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What Is the Most Eco-Friendly Way to Ship Goods?
Having a well-planned shipping process is one of the most significant aspects of running a successful online business. Now, e-commerce retailers have to consider how the shipping of their goods affects the environment we all share. The environment is quickly becoming damaged. For that reason, consumers are checking how their orders are being shipped and packed and looking for more eco-conscious retailers.
How you pack and ship your goods can significantly affect the environment. And if you manage to reduce your impact, your customers may become more loyal. In this article, you will discover what is the most eco-friendly way to ship goods and what more you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
Choose a Shipping Provider with Shared Values
Choosing a shipping provider with shared values is vital for the success of your business. If you highly value security and insurance, you could do excellent business with companies that share those values, such as Unival Logistics.
Understand that every shipping company has a fleet, and the way they manage it makes a difference in terms of security, on-time delivery, environmental impact, and more. That said, choosing a reliable company that reflects your company culture, whether eco-friendliness, reliability, flexibility, etc., can significantly boost your business in the long run.
What Is Eco-Friendly Shipping?
Eco-friendly shipping involves using low carbon-emitting modes of transportation and biodegradable and recycled materials for packaging. It can also include consolidating orders into single shipments and using fewer packaging materials.
Often, a goods shipping journey combines different modes of transportation to reach a recipient. They will likely travel via road at the beginning and the end of the process. But what about the rest of the time?
When deciding how your goods are shipped, there are several modes of transport to choose from. Choosing a mode of transportation is a decision affecting environmental impacts, the speed of delivery, cost of shipping, and delay/damage risk. We explore each below.
Sea shipping is the most carbon-efficient mode of transport. However, sea shipments are more likely to be delayed by bad weather when compared to other modes of transportation. Nevertheless, it has a global reach.
You can ship consignments to almost any place by the sea, as there is virtually always a port of entry nearby. Moreover, sea shipment is highly cost-effective for any cargo size. Large volumes of goods can move long distances across oceans or short distances by barge at a considerably lower price than other transport modes.
Air shipping is the most expensive mode of transport and the biggest generator of carbon emissions. However, air shipping is unmatched when time is of the essence. Moreover, air shipping is a very low-risk mode of transport. That said, perishable items and high-value goods are best transported by air. Damages due to poor weather are less likely to happen as flight paths can be more easily and quickly adjusted than other transport modes.
Often underrated, rail shipping is a surprisingly fast, reliable, and safe mode of overland transport. When planning the transportation of your goods, one of the most vital factors in meeting the delivery date. Therefore, choosing a reliable mode of transport is essential.
Rail transport offers that since trains are typically unaffected by weather and capacity on the tracks is tightly controlled by railway authorities. That means it is almost impossible for a traffic jam to occur. In addition, most services are direct to the destination.
Moreover, rail transport is one of the most eco-friendly ways of transporting goods since they run on electricity. They emit minimal CO2 levels. Therefore, this type of transport is greener than other transport modes.
Every logistical movement of goods requires road transportation, at least for part of the travel. Road shipping emits considerable amounts of CO2, but not as much as air. The shipping of goods is often quick to act as there are plenty of shippers with different vehicle sizes.
Supporting sustainability can help you reach more customers, leading to increased profits. The survey results support this statement:
- 68% of millennials purchased a product with an environmental or social benefit in the last 12 months;
- 87% of consumers will have a more positive image of a company supporting environmental or social issues;
- 88% will be more loyal to a company supporting environmental or social matters;
- 87% would buy a product with an environmental or social benefit;
- 92% will be more likely to trust a company supporting environmental or social issues.
Many brands have already implemented green shipping methods and other sustainability practices. If you are not one of them, now is the best time to start. Below are six ways you can reduce the carbon footprint of your online business.
Reduce Packaging Material Waste
Ordering a small product and receiving it in packaging much larger than its content likely happened to most of us. It is sad to see so much wasted materials when a smaller packaging could have been used. To avoid producing unnecessary waste, choose the packaging correctly sized for your product when shipping. Apart from helping the environment by lowering your carbon footprint, it will benefit your wallet too by reducing shipping costs.
Use Biodegradable Packaging
If your packaging is not eco-friendly, it can further harm the already damaged environment. You can use biodegradable plastic or sustainable packaging free from toxic chemicals to help prevent that from happening.
Use Recycled Materials
Besides using biodegradable materials, one of the best ways to reduce shipping waste is using recyclable materials for packaging. You can positively impact the environment by choosing to pack and ship your goods in packaging made of recycled materials.
When you use recycled packaging, you reduce the pollution caused by the paper industry and support companies with the mission to lower our carbon footprint. The recycling industry can make recycled content more widespread and cost-effective with your help. That way, you are also actively supporting a greener world.
For example, newspapers have been a method of keeping fragile things safe. If you’re a small or medium-sized company, you can try reaching out to your local newspaper or recycling centers for unwanted paper products and use them as packaging material.
Eco-friendly Way to Ship Goods: Consider SIOC Shipping
SIOC or ships in its container is a form of product packaging where a product can be shipped to the recipient in its original packaging, without additional packaging, such as an over box. This sustainable packaging option also reduces packaging costs and provides a better customer experience.
Eco-friendly Way to Ship Goods: Consolidate Orders
Another eco-friendly shipping strategy to consider is consolidating orders. However, consolidating can be challenging since consumers are expecting ever-faster delivery. Nevertheless, you can offer customer incentives like freebies or credit for choosing slower delivery options.
If your customers are eco-conscious, forming and marketing an eco-friendly shipping option they can choose can be motivating enough. In addition, consider setting a minimum order before providing free shipping. That way, customers may order more items at a time instead of one many times. Consolidating orders is an excellent way of lowering harmful emissions, and can save you money as well. Typically, the cost to ship one 30 lb. box is significantly less than three 10 lb. boxes.
Donate to Neutralize Your Impact
Making donations to environmental programs is an excellent green shipping option. There is an array of projects to choose from. Ultimately, you decide how much of an eco-friendly impact you want to make, and everything counts.
Eco-friendly Way to Ship Goods: The Future Is Green
After reading this article, you have a good idea of the eco-friendly ways of shipping and what you can do to minimize your e-commerce carbon footprint. You can positively impact the environment by choosing more eco-friendly shipping options, such as sea and rail transportation.
However, that may not always be optimal or possible as some products are too valuable or have a short shelf life. Hence, they must be shipped by air. Or, customers demand fast delivery. In such cases, there are other things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, such as using biodegradable or recycled packaging that fits its content perfectly.
Now, consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, and the best way to keep up with this trend is to make your company more eco-friendly. That way, you can boost your business and be proud of yourself for doing the right thing.