Ecommerce packaging waste has skyrocketed during the pandemic. This is all to do with the rise of online shopping with people opting to shop from the comfort of their couches, rather than pack into crowded stores.
The negative environmental impacts of online shopping are much greater than that of traditional retail. With more and more governments and companies adopting sustainable practices, it is imperative that we adopt sound approaches to packaging to reduce its overall carbon footprint.
Sustainable or eco-friendly packaging has long been lauded as an alternative that has not been as attractive due to the perception of a higher overall cost in comparison to traditional packaging. However, there are ways to lower your environmental impact without breaking the bank.
The Power of Corrugated Cardboard
One incredibly popular and versatile eco-friendly option is corrugated cardboard. Corrugated cardboard is comprised of 3 layers: 2 layers of cardboard which sandwich paper fluting. It is notoriously strong and able to reasonably withstand the normal tussle of standard shipping.
Not only is corrugated cardboard tough, it is often made of recycled content and is universally accepted at most curbside, municipal recycling programs. This means that it can be used over, and over again.
Opting for vegetable based inks is another way to reduce your overall carbon footprint. Vegetable based inks are predominantly made from corn, walnut, coconut, linseed, canola and soy bean oils. Using vegetable based inks ensures that boxes are environmentally sound and will not leak harmful toxic waste into the soil. Soy ink particularly is substantially more effective than its petroleum counterparts.
Choose Custom Boxes
We’ve all seen the packaging fails; Amazon deliveries that carry a small product, in a far-too-large box, cushioned by plastic and swathes of bubble wrap. By creating a custom box, which fits your product, not only can you ensure that you use the right amount of packaging, but it will save you in the long-run. By savings, we mean that you will run less of a risk of your product breaking in transit, or buying a more expensive, ill-fitting box.
Eco-Friendly Protective Packaging
If you want to skip plastic altogether, you can design custom inserts to fit your packaging, and prevent it from moving in transit. Inserts can be made from a variety of materials. Cardboard can be an economical and sustainable choice for inserts. Molded pulp is another option. Molded pulp is durable and made of recycled content.
Another sustainable choice is biodegradable packaging peanuts. These are usually made of corn and can dissolve in a matter of seconds under running water!
Kirsten Crisostomo is a freelance copy and content writer based in Vancouver, BC.