Companies, like Verde Fulfillment , need to use various forms of packaging to help them send out their products and ensure they show up in good shape for their customers. But when workers use too much packaging for a single product, it can result in a ton of packaging waste. With a move towards protecting our environment, many companies are looking for simple methods that help them reduce their packaging waste.
Research estimates that about 82.2 million tons of packaging waste is produced in the United States annually, and the packaging industry produces more than triple the rate of plastic waste compared to the next highest sector. We must reduce this extraordinary amount of waste to help our environment and improve shipping efficiency.
So, how are companies reducing their packaging waste to protect the environment while still providing the best experience to their customers? Here are a few simple ways that can make a difference.
Using Sustainable Packaging
One of the steps companies can choose to use to help reduce their carbon footprint and ensure that they do not end up with too much packaging with all of their products is sustainable packaging. Companies should design suitable packaging to sustain and minimize energy use, pollution, GHG emissions, and non-renewable material throughout the whole life cycle of your company’s packages.
You can use a few different examples for this, including biodegradable packaging.
This type of packaging will decompose quickly, helping to take up less space without releasing harmful substances simultaneously. Research some of the sustainable products you can use in packaging materials and then work with your creative team to discover how to turn this into a benefit to make the packaging look great with less waste.
Design with Minimal Packaging
When creating the packaging for your products, you should keep minimalism in mind. How can you ensure the item is packaged nicely and kept safe without using too many materials?
Many of the products we see on the shelves have three layers of packaging, providing protection to the product but creating a lot of unnecessary waste. When preparing packaging, consider the product itself and how fragile it is.
Rather than throwing a random pile of packing materials within, customize it for the product in question, minimizing layers and cutting out any unused material to reduce the weight of the package, which will save your company money and reduce waste.
Use Recycled Materials
For particularly fragile products, you will need to add some cushioning to help make sure the product is safe during transportation and does not suffer damage. Contemplate these products carefully because you need to find a happy balance here. You can compensate for the additional packaging by using recycled and recyclable materials since you are not creating new waste, just repurposing the old — a solid habit you can repeat.
Consider replacing the standard foam inlays or the bubble wrap with something a little better. Depending on the type of product or the way that your customers will dispose of the package, these materials are difficult to reuse again.
Some alternatives you can consider include scrap paper or packaging straws since these are biodegradable or easier for the customer to recycle when they are done with it while keeping your product safe.
You can use a wide range of recycled materials to help care for any packaging you will use on your products. Try to find some ways to be creative with your packaging. With some creativity, you can market your product, keep it safe, and still use recycled materials that are good for the environment while getting the product to your customers on time.
Create an In-House Recycling System
Processing some of the used materials you have into a more usable state can be expensive, especially when you choose to have a third party try this. A good investment for your company is an in-house recycling machine. You can remove long-term costs depending on where you live while getting some tax benefits.
The recycling system you choose to use for your business will depend on your business and what you need the most. For example, suppose you decided to use shredded paper to help cushion your products during shipping. In that case, getting an industrial shredder and preparing the paper on your own may make sense. You will not need to pay someone else to do the work when you have the machine, saving time and money for your whole business.
Create a Return Scheme
Your company should consider whether a return scheme or plan will be a good idea. This one works by creating a system that will incentivize customers to return their packaging to you, allowing you to reuse or recycle the items.
There are a few different ways that you can do this. For example, if customers return the packaging, some companies offer reward points or discounts on future purchases. This is a great strategy to help increase customer engagement, demonstrate your company’s commitment to sustainability, and provide you with the necessary repurposing materials.
You may have to experiment to determine what type of return scheme will make the most sense for your business. You then need a team to handle the returns and ensure that customers receive their appropriate points, discounts, or other rewards that correspond with your company’s offer.
The Bottom Line
Many companies do not take the time to contemplate their packaging materials, simply throwing a massive amount of shipping materials along with the product and calling it good. Fortunately, this is the age of “green” and environmental protection , so there is a revolution within the industry as companies clamor for sustainability.
The packaging around your products can cause a lot of waste, especially if you use some of the traditional shipping methods. By being more mindful and watching the type of packaging you use and the amount of packaging, you can help reduce your business’s carbon footprint and work on making the world a better place. Consider what tips work best for your business or perhaps develop a completely new plan that works for you.
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