Thursday, July 25, 2013

Guest Post - Smart Tips for Eco-friendly Shipping Packaging

Eco Shipping
Shipping is a common part of modern life as we require and desire goods from around the world. Business capitalise on this with many seeking items from all over the globe to offer consumers the widest range of goods in one location. It is not only products we ship, we ship ourselves with more of us relocating to different parts of the world. Including many students who ship their worldly goods half way across the world to their new universities, however, is there any thought behind the materials and suppliers used?

Shipping with recycled packaging

With the amount of recycled materials on the market finding a package container that is made from recycled materials is not as challenging as it used to be. Available recycled packaging materials include corrugated boxes, paper & plastic mailers, packaging papers and cushioning, and padded mailers. These packaging materials can be used again and again to help reduce the amount of new trees and oil needed to produce new packaging.

Inappropriate packaging
When choosing packaging it is important to find a box and supplies that will ensure your items will make the journey in one piece. Double lined boxes and shrink wrap help to ensure the security and structure of the box containing the items you are sending. The box to the right might be a recycled box from a super market but it is not designed to carry more than 2kg of goods. This now means a vast amount of tape has had to be used to re-secure the box to be able to ensure the box holds the goods all the way to the destination. Consequently this has now wasted materials to securing the box that are not so easily recycled. The example in the picture buying a recycled double walled box design to be able to take such a heavy load would have been a better solution.

Waste packaging

Recycling Symbol
Packaging and Packaging Waste became part of the law in the early 1980’s when the European Union passed the Directive 85/339/EEC which covered the packaging of liquid beverages and the materials they had to be contained in. The European Union then passed further measures in 1994 updating the Directive to (94/62/EC). This update to the directive was to reduce packaging waste, at the time packaging waste represented 17% of Europe’s public waste, and more concerning this number had previously been much higher.

Similar numbers are predicted in the US, as in Europe, the percentage of packaging going to landfills in the US can be significantly cut with the adoption of sustainable materials and remembering to recycle. This is an alarming % of waste materials through packaging and lack of recycling.

One way to help reduce the amount of packaging is to buy in bulk or buy locally from somebody who deals in larger volumes. Buying in this way means all the items are combined into a shipment, utilising a larger box, paper resources, packing materials like bubble wrap and the end to end transportation required. It is not perfect and items like bubble wrap with extremely long biodegradable times should be swapped-in for shredded paper and other sustainable materials. If it needs real protection why not consider using recycled wool to protect the product? Sometimes it is necessary to send large volumes of individual packages but if they can be shipped together, this is a more environmentally friendly way of transporting items.

10 Tips for Posting and Packaging:

  • Buy a recycled box designed to hold the weight
  • Use where possible recycled packaging materials
  • Avoid using non-biodegradable packaging unless it can be recycled.
  • Combine items into one shipment where possible
  • Print invoices and way bills onto recycled paper
  • Look for Eco Friendly Tape to secure the box
  • Buy products from within your country to reduce individual item shipping distance
  • Voovit boxes hold the equivalent of a suitcase.
  • If relocating or plan to ship a larger volume than normal of goods, ship in a box and not a suit case. Boxes stack much better than individually shaped suitcases allowing more into the hold, this meaning the flue will be split over more items.
  • Ship with time and not in a rush. Shipping in 24 hours may not mean the van is full, if you can ship in 48 hours not only do you save money but there is more of a chance the transport vehicle will have more goods.
  • Small changes added together make a big difference.

Smart Tips for Eco-friendly Shipping was written by Simon Markland of shipping company VOOVit. VOOVit specialise in shipping excess baggage and small boxes worldwide, visit online at