If you’re like many businesses, e-commerce and direct mail have become critical elements of your daily operations. Online shopping is convenient for consumers, and it allows a broader audience to experience your products – what could possibly be the downside?
Unfortunately, packaging and mailing materials used to fulfill orders aren’t always recycled responsibly. Although paper products are recyclable, research from Gartner indicates that 50 percent of businesses’ waste comes from paper. Eco-conscious consumers are paying attention, and according to consulting firm Kearney, 78 percent now think companies should be doing more to mitigate packaging waste.
Finding sustainable solutions for your company’s shipments doesn’t have to be a burden. Keep reading below to find out a few actionable steps your business can take to reduce packaging and mailing waste.
Use Recycled Products Whenever Possible
Although paper products are often thrown away and turned into waste, truthfully, these products are quite easy (and often inexpensive) to recycle. In fact, recycled paper materials are often even cheaper than buying them brand-new. When sourcing products to use for packages and mailings, consider using recycled packing paper, envelopes, cardboard boxes and other paper-based supplies you may need. If you need help finding these resources, send us a message and we can point you toward the recycled products we typically use. This small change can substantially limit the impact on the environment without driving up costs. You can also let customers know your materials are made from 100% recycled products, which may make them feel better about purchasing from your company.
Scale Down Plastic Use
Unfortunately, plastic materials aren’t quite as sustainable as paper products. Bubble wrap and plastic bags may be helpful for organizing shipments and keeping items safe, but they are much more costly to recycle. It can be difficult to find quality recycled plastic items available at a comparable price, and consumers may also be less likely to recycle those materials when they dispose of the package. Instead of using plastic supplies, when possible, opt for packing paper, paper envelopes and other recyclable materials to use for your mailings. These options should still protect your products effectively, while also being more sustainable and budget friendly.
Optimize Packaging Sizes
When sending out shipments to customers, it’s important to be strategic about the size of the packages as well. When you use boxes that are slightly bigger than needed, it results in unnecessary waste and increased costs without a tangible benefit. If you can choose the smallest possible package for each shipment, your company’s costs will decrease, and you’ll use fewer materials overall. If you can significantly decrease the size of your packages, you might also see savings on shipping costs, as smaller and lighter boxes tend to cost less.
Choose Your Printer Wisely
In addition to handling direct mailings and print products, many commercial printers can also print all the packaging materials you need. If you’re not yet relying on these businesses to save money on bulk orders, this is your sign that you should be. Though these printers work with a ton of paper, there’s actually many ways they can be responsible with the materials they use and the waste they create. For example, it’s important to make sure your printer recycles their scrap paper, ink and toner, because most are 100% recyclable and can become pollutants if not disposed of properly. Before moving forward with a new print partner, be sure to ask about their recycling processes and which recycled products they offer to make sure they are being responsible.