5 Ways Ecommerce Companies Can Minimise Packaging Waste

Following on from our post on Why Recyclable Packaging Needs To Be At The Top Of Everyone’s Agendas, today’s article looks at some of the ways businesses can minimise packaging waste and lend a helping hand to the environment.

1. Choose The Right Box For The Job

The primary way you can reduce packaging waste is to choose the right packaging for the job in the first place. Obviously, you don’t want to scrimp on packaging too much and risk having the products you’re shipping damaged in transit, but a slightly smaller box can be used on many occasions, without risking the integrity of the product(s) inside.

It’s a practise known as ‘right-sizing’ – in short, avoiding oversized and unnecessary packaging for individual items. A box that’s too big for a product will need packaging filler added to stop the contents from being loose inside, which incurs extra costs and increases packaging waste.

[Related reading: Pros & Cons Of 7 Different Packaging Fillers]

2. Opt For Reusable Delivery Packaging

This goes without saying. All of the packaging you’re using should at least be reusable, if not recyclable.

Consumers today are not averse to reusing an item of packaging if they can – especially if you highlight that what you’ve sent them can be reused. A simple note in their order confirmation email, for example, would suffice.

3. Follow In Amazon’s Footsteps & Use Frustration-free Packaging

In November 2017, Amazon celebrated its 10th holiday season of frustration-free packaging. It’s an initiative that the eCommerce giant says has saved an incredible 181,000 tons of packaging material and avoided 307 million shipping boxes.

The idea is simple: avoid plastic bindings, wire ties and clamshell casings. As a result, packages are simple to open, which in turn reduces so-called customer “wrap rage”.

So as well as helping to save the environment, companies can also positively impact their customers’ unwrapping experiences, making it a win-win approach.

4. Look To Combine Shipments

Customers frequently order more than one item at a time. However, not all products boast similar turnaround times when it comes to getting them dispatched. To avoid customer dissatisfaction, orders are often sent out in more than one shipment and that means extra packaging.

A simple way to reduce the number of times this happens is to give your customers a shipping discount if they are willing to wait for all their items to be shipped together. You will also benefit as you’ll ultimately spend less on packaging and be able to realise a shipping discount yourself by combining products.

5. Train Your Staff

This final tip is one that’s often overlooked, but something that can have a noticeable impact on the amount of packaging waste your business is creating.

Your staff may be unaware of recycling initiatives you may have, or not understand the importance of reducing waste wherever possible. Provide all your warehouse operatives with specific packaging waste training as part of their induction programmes and ensure any recycling initiatives you utilise are clearly outlined in your place of work.