When sending freight it is important to pack it in such a way as to prevent movement and breakage. While your transport or logistics company may have rules and regulations for packaging, they may not consider sustainability to be important. But depending on the kind of freight you have, you can use environmentally friendly packaging quite easily if you put your mind to it. There are several ways of doing so.
- Re-use old packaging from freight you’ve received in the past. It is not difficult to keep and re-use things such as boxes and bubble wrap. Most boxes can be flattened without any harm so it doesn’t take too much room to store them.
- Find larger crates that have been used by watching the classifieds where people who have recently moved may advertise them.
- Visit a recycling centre to see what’s on offer for packaging up your goods. You’ll find many handy packaging goods there.
- If you receive goods on pallets that have been surrounded by plastic wrapping, it might be worth unwrapping them carefully to re-use it. The downside is that it will take more time, but not everyone is in a rush to get things done.
- Use crumpled paper to safely pack small items. Ask friends and family to save their newspapers for you.
- Make sure the size of the box or carton is appropriate. Many boxes have at least 40% space unused that must be filled with foam or plastic of some kind. Larger boxes also take up more room in the truck, making it less efficient in the load it can carry.
- Avoid polystyrene foam as a packaging material as the toxic wastes from it take hundreds of years to disperse. More eco-friendly options include corrugated cardboard or organic starch cushioning.
- If purchasing new boxes, try and source those that are eco friendly, which means the glue used on them is biodegradable.
- If you have a returns policy for items that are not high-ticket, consider not requesting a damaged item be returned. A digital photograph of the damage costs next to nothing to send and most people have a mobile phone to do it with.
- Consider having the transit company pick up your freight, since their trucks are out and about anyway. It could cost you a lot less to have them picked up, rather than delivering to the depot yourself.
One thing you have to watch when making packaging sustainable is not to skimp on how much you use. If there is not enough packaging to make the freight secure so that it arrives at its destination intact, the earth’s resources are not being saved and neither are yours.