Sustainability is the buzzword of the moment in the world of business. At the heart of sustainability is a commitment to meeting the needs of the present without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Plenty of businesses have come to embrace these values in their operations. The reasons for this include:
- Sustainable practices produce little to no environmental waste
- It is safe for people and the environment
- Sustainable practices boost a companies’ image in the market and among customers
- Green packaging costs less to manufacture than regular packaging materials
If these advantages sound interesting to you, perhaps you can try incorporating sustainability into your business plans, as well. Here are some surefire ways to do just that:
Opt for biodegradable packaging
Sustainable, eco-friendly packaging is usually made of recyclable, recycled, or renewable materials. They are safe and sustainable to use for individuals and the environment.
For example, cardboard pallet pads and compostable paper envelopes are good alternatives to plastic packaging. You can also use newspapers, recycled tissue paper, recycled poly mailers, and eco-friendly shipping labels. If you’re a smaller company, try reaching out to your local newspaper or recycling center for unwanted paper products to use as packaging material. Regardless of what you’re using, all materials should be biodegradable and free from toxic chemicals.
Decrease packaging waste
Choose packaging materials that are appropriately sized for your product. Don’t package small items in a box or mailer that is too big and will only be thrown into the trash. Don’t double-box orders unless absolutely necessary. Give your customers fewer materials to dispose of. This will reduce your carbon footprint, and help you save on shipping costs. Even packaging slips can be made more sustainable by using digital slips either sent to your customer’s e-mail or mobile devices.
Implement an environmentally-friendly shipping strategy by offering to consolidate orders. This will reduce the number of vehicles you’ll be putting out on the road, which results in lower emissions. This can also save you money. You can set an order minimum on your products before providing free shipping. This will encourage people to be more discerning about placing an order. They will choose to order several items in one go rather than placing separate single orders.
Rather than driving to the shipping office to drop off your shipments, it can be more cost-efficient and eco-friendly to arrange for pick-ups. You save money on fuel costs, while also lessening your carbon emissions by driving. Delivery service routes are already optimized to be fuel-efficient, and delivery drivers can easily make a stop by your area to pick up orders. Most post offices can pick up packages for free, while certain delivery companies charge a small fee for pick-ups. These fees are usually still cheaper than what you would be spending on gas.
Optimise your return plan
Online sales receive a high number of returns, so you should develop a viable return plan that is eco-friendly. For smaller and less valuable items that are already defective, you might offer to send a new product to the customer without asking for the old one back. This would save you money and cut down on carbon costs that accumulate from shipping. If the defective product is more valuable, you can require customers to drop it off in-person or offer repair services.
There are plenty of ways to go green with your business. The easiest way would be to adopt more sustainable packaging practices using these helpful tips.