Regardless of how green your practices are within your store or warehouse, the reality is that your shipping processes (whether that be by land, sea or air) are likely having a significantly negative impact on your business’s environmental footprint.

That’s why, in this article, we’re taking a closer look at 3 ways you can implement more eco-friendly practices into your shipping strategy, ensuring your business adheres to the expectations of an increasingly eco-conscious consumer market.

Use eco-friendly packaging materials.

A surefire way to ensure greener shipping operations from the off is to package your products with eco-friendly packaging. By making some considered swaps in your material choices, particularly when it comes to plastics, you can easily achieve the same function and style of less sustainable alternatives – but without the subsequent environmental damage.

Focus on recyclable, biodegradable and compostable materials such as innovative inflated BUBL bags that can be deflated and easily reused. What’s more, by using eco-friendly packaging, you can actively promote an ethical brand image to your customers – serving as a great PR exercise while also doing your part for the planet.

Aim to reduce return quantities.

With ecommerce giants and delivery services becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of global shipping and deliveries, an effective way for businesses both big and small to reduce their transportation footprint is to reduce the likelihood of returns. After all, what’s more damaging than shipping something nationwide or internationally, only to have it sent straight back again.

To do this, evaluate your current return rate to establish the primary reasons for product returns – actioning the appropriate alterations accordingly. For example, if products are regularly damaged during transit, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your parcel carrier or shipping provider.

Additionally, pay attention to your business’s returns policy. For example, if a customer is requesting a replacement of a low-value product, consider sending out another without requesting the return of the original item – this way, you’re reducing a 3 trip cycle to 2, subsequently minimizing pollution levels all the while.

Remember that size matters.

When it comes to shipping, size matters! Unnecessarily large packaging for products is environmentally damaging in a variety of ways, so be sure to focus on ensuring your packaging is concise, practical and efficient.

Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, is the overuse of packaging – whether that be excessive outer packaging or void fill – and is a waste of resources which can be particularly environmentally damaging if you’re not already using eco-friendly materials. Secondly, by increasing the size of the product as a result of packaging overuse, you’re subsequently increasing the amount of space required for it to be placed in transit – meaning less products will be able to fit on a pallet or in a delivery truck, to the wider detriment of the environmental efficiency of your courier.

As you can see, ensuring your shipping process follows more eco-friendly practice doesn’t have to mean making drastic changes.

Instead, it simply requires some careful consideration and some small, yet effective, amendments that can have a major impact both on the sustainability business and, more importantly, the health of our planet.