Friday, December 3, 2010

Green your Shipping Operations part 2


Be sure recycling is part of your shipping process. Scraps, packing material or other goods that cannot be reused or upcycled should be sent to the recycle bin. Avoid buying packing supplies that come with extraneous packing or waste.

Part of the recycle mantra that sometimes gets forgotten is to also BUY recycled. In the United States, its easy to buy recycled if you ship Priority Mail, because all of their packaging is Cradle to Cradle certified! Check to see if your favorite shipping supply vendor offers products made from 100% recycled content, or with a high post-consumer content percentage. offers several products that are made from recycled content:

Additionally, recycled labels can be found at:

If your favorite supplier doesn't offer supplies made from recycled materials, ask! Show them there is a demand for these products.

If you have unique packing needs, try searching the Internet for greener options by using a search engine like or


How far have your mailing supplies traveled to get to you? Are you driving to the post office twice a week to pick up boxes or to mail items? Are you ordering packing supplies once a month? Driving back and forth to the post office or having goods delivered to you more frequently than needed wastes energy.

Printing your own postage labels at home will save you time and gas - in the United States, you can log in to to arrange for packages to be picked up by your postal carrier. This is more efficient because they are already making the rounds through your neighborhood! Keep in mind, the USPS will also drop off packing supplies to you - order them for free online at

And while it may be painful on your wallet in the short-term, consider ordering your packing supplies in large enough quantities to last a year. You will usually find a lower per-piece price for buying in bulk, and you are saving energy by minimizing the number of deliveries you get (less truck trips to your house saves gas!)

Don’t forget to keep your packages light, especially if you need to use Air Mail. Tissue paper, newspaper, popcorn and paper shreds make for good padding and lightweight packages and help save fuel.

Complete the circle:

Lastly, urge your customers to recycle and reuse the packaging you've invested in!

Wrap items in ribbon or fabric that can be upcycled again and again. Provide your customers with information on how to recycle their packaging and/or what parts of your package are recyclable, and where they can find recycling outlets ( is a good site). This is information that makes great fodder for your newsletters or Message to Buyers.

If you're still not sure you are being as green as possible, you could offset your shipping operations by purchasing carbon credits from a broker such as Terrapass ( Carbon offsets are not without controversy, but you will be funding green energy projects.

What do you do to keep shipping green? 

1 comment:

  1. A very informative post! Thanks for all the helpful tips! :) x