce company, is to make simple, sustainable packaging swaps. Switching from plastic or polythene based products to paper and cardboard alternatives can make all the difference and is also a great indicator to your customers that you’re taking the environmental crisis seriously. At this time of year, you need reliable packaging products that are going to ensure your goods arrive in perfection condition; and we have a few suggestions.
Eco Padded Envelopes
Traditional bubble lined bags are perfect for sending and mailing a wide range of goods, but their plastic inner mean they aren’t the most eco-friendly product on the market. Switching to Eco Padded Envelopes, a paper based alternative, can help towards eradicating plastic from your operation and are a great rustic looking packaging product. The honeycomb-effect inner material offers cushioning protection in the same way the bubble lined inners do, and the kraft paper outer keeps goods safe during transit; all the same protection but without the environmental damage. The Priory Elements EcoPaddedEnvelopes are made entirely from paper and glue, are plastic free, recyclable, biodegradable and made from sustainably sourced materials, so they’re a great planet friendly packaging solution.
Packing tape is a standard packaging product for any eCommerce operation, but traditional plastic packing tape can be very damaging to the environment. Taking up to 20-30 years to break down, plastic packing tape may be a convenient packing choice, but it’s definitely not the most eco-friendly choice around. Making the swap to a paper alternative is simple with so many variations available in a range of sizes. A great value option is Eco-Friendly Self Adhesive Paper Tape; a paper based packing tape that can be applied in the exact same way as standard plastic tape and can be used with tape dispensers for quick application in busy operations, it’s ideal for sealing boxes and consignments. It’s recyclable, biodegradable and plastic free, so there’s no need to worry about removing it from cardboard before disposal, it can all be recycled together. Offering a rustic, eco finish to your consignments, paper packing tape is a real quick win when it comes to planet friendly packaging swaps.
Bubble Wrap Alternatives
With every piece of plastic ever made still in existence in some form, it’s no surprise that the search for plastic free packaging alternatives is prevalent. Moving away from traditional bubble wrap and working towards paper or cardboard alternatives is a popular packaging trend, and the eco credentials and rustic finish of paper or cardboard void fill is very appealing and en vogue; ideal for creating the perfect unboxing experience this peak. Some popular choices are; the Geami Wrappak, a honeycomb paper layer with an inner white tissue interleaf paper that can be wrapped around items to create innovative, eco-friendly protective packaging that is biodegradable, recyclable, compostable and plastic free. Shredded Paper and Wood Wool Void Fill; biodegradable, recyclable, plastic free void fill packaging that offers cushioning protection to goods during transit. Or Corrugated Cardboard Rolls, a flexible, cushioning protective material that is recyclable, biodegradable, plastic free and made from sustainably sourced materials. With so many choices on the market, making the swap to plastic free, sustainable options has never been easier.
Carbon Neutral Couriers
When it comes to getting your products to your customers, you want a fast, reliable service that can guarantee the safe delivery of your goods; particularly during the busiest time of the year. But have you thought about how that delivery service is contributing to your carbon footprint? Switching to a courier service who offer carbon neutral deliveries – such as DPD – is an easy, effective way to ensure that your goods are being delivered in the most eco-friendly way possible.
Another thing to consider when evaluating the planet friendliness of your operation is your inbound deliveries. Placing small orders every couple of days for your packaging and other operational supplies means multiple deliveries, whereas placing larger, bulk orders less frequently results in less deliveries and therefore, fewer vans on the road and less carbon emissions. Reducing by even one delivery a week can have a positive effect on the environment; small changes make a big difference.
This time of year brings added cardboard waste that needs to be disposed of correctly in order to be recycled. Rather than organising for waste collections, start recycling in house with a cardboard shredder. Turning cardboard waste into packaging treasure is as easy as pressing a button, offering free, environmentally friendly void fill packaging out of materials you would normally throw away. Cardboard shredders create bulk matting materials for you to use in your consignments as an eco alternative to bubble wrap with a rustic, eco finish – ideal for planet friendly Christmas despatches.
Although it is a larger change that’s more expensive to implement, cardboard shredders are not just for Christmas; a machine like this is perfect for use all year round in any operation, could eliminate the need for waste collections altogether and significantly reduce the amount of protective packaging you would need to purchase. It’s definitely a solution that is worth considering if your operation regularly produces a significant amount of cardboard wate.
Going green this peak season doesn’t need to be difficult or too costly. Making small packaging and operational changes can add up to a big difference, using eco-friendly packaging at this time of year is a great chance to improve customer experience and show that you are serious and invested in the fight against environmental damage. Ensure that you are ahead of the game for the biggest peak ever and start making a difference now; there’s no time like the present.
Contributor: Priory Direct
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail’s Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.