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Tips to Achieve Eco-friendly Shipping for Your E-commerce

June 2021
Eco-friendly shipping around the world
Nikolay Pasholok
Product Owner, Calcurates
Many e-commerce businesses leverage being eco-friendly and wear it as a badge of honor. Addressing environmental issues satisfies customers' need to shop for environmentally friendly products.

From the recent insights by IBM, it can be seen that the willingness of consumers to improve their environmental impact is high. Nearly 6 in 10 consumers are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact. Nearly 8 in 10 consumers indicate sustainability is important for them. 62% of consumers buy eco-friendly packaged items according to PwC.

What Is Eco-friendly Shipping?

Green shipping and eco-friendly shipping are not the same. Eco-friendly shipping means that the whole shipping process is sustainable, starting from packaging to delivery. Green shipping is about the use of ecological vehicles and eco fuel to deliver goods. Eco-friendly shipping is about finding new ways to use sustainable materials, ship in bulk, avoid using extra packaging materials, and use ecological ways of transportation to lower carbon footprint.

How Can E-commerce Businesses Implement Eco-friendly Shipping and Be Sustainable?

1. Use Optimal Packaging

One way to enhance eco-friendly shipping is to use sustainable packaging. Also, match packages and product dimensions to obtain higher accuracy of shipping rates. Avoid overstuffing packages with unnecessary packaging material. It is not only environmentally friendly but also cost-effective. There are companies that offer reusable shipping containers that can be returned after delivery is finalized.

2. Recyclable and Reusable Materials

Recyclable and Reusable Materials
UPS offers sustainable packaging that you can order from their official website. UPS packaging meets Sustainable Forestry Initiative or Forest Stewardship Council certification standards. The carrier also offers recyclable air pillows instead of packaging peanuts and bubble wraps which are more harmful to the environment.

Another carrier to leverage sustainable shipping trends is FedEx. FedEx prides itself on having envelopes made from an average of 93% recycled content. Also, their packs, white and brown boxes are made from recycled content.

3. Ship Items in Bulk

If your e-commerce sells small products, group and ship them together. For example, do not sell small products like toothbrushes, or cosmetics by piece. Shipping in bulk is cheaper than shipping small items separately. E-commerce stores can raise their sales if they force customers to increase the number of items bought. Plus, it adds value to the customer as well. Customers are forced to plan their shopping or share an order. The result for you is less shipping, lower shipping cost, and potentially higher sales.
Calcurates Related Features

4. Partner With Eco-friendly Carrier

DHL is part of the GoGreen Initiative which has projects worldwide. Its vehicle fleet was upgraded to a more aerodynamic shape to minimize air resistance and lower fuel consumption. Moreover, 86% of their electricity is from renewable energy sources.

USPS enhances the sustainability of its facilities across the US. All of their new facilities are built and designed in an environmentally friendly way. Likewise, they implemented a new model of cars that use mostly only hydrogen fuel cells.
Join the USPS “Read, Respond and Recycle" program which uses blue containers to discard read mails for recycling.

Support the environment by using paperless tracking and invoicing in the form of QR codes.

5. Limit Return Shipping Policy

The dark side of return policy is that anything can be returned fast and easily. The point of limiting a return policy is to make customers more shopping conscious.
According to The Verge, around 5B pounds of returned goods end up in US landfills each year. Retailers figured out that repairing those faulty products isn't worth it, and it is easier to dispose of them. Offering a zero return policy might save you some extra cost and time.

6. Offer In-store Pickup

In-store Pickup
In-store pickup has many advantages and one of them is that the customer has complete flexibility over their time and pickup location.
UPS My Choice® works together with the UPS Access Point® network, allowing customers to reroute and reschedule their packages to an Access Point® location. All the access points are easily reachable and in convenient locations.

7. Find Eco-friendly Shipping Solution

A great way to achieve eco-friendly shipping is with shipping software. Customize shipping methods to meet eco-friendly standards for your customer. You can automate the whole sustainable shipping process in the way it suits your e-commerce. Calcurates offers Smart Packaging and In-store Pickup features all in one.
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