Going green with your packaging

Millions of parcels are sent both within the UK and internationally every year, but how many people go out of their way to think about sustainability when packaging items? You might already make an effort to recycle your wine bottles, drive a hybrid car or swap traditional electricity in favour of solar panels… but with the pressure to be more environmentally conscious, one relatively easy way to be a little greener is to reconsider your packaging habits. By doing so, you won't just be helping the environment, you could save money too.

With this in mind, here are a few tips.

Use less!

This may sound obvious, but the fewer packaging materials you use, the less of an environmental impact you'll have. Of course, you still need to keep your parcel's contents protected, but using smaller outer boxes can actually help with this. If the fit is snug, your item(s) will be less likely to move around in transit, meaning the risk of impact damage is much smaller. Just be sure to make room for some bubble-wrap or polystyrene - using the most environmentally friendly options where possible.

You can also reduce the amount of tape used by making sure it's placed perfectly first time, and by using plastic wallets to protect any documents attached to the package. After all, these can often be removed and used again, as well as being easier to scan through in transit, unlike clear tape.

Recycle when possible

We're all encouraged to recycle food packaging, so why not recycle mailing packaging too? It's easy to start doing this by simply putting your cardboard into the appropriate recycling bin once you're done with it, instead of discarding it completely.

You could even go one better and reuse packaging materials yourself. You'll find that many of the boxes you receive items in are still in good shape, so it's worth keeping them handy for next time you need to send a parcel. In most instances, it'll be possible to safely use a single box at least two or three times before you have to find a new one. And the packaging materials used inside a delivery will almost always be in great condition, so keep all these things for later use.

You'll eventually find yourself with a collection of different materials, including boxes and sheets of bubble-wrap. You can then raid it whenever you have something to send; chances are you'll find something suitable. 

Up-cycle

Packaging materials aren't restricted to just this one use, though. With a little imagination, it's amazing what you can create using some cardboard and tape. You could, for example, pass it on to younger members of the family to use in school projects, or fashion some arts and crafts of your own. Scraps of brown wrapping paper, for example, are perfect for some makeshift gift tags, while the odd bit of thick card can be used to quickly remedy a wonky chair or table.

Eco-friendly packaging supplies

Sometimes, you’ll need to buy packaging from new, no matter how much you want to think green. The good news is that many manufacturers are making materials to fit the bill, either from recycled paper and board, or with recycling in mind. For example;

Boxes: you can get boxes where the manufacturing process results in less CO2 emissions – and not only use less cardboard, they’re lighter than double wall cardboard, meaning reduced weight for posting.

Tape: look for tapes with a smaller core to reduce cardboard waste. And with more tape on the roll, there are reduced packaging costs and fewer CO2 emissions to transport to market.

Stretch wrap: buy plastic wrap that’s coreless – so no cardboard waste when it’s finished. These are often wider than standard wrap, meaning fewer wraps needed, also saving on transport costs.

NOTE:- Do not use black plastic wrapping; it cannot be processed through automated sorting machines and will result not only in delays to transit times for domestic deliveries, but automatic return of internationally bound parcels.
 

Loose fill packaging chips: usually made from polystyrene, environmentally friendly versions are made from starch, making them fully biodegradable and compostable, with no hazardous decomposition ingredients.

So take some time to think about your packaging habits and how they might be impacting the world around you. The tips above might seem a little insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but if everybody took them on board, the environment would benefit enormously!

Related content:

Sending large and heavy items in the post
Packaging parcels for international delivery
Waterproofing and packaging your parcel
How to protect items in transit
How to save money on packaging

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