There are three main principles to follow when building your sustainability approach to e-commerce packaging in order to reduce your carbon emissions:
- Avoid as much single use or un-recycled packaging as possible, with a heavy emphasis on reducing the use of plastics. As seen in the chart below, the CO2 emissions for plastic production (PVC) are over double that of corrugated cardboard.production according to Dimitri Weideli Environmental Analysis of US Online Shopping.
- Minimize the amount of packaging you are using:
- Consider creating packaging that is plain enough on the outside to avoid needing a second shipper carton. If someone is buying your product from an ecommerce site, they’re likely heavy online shoppers and are already looking for ways to better manage the waste associated with package deliveries.
- Consolidate your packaging designs so that you can maximize the amount of product you can fit on a truck.
- Your freight, drayage and storage expenses can be all be reduced if you focus in on this.
- This also greatly reduces the carbon footprint of your product, average truckload’s emissions are calculated at a rate of .204gCO2e/kg-km, and an airplane’s emissions are calculated at 1.057gCO2e/kg-km (EPA 2008).
And as far as packaging options go, there are a range of eco friendly options that are available for ecommerce that you can learn about here.
If you are interested in creating a supply chain with sustainability in mind, we can help!
As a part of our Brand Strategy services, we can analyze your product and provide suggestions to help you maximize opportunities to make your product more sustainable, and your shipping products more affordable.