Eco is in, and so it should be – going green(er) is important, and we see reflections of raised eco-awareness wherever we go. However, we do see this less in our industry perhaps less than others; we’ve lost track of how much paper we’ve moved around over the years, let alone plastic packaging. This is largely due to the nature of the items we courier, but there are eco-options out there for all customers.
Even in this digital age, printed documents still have a big part to play in a huge number of transactions, and they won’t be going anywhere in a hurry! We know you can’t always cut down on the amount of paper you need to print, but packaging it for delivery is an area where eco-options are available. For example, using a cardboard archive box rather than a plastic one means the packaging can be recycled more effectively if not reused, and also reduces the risk of harmful chemicals from plastic being released into the environment from landfill.
If you are a heavy printer, it may also be worth looking into recycled paper instead of “new” paper – there have been big improvements in the quality of recycled paper in recent years so whilst, once upon a time, there was an obvious difference, this is no longer the case. Quality control is computerised and as such a strict set of rules are adhered to before recycled paper can go on sale. It also reduces the amount of energy spent on using trees to make “new” paper and obviously saves the number of trees being grown and chopped down for paper.
If you’re sending delicate parts or items via courier, then you’ll probably reach for the bubble wrap out of habit. Stop! Whilst bubble wrap IS completely recyclable, this process takes a long time to complete. Most bubble wrap manufacturers use plastic polymer, which takes hundreds of years to disintegrate. There are polythene alternatives available that break down within a couple of years, which is much eco-friendlier as the residue left is also naturally absorbed into the ground.
Alternatively, depending on the parts you’re sending, scrunched up newspaper has long been a good shock absorber and is also more eco-friendly, as it can be recycled and is a renewable resource.
If you want to seal a parcel, think about the sealant you’re using. Is it biodegradable? Whilst some are, a lot aren’t, and this is another aspect of your packaging to consider if you want to reduce your carbon footprint. Biodegradable sealants such as glues and sticky tape/pads are typically made from cellulose and are also compostable.
When you go to write your label, think about whether the label itself is recycled, and the sealant used to affix it to your parcel. If it is to be enclosed in a plastic pouch, is this plastic eco-friendly? Labels are typically small items, but every little helps!