Ecommerce Fulfilment Services

5 Sustainable Packaging Solutions for eCommerce Businesses

A Delta Fulfilment employee using sustainable packaging to pack an order
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You’re running an eCommerce business and working hard to carve out a niche market position. Your products are well positioned, but do your practices match up with your vision to be eco-friendly? Some minor tweaks to your fulfilment process can prove to your customers that you’re committed to being green and give them confidence that you’re paying attention to detail.

Why Choose Sustainable Packaging?

Customers are increasingly making decisions to live healthier and more ethical lifestyles.  Research from the Boston Consulting Group (2023) shows that 79% of UK consumers select products with less single-use plastic packaging. Interestingly, 41% of consumers report that they have either started choosing less single-use plastic packaging or increased their efforts to do this in the preceding 12 months.

We’re all aware that climate change is happening, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to make changes to help reduce our carbon footprint. Under UK law, the government is committed to significantly reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and is encouraging all businesses to move towards more sustainable practices. Whilst 2050 seems like forever away, building environmentally friendly processes into your business model now will help your customers identify you as a leader in your sector.

Why not take inspiration from our top 5 sustainable packing solutions below and start thinking about what you can do to move towards a healthier planet without compromising on quality?

1. Environmentally Friendly Packing Materials

When you’re considering plant-based packing materials, there are so many options out there, from bamboo tissue to cornstarch peanuts to hemp fibre packing. Plant-based packing materials have many benefits – not only do they look great, but they decompose after they have served their purpose, and some are compostable at home. Some also help reduce waste elsewhere; for example, mushroom-based packaging is produced using agricultural waste like hemp and corn husks.

Ever heard of using wool as a packing product? It might seem like an unusual choice, but wool is a great option for e-commerce businesses looking to use environmentally friendly packaging. Wool is a soft natural fibre that is resilient, shock absorbent, insulative, flame retardant, and flexible. Wool is also convenient as it can be packed and delivered flat and is lightweight, so it won’t add to shipping costs.

2. Biodegradable Packing Tape

Biodegradable and eco-friendly packaging tapes are a sustainable alternative to traditional plastic-based tapes. These plastic-free tapes are made from renewable materials like kraft paper, glass fibre, and natural rubber-based adhesives. Choosing a tape made from renewable resources reduces your carbon footprint and prevents you from relying on fossil fuels. The production of tapes like cellulose tape is also more energy efficient than traditional, plastic-based tape manufacturing, so you can also feel good knowing the supply chain is also green!

Many biodegradable tapes can be recycled along with the cardboard boxes they are used to seal without the need to separate them, which is convenient for your customers. And just in case the tape doesn’t find its way into the recycling bin, it will naturally decompose over time, so unlike plastic tapes, it will not take hundreds of years to break down.  

3. Go Green With Recyclable Packaging

The UK throws away a huge 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging a year, averaging 66 items per household per week. Sadly, the recycling rate for plastic packaging was only 44.2% in the UK in 2021, meaning vast volumes of plastic end up in landfills or being incinerated. By comparison, the recycling rates for cardboard in the UK are much more encouraging at approximately 71%. As the UK is one of the largest consumers of paper and paperboard globally, this high percentage of cardboard recycling means that a sizeable volume of paper and cardboard is being saved from landfills every day.

Did you know that aluminium is infinitely recyclable? Aluminium is an excellent packaging material, as, unlike plastic, it does not degrade in quality once it has been recycled. It’s lightweight and a total barrier to light, liquids and gases, so it can be a great budget-friendly packaging option for food, cosmetics, and other consumables like art supplies. Aluminium is a particularly great recycled material for food packaging, like long-life packs for drinks and dairy goods, because it prevents oxygen from oxidising fats or making the products rancid.

4. Eco-friendly Packing Bags

Using eco-friendly packing bags will show your commitment to sustainability, which appeals to environmentally-conscious consumers. Eco-friendly packing bags are more versatile and can be designed creatively to enhance branding. And if you want to take things one step further, you can even guide your customer on adding compostable packaging to home or council-run compost schemes.

Eco-friendly mailing bags produced from sugar cane have the same properties as standard oil-derived polythene bags, which means you won’t have to compromise on strength or quality. As a bonus, these bags are carbon neutral, as carbon dioxide is taken from the atmosphere during the growing process, which offsets the CO2 emitted during production and transport.

 5. Reduce The Volume Of Your Packing Materials

It’s worth looking at the size and shape of your packing materials to be sure you’re being efficient. Using overly large boxes means you’re wasting resources and paying far more to ship them. It will also impact how many boxes your courier can deliver, which adds to the pollution created and the carbon footprint of your products.

Eco-friendly packing bags are a great solution for this, as they’re often lighter and more compact than boxes, which can reduce shipping and storage costs.

Stay Ahead Of Sustainable Fulfilment With Delta Fulfilment

Ready to introduce sustainable packing solutions to your order fulfilment process? At Delta Fulfilment, we provide sustainable order fulfilment services to support eco-friendly eCommerce businesses and help protect our planet. Contact our team today to discuss your fulfilment requirements and learn more about partnering with us.

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