Three Top Tips for Eco-Friendly Shipping

In recent years, the birth and growth of online shopping has transformed commerce into a truly global phenomenon. Today, it is as easy to purchase an item from another continent as it is to walk down to your local corner shop and buy a pint of milk. This has created a greatly increased customer base for business owners to tap into, and as a result shipping has become the lifeblood of the modern economy.

In the haste to choose a reliable and economical courier service, it can be all too easy to make a decision based on reputation and cost-effectiveness at the expense of all else. However, the companies that retailers rely on don’t always prove to be the greenest choices, and in a world of limited resources this is a mistake that you can ill afford to make, not only from a moral perspective, but also from a commercial standpoint. When it comes to how you conduct your business, customers care, and a green ethos can go a long way towards creating loyalty, admiration, and support for your brand. So, make sure to use a courier service that pays attention to this sort of thing. Luckily, there are many shipping fleets that now use fleet management (from to track their vehicles and ensure they’re not wasting fuel or taking unnecessary trips. By using less fuel, some shipping companies can reduce their carbon footprint.

If this is a fact that you’ve recognised, here are a few tips to set you on the right path…

Tip One: Send Items in Bulk

CC image credit to Mike Renlund
CC image credit to Mike Renlund

Although it’s not always possible to ship items in bulk, in many instances customers are likely to buy multiple products at once. The fewer journeys your courier has to make on your behalf, the lower your carbon footprint. This practice has the added advantage of helping to decrease your shipping costs. Although some couriers will charge by weight, many will simply charge per parcel. You’ll also be saving money with the regards to the fuel used to transport items to your local post office or delivery depot, and the amount of packaging you’re required to use.

Tip Two: Choose Sustainable Packaging Materials

It is estimated that packaging waste represents 17 per cent of Europe’s municipal waste stream, and US estimates place their national figure at around the same. The issue is so prevalent that in 1994 the European Union was forced to pass a directive to address it, harmonising action taken by nations to promote the reuse and recycling of packaging materials. One simple way for you to make your shipping practices a little greener is to replace standard packaging materials with recycled alternatives. As a rule, these shouldn’t be any more expensive, and you’d be surprised by how many materials have eco-friendly versions available (corrugated boxes, paper and plastic mailers, packaging papers and cushioning, and padded mailers, to name just a few).

Tip Three: Choose an Eco-Friendly Carrier

CC image credit to Xtracycle Inc.
CC image credit to Xtracycle Inc.

As obvious as it may sound, many people fail to consider how great an impact the practices of their courier service have on their own carbon footprint. One of the simplest and most effective ways to cut down on your business’s emissions is to take the time to research and find a shipping company that has a good environmental reputation, and has taken measures to improve their practices. There are a number of ways that shipping enterprises can achieve this, from including hybrid delivery vehicles in their fleet, to looking for the most efficient routes for their drivers.

How will you decrease your carbon footprint?