Selling via e-commerce, you’ve likely noticed a trend in sustainable business practices. Today, with more focus on the importance of sustainability, any businesses that are lagging behind need to catch up. If they don’t, they miss out on doing their part to mitigate climate change and attract increasingly eco-conscious consumers.
In the e-commerce space, you’ll note that you have a few unique options for reducing your impact on the environment, particularly when it comes to packaging. Check out a few tips for making e-commerce more sustainable.
Table of Contents
- Reduce Packaging Use
- Update Your Packaging Materials
- Create Recycling Policies
- Change Your Branding & Messaging
- Offer Bulk Shipping Options
1. Reduce Packaging Use
As a consumer, you’ve likely opened a few packages that you thought contained unnecessary packaging. More than half of United States consumers feel similarly — 57% of people surveyed by IBM said they would change their shopping habits to help the environment, which includes opting for more sustainable brands. Reducing your packaging use can help your business be more sustainable, save on costs and attract new customers.
Test how your packages hold up in shipping with different kinds of packaging. The results will indicate how much packaging you need to include to ensure your products stay undamaged and secured no matter where you’re shipping them. This gives you the ability to eliminate any other unnecessary packaging you may be using.
2. Update Your Packaging Materials
Switching out your current packaging materials for eco-friendly alternatives is one of the best sustainable business practices. While plastic and foam packaging may seem like your only options, you can have your pick of numerous other packaging types, all of which can help you reduce your impact on the environment while still protecting your goods during transportation.
Specifically, molded fiber packaging offers many benefits, including being customizable and biodegradable. This durable, protective option keeps various kinds of products safe during transit. When consumers receive their products, they can easily remove the molded fiber packaging and toss it in their recycling.
3. Create Recycling Policies
No matter the size of your business, implementing recycling policies for your employees to follow can go a long way to boost sustainability efforts. As a result, you can create a more eco-friendly culture in your business. Here are a few options to consider as you build out your recycling program:
- Know when your municipality collects recycling: Check when your local waste management facility collects recycling — they can also often provide recycling bins free of charge. If they don’t collect recycling or only collect some recycling, you can arrange to have a private recycling collection company pick up your recycling for a fee.
- Switch to paperless systems: If your business relies heavily on paper documents, you should think about transitioning to digital alternatives. Set aside time to scan and upload important records, organizing them in your company’s computer network. Shift as many processes as you can to online alternatives.
- Make recycling accessible: The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” applies to recycling, too. If your employees can’t readily access recycling bins in the office, they’re much more likely to toss their items in the trash. Be sure to place multiple recycling cans in each part of the office to encourage employees to recycle.
- Educate team members on recycling: While around 94% of Americans are supportive of recycling, many people don’t fully understand what you can and can’t recycle. For example, you can recycle metal cans, but you can’t recycle cardboard containers with food in them. Before you implement your business’s recycling initiatives, hold a meeting to ensure your team knows how to recycle properly.
- Streamline recycling in warehouses: Always make sure your warehouses or similar spaces are well-equipped for recycling. Offer designated areas for workers to recycle any items they need when packing items or moving products during the workday. When bins get full, ensure you can empty them in a timely manner.
These ideas are just a few ways for you to get started on creating a recycling culture at your business. Keep your employees informed throughout the process, updating them about your progress as a company. Along the way, you may find that your plan needs adjustments — ask your staff for their insights on how you can improve as a whole.
4. Change Your Branding and Messaging
A key way to improve sustainability for e-commerce is to keep your customers in the loop. While reducing your brand’s environmental impact is a smart move to lessen waste and emissions, it’s also a good way to attract and retain customers. As stated previously, many consumers want to buy products from conscious brands.
By updating your brand’s messaging to reflect your new initiatives, your audience will understand the changes you’re making as a company. Keep your customers in the know with timely updates on your website and newsletters. Remember to be specific and provide examples and data when applicable — doing so will help ensure it doesn’t look like your business is greenwashing.
Overall, making it known that your company is taking steps to become more eco-friendly is an essential step.
5. Offer Bulk Shipping Options
For some companies, offering bulk shipping will be a sustainable option. Maybe you sell hand and bath towels — you likely have several customers who purchase multiple towels at once for their own businesses, such as gyms or spas. Rather than have them make separate orders just to get the towels they need, you can offer bulk shipping.
The two main benefits of shipping in bulk are that it’s often less expensive for customers and it reduces how much packaging you have to use. Of course, bulk sales also mean you move more products at one time, helping you bring in profit. Further, a bulk shipping option can be a terrific marketing aspect for your company, especially if you have competitors that don’t offer such a choice.
If selling in bulk makes sense for your business and audience, consider offering it as part of your sustainable initiatives.
Contact Fiber Interior for Custom Packaging Solutions
Fiber Interior Packaging™ molded pulp packaging is made with the planet in mind. Our customizable material can work for nearly any shipping application, from appliances to lights to sporting goods. When your customers receive their deliveries in the mail, they don’t have to fret over unnecessary packaging — they can simply remove the material and dispose of it in their recycling bins.
When you work with the right company, sustainability for e-commerce is simple. Feel free to browse our FAQs to learn more about our product or contact us via our online form to connect with our specialists. If you’re ready to create your unique eco-friendly packaging solution, click here to get started today!