Often we are faced with difficult choices about how to maintain our sustainability, from our product to our packaging to in-store distributors. It is incredible to see organic, fair-trade tea or soap that is sold as a grocery store’s house brand. However, the soap is encased with plastic packaging and each tea bag is encased and/or made from plastic. Many businesses are forced to decide between growing their company or maintaining their ethos.
We are here to tell you, that dichotomy couldn’t be farther from the truth! For example, take the Republic of Tea, no plastic in sight! They have compostable tea bags, recyclable or reusable canisters, and ethically-sourced ingredients for their teas. Your ethically made, sustainable products need to be packaged with your purpose-driven mission in mind.
Reduce your environmental impact and package your products sustainably while staying on track. Here are three packaging solutions on how you can kick single-use packaging to the curb.
Ready to start reducing your environmental impact? Here are 3 eco-friendly packaging solutions.
Recycled content and packaging
Reducing your plastic packaging is imperative to reducing your environmental impact. However, we understand it might not be feasible to go plastic free just yet. Recycled materials, paper-based, environmentally-sourced, reusable packaging are ways to ween off plastic packaging and transition to sustainable packaging.
Think about all the waste you see within your business and in your community. Maybe all your suppliers ship your materials to you in too much cardboard. A simple cardboard box is also over 80% biodegradable! Luckily, there are ways to increase recycling or create the waste into something useful. For example, you can cut those down into smaller pieces that can be used as reusable packaging for multiple products. They can even be repurposed into a new product!
Maybe you need to out-source your packaging because demand is too high to be making mailers for each customer out of leftover cardboard. However, the packaging material for your company’s product is available. There are compostable bags, bio-poly mailers, and plant-based options. The world of packaging solutions is wide open. Companies like PackHelp, can help you source the right packaging out of the best sustainable materials for your company and your product!
Reduce packaging size
A big part of running a sustainable eCommerce store revolves around the idea of making each step of your processes intentional. From creating your product to shipping it, you must be mindful of where your materials are coming from. On top of that, you must ensure that your end product and packaging are sustainable.
By paying attention to packaging size, you’re able to make the most effective use of your shipping materials. If you ship with cardboard, maybe you’re reusing a larger box from one of your suppliers and cutting down to size for multiple consumer packages. This way every last bit of that cardboard is being put to use.
When looking at shipping materials, it’s important to consider all your options. Traditionally, larger corporations have used cardboard boxes to ship their products. However, smaller businesses are getting innovative by ditching plastic packaging in exchange for recycled materials. An example of this is using a sheet of tissue paper instead of clear poly bags to keep products protected.
Ship items in bulk
Shipping in bulk offers customers more value, and is eco-friendly too! By being intentional about the number of trips between where you prepare your goods, shipping in bulk reduces your carbon emissions. For example, going to the post office, warehouse, and your customer’s delivery address can all impact carbon emissions.
You can also make changes to the number of products sold at once. For example, when selling eco-friendly hair products, it may make sense to sell products as a set. That includes shampoo, conditioner, and maybe even styling gel, rather than each one individually. This encourages consumers to buy products at once, rather than staggered over a few weeks. Thus, reducing the carbon footprint of shipping products at different times.
The same can be said for the products your customers purchase repeatedly. If you have a popular product that customers return to buy more of, offer options to purchase more than one at a time. This way, you’ll be able to use less packaging on each individual product. Additionally, you’ll cut down on the effect that transporting shipped goods has on the environment.
More resources for your transition to sustainable packaging
Businesses big and small are talking more seriously about their environmental impact and finding packaging solutions. It might be frustrating to find the right solution, but you’re not alone. We’ve put together a few resources for you about how to transition your business’ packaging to more sustainable solutions.
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition has comprehensive guide on package design is the course, Essentials of Sustainable Packaging Core Content. In this course, you learn about design, sourcing, optimization, and the local and larger planetary implications of packaging.
Whole Packs breaks down the difference between terms like biodegradable and compostable, and offers a variety of sustainable packaging guides.
Learn more at EcoEnclose! Their sustainable packaging resource center has an abundance of research and resources for your business’ journey in eco-friendly packaging.
At GoodCarts, we’re always on the lookout for new, ethical businesses and sustainable suppliers that are driving an impact—not in their carbon footprint, but in their like-minded, environmentally-friendly processes and products. Join our growing network of ethical e-Commerce businesses today.
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