Improving your shipping packaging sustainability without breaking the bank

We know consumers care about sustainable shipping methods when online shopping. Recent studies have found that not only are as many as 69% of consumers willing to pay more for sustainable options, but nearly 50% of consumers have found an increased interest in sustainability in the past year.  

So, it may be in your business’ best interest to consider how you could make your shipping packaging more sustainable. But how expensive and realistic is that thought? In this article, we take a look.  

How much does sustainability mean to consumers?  

While consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly options, there is a limit. The majority of consumers who answered that they would pay more were willing to pay up to 5% more. Only 4% were willing to pay 20% more.  

What does this mean for your business? While a commitment to sustainable shipping options is becoming increasingly important to your customer relations and brand reputation, you are limited in how much of the cost of implementing those changes you can expect to recoup.  

When planning how to increase the sustainability of your shipping packaging, keeping this cost-benefit metric in mind will be important.  

There are several ways to make your shipping methods more eco-friendly.  

The thought of making significant changes to your shipping processes can be daunting, especially if there is extra cost involved. However, there are various solutions for your packaging’s sustainability, and not all of them come with a big price tag.  

Reduce package sizing/excess packaging. 

It’s always a little ridiculous when a big box arrives on your doorstep with a tiny item surrounded by heaps of plastic inside. It feels wasteful.  

One way your business can increase sustainability without significantly increasing costs is by optimizing package sizing and reducing excess materials. Smaller packaging creates less waste and reduces any shipping fees that are charged by dimension. Excess packaging inside your parcel or box, beyond what is needed to protect the contents of your shipment, is also an unnecessary expense that often ends up generating trash.  

Use recyclable materials where possible.  

Depending on your packaging options, recyclable materials may actually be a less expensive option than their alternatives. Cardboard boxes, for example, are as much as $15 USD cheaper than their plastic alternatives of the same dimensions. The opposite can be true of filler materials, though. Plastic packing peanuts, for example, tend to be less expensive than shredded kraft paper. However, re-examining your packaging and cutting down on excesses may reduce your need for expensive filler.  

When it comes to recyclable materials, some solutions may be more cost-effective than others. Doing your research, talking to vendors, and examining how much of that cost you can put on your customers will help you determine what is the best choice for your business.  

Increase customer awareness.  

With a little ingenuity, this is a very cost-effective option to reduce shipping waste. You can encourage customers to reuse or recycle packaging by including messages or symbols that highlight the recyclability or reusability of the packaging. For example, you can use packaging that can be easily repurposed or include instructions for how customers can recycle or reuse the packaging. This is not only a potentially creative way to connect with customers, but also helps educate them on the materials they, as consumers, are using.  

Implement reviews of your shipping environment.  

Regularly review and audit your packaging processes to identify areas where you can further reduce waste and improve sustainability. You can seek feedback from customers, employees, and stakeholders to identify opportunities for improvement. 

In conclusion… 

Transitioning to more sustainable business options can improve your reputation and relationship with your customers – but it doesn’t have to break the bank.¬†¬†