Eco Shipping: Add this to your company's sustainability initiatives - Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Eco Shipping: Add this to your company's sustainability initiatives

February 15, 2022
Green shipping using recycled materials
Is your organization adding eco shipping to your delivery best practices?

In this article:

The climate crisis is on our doorstep, literally. In a previous article, we covered how last mile delivery contributes to the retails industry’s massive stake in industrial carbon emissions. Of course, there are many ways in which a company can address its own carbon footprint and make a real difference in combating the climate crisis. 

This is where a new trend in emissions reductions comes into play: Eco Shipping (also referred to as Green Shipping).


What is Eco Shipping?

Eco-shipping is the simple premise of a retailer shipping its products to customers in a way that minimizes ecological destruction. As we will learn, ecological mindfulness does not have to come at the expense of customer satisfaction nor profit. In this way, the retailer, customer, and environment can be mutually benefited.


Why is eco shipping better than current practices?

A United Nations study found that nearly 3% of all emissions released from human activities come from shipping. Though this number may seem small, 3% of all emissions represents an enormous amount of greenhouse gasses being released into the atmosphere every year. 

This is a critical issue – and one that relates deeply with the climate crisis facing the Earth.  What’s more, the amount of emissions released from shipping is likely to increase as retailers grow their online presences.  

There's no photoshop here... this is what real cargo ship pollution looks like

How can retailers adopt eco shipping?

Eco-shipping comes in a number of forms, here are just a few ideas.

  1. For one, retailers can ship their products with sustainable packaging materials. Well labeled packages are a bonus, such that customers can easily dispose of or reuse them. Check out recyclable tape (link), biodegradable bubble wrap (link), and reusable mailers (link). 
  1. Upcycling is another great form of sustainable packaging. By simply making a shipping box attractive, customers might be inclined to use it as a desk organizer or storage bin, not just throw it away. Think about how people keep cigar boxes for decades!
  1. Another way to implement eco-shipping is to minimize, minimize, minimize. If you’ve ever ordered two pairs of shoes from the same retailer, you’ll know the shock of receiving an enormous box in the mail, just to find the two shoe boxes bouncing around inside. 

Retailers need to reduce the amount of packaging used per unit. In this case, the retailer could order boxes that fit two shoe boxes (and sizes to accommodate other common orders) with little wasted space. The same idea applies to stuffers like packaging peanuts and bubble wrap. If they’re not necessary, ditch them! 

Otherwise, test to see the least amount needed to ensure the product arrives safely. Maybe the most important way to minimize is in weight. Lighter shipments can be transported in greater quantities and with less effort, bringing their individual emissions way down. 

Emissions from retail are practically inevitable; at some point in every product’s life cycle, carbon goes unchecked. This is where Neutrl comes in. Through our ecommerce plugin, we help merchants offset whatever emissions they can’t reduce further, making their products ecologically neutral.

Here are some of the carbon removal projects we support


Happy planet, happy wallet.

Not only can eco-shipping reduce a retailer’s carbon footprint, it can even help their bottom line. Studies have demonstrated that consumers greatly value the sustainability of the products they buy, even seeking them out despite potential premiums. 

“On average, 70 percent of purpose-driven shoppers pay an added premium of 35 percent more per upfront cost for sustainable purchases, such as recycled or eco-friendly goods” concludes one IBM study. 

Moreover, streamlining the shipping process is a neat way to save on packaging materials and shipping costs. Sounds like a win-win, no?


In conclusion...

The climate crisis is an immediate and critical issue facing our planet and our shopping habits play a big part in that. Fortunately, there are an overwhelming number of steps that can be taken to approach the goals of global sustainability. 

One of these efforts is adopting eco shipping to our standard retail practices. Not only does eco shipping address many of the most serious sustainability issues with retail today, it can even financially benefit the retailers who use it. The other, for those looking to do even more, is through carbon sequestration.

FAQ

Want to learn more?
FAQs Eco Shipping

What is eco shipping?

Eco shipping, or Green Shipping, is the simple premise of a retailer shipping its products to customers in a way that minimizes ecological destruction.


Does it cost more to ship eco friendly?

Reducing ecological footprint and price go hand in hand by lowering materials and shipping costs.


What is the most eco-friendly packaging?

Eco friendly packaging comes in all shapes, sizes, and lifecycles (recyclable, compostable, biodegradable, etc). There are models for every product, so you'll have plenty of options! If you are looking for the best overall (not taking specific products into consideration) then you should go with compostable.


What are compostable mailers?

After being used like any other mailing sleeve, compostable mailers can be disposed of with no ecological concerns. Customers and the environment love them!

Sources:

EcoEnclose

IBM Study

United Nations Study