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Eco-Friendly Shipping Practices for Online Sellers


During the COVID pandemic, the world witnessed an eCommerce boom. That trend is continuing. For online sellers like yourself, that means more sales. Awesome. But, like all progress, this comes with its own issues. Most notably, for our environment. Currently, nearly a third of waste in the US comes from eCommerce packaging. So, now more than ever – we’re in need of eco-friendly shipping solutions in the eCommerce world.

You could play a HUGE part in saving the planet, simply by shipping sustainably. And it’s super easy to go green! Below, you’ll find a host of small eco-friendly shipping practices you can apply right away. Ultimately, they’ll each add up to have a big impact.

But first, why should you be an environmentally focused shipper? Let’s talk about your impact, what your customers actually want, and how you’ll save money…


Why Should You Ship Eco-Friendly?


You’ll be a big part of a much needed solution

Studies show that shipping could contribute to nearly a fifth of all global carbon emissions by 2050. The key word here is “could”. That could change. And you could be a huge part of that change by adopting eco-friendly shipping methods.


You’ll give your customers what they want and improve your brand image

Small eCommerce retailers often have reservations about switching to more sustainable shipping practices. It’s not that they don’t want to – they’re just worried about the consequences. One of their main worries is that they’ll lose their loyal customers. Why? Because they think they’ll have to up their prices to make margin for green shipping. And that these higher prices will then turn customers away.

However, the opposite is true. Two-thirds of buyers place huge importance on eco-friendly practices when shopping online. 92% of shoppers are more likely to trust a store that is environmentally conscious. And nearly 90% will have a positive image of a brand that supports sustainability. Essentially, your customers want to shop more eco-friendly, and they’ll think better of your brand if you practice sustainable shipping. Plus, they’ll even be willing to pay more if you have to up your prices.

You’ll actually save money

A lot of people think it’s more expensive to be a green shipper. Again this isn’t true. A massive part of environmentally friendly shipping is using and wasting less material. The less packing material you use, the less your package weighs. And when your package weighs less, it costs less to ship. To add to that, you’re not paying for extra shipping supplies.

9 Eco-Friendly Shipping Practices for your Small Business

1. Ship with recycled materials

Want to fight back against the pollution caused by the paper industry and ship eco-friendly? Well, start by using recycled materials. There are plenty of places to get recycled shipping supplies. Shipping boxes and mailers from carriers USPS, UPS and FedEx are made with recycled materials. Alternatively, EcoBox is an excellent option for affordable reused boxes.

FYI: If you’re looking for recycled materials, try local businesses. Other businesses near you will get dozens of deliveries each week. That’s loads of boxes, mailers and fillers with your name on them!

2. Use biodegradable packaging

Remember that stat about how much waste is coming from eCommerce packaging? You can encourage your customers to be more sustainable themselves. However, you’re never really in control of where your packaging materials end up once you’ve sent them. But what you can do to sidestep this enormous waste problem is use biodegradable packaging. These materials are free from nasty chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Plus, they’ll decompose way easier! So, whether it’s plastic wrapping or packing peanuts – make them biodegradable!

Where can you get biodegradable materials? The Packaging Company are an excellent option for biodegradable and recycled shipping materials.

3. Make sure your boxes are the right size!

Wearing a shoe that’s the wrong size for you will leave you with blisters. Ouch. Similarly, using a box that’s too large for your products will hurt your purse. You’ll need more packing material to fill the box and your box will weigh more. That means you’ll pay more for shipping supplies, and you’ll also basically be paying for air. So, reducing your package size is wise for your wallet. You’ll also be practicing planet-friendly shipping. Less packaging means less waste.

4. Consolidate your orders

Another way you can pack more sustainably is to consolidate multiple orders in the same package. This way, you’re not using different packaging for each item and you’re reducing waste. It also results in less boxes being put on a truck. This means less transit time and reduces carbon emissions.

Customers may have to wait a little to get all their purchases together. But give them the option. Buyers are now on the lookout for sustainable shopping. They may be more than willing to wait. To add to that, they’ll also save money on shipping costs.

Have you Heard? Ship.com allows you to quickly combine multiple orders to create one shipping label. This way, it’s easy to save money on shipments and cut down on packaging.

5. Tell your buyers to reuse and recycle materials

As we mentioned earlier, you can’t control what your customers do with their packaging once they get it. That being said, you can educate them. Tell your customers how they can recycle materials or reuse them for their own shipping. Offer them tips on how to make sure materials break down.

How? Well, probably not with a paper “top tips” sheet. That would mean more material and more waste! But you could give advice on your YouTube channel or through your blog. You may even want to include eco-friendly shipping tips in an email to your customer once they’ve got their product.

6. Use a thermal printer to print shipping labels

Your home printer is a convenient and easy way to print shipping labels. Pro. On the other hand, it’s not hugely environmentally friendly. Con. The solution? Thermal label printers. Direct thermal labels are a much better choice if you’re looking to implement sustainable shipping methods. By using a thermal printer, you’re not using ink. And therefore, you’re not constantly left with a waste product that can’t be recycled.

Where can I get a cheaper thermal label printer? It’s easy to say – “Hey, get a thermal printer and ship more eco-friendly”. But they can be costly. Not a lot of small business owners have the budget for them. However, you can buy refurbished Zebra printers on Amazon or eBay for around $100-$250. That’s almost $300 dollars cheaper than buying new.


7. Reduce returns

Reducing returns is a simple way to be a more environmentally friendly shipper. Think about it. If items are returned, then more fuel is used to get your products back to you. This then has a negative impact on the planet. So, try to get the number of items being returned to you, down. You can do this by:

  • Making sure you’re delivering the correct items.

  • Checking for damaged items before they’re shipped and having good quality control measures.

  • Giving an accurate picture of your products online. This way, customers know what they’re getting and they’re less likely to return items.

8. ​​Schedule home pick-ups

Home pick-ups are hugely convenient. They’re also eco-friendly. Carriers can combine pickups and therefore, reduce carbon emissions. Plus, you don’t have to make 23 trips to the post office in one week. Want to reduce carbon emissions? Stay at home, don’t drive to the post office, and have your products picked-up and shipped. Easy.

Did you know? With Ship.com, you can arrange a home pick-up in just 2-clicks? So you can save the environment and 90 minutes or more per week.

9. Offer paperless tracking receipts

Lastly, a final sustainable practice to help you win the war on paper waste. Customers LOVE being able to track their order. It gives them a sense of security and confidence. So, offer them a way to do it. And to be a green shipping warrior, give them a way to do it that’s paperless.

One example of this would be the Ship Mobile App. The App syncs with your customers Gmail account, so they won’t even need to search for a tracking number! Never mind getting it on a piece of paper that’ll be thrown away.

Did we mention? With the Ship.com app, your buyers can also auto-track their package, get real-time updates, and receive delivery notifications. Your customer will even receive branded shipping notifications.

Takeaway – Going Green Saves the Planet and Your Purse and It’s Easy to get Started

Going green with your shipping doesn’t mean you have to make drastic changes. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You can be an eco-friendly shipper by applying simple and small practices. Like the ones above. It also doesn’t mean you’ll spend lots of money or lose your customers. You’ll actually save money by using less material. Plus, your customers want to shop sustainably and will LOVE that you’re earth conscious. So, pick a practice, start small, and go save the world.

Want to Make Your Sustainable Shipping Seamless?

You’re ready to make your shipping more sustainable. Cool. Now, are you ready to make your shipping streamlined and seamless? By using the Ship.com Platform, you can:

  • Print heavily discounted USPS and UPS labels in just 3 clicks. That includes up to 77% off UPS Ground!

  • Arrange a free home pick-up in just 2-clicks and save over 90 minutes per week on pesky post office trips!

  • Import customer order information automatically and reduce shipping errors.

  • Easily email return shipping labels.

  • Batch purchase several shipping labels at once and print multiple labels, pack lists, or packing sheets. Forget manually printing labels with ALL of the same shipping parameters.

  • Quickly combine multiple orders to create one shipping label. Reduce your shipments, save the planet and save yourself precious time and money.

MAKE YOUR SHIPPING SIMPLE TODAY…

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