How Shipping Companies Can Go Green
Do you like getting extra credit or free shipping when you choose a more eco-friendly shipping option? When given the option, do you save the number of boxes you receive with a single order? Do you prefer paperless invoices?
Some logistics businesses are in the process of reducing the environmental impact of delivery and logistics processes. Customers are becoming more environmentally aware, placing emphasis on choosing green companies. As a result, shipping companies must decrease their carbon dioxide emissions, deal with waste disposal and overall waste management, and use recyclable materials. When you start working with a logistics provider, set yourself up for success by opting to use a specialized shipping strategy. Standard ground freight, for instance, will undoubtedly result in your medical equipment being damaged. Similarly, you should seek out a 3PL that offers air ride, blanket wrap shipping. This shipping service is designed to provide your shipment with the smoothest, safest ride possible.
- Incentivize sustainable delivery options at checkout
- Automate route optimization to increase vehicle efficiency
- Use order batching to increase drop density
- Dispatch first to electric delivery vehicles (EV) or an eco-friendly partner fleet
- Perform hyperlocal deliveries from nearby stores
- Use bikes for local, urban delivery
- Digitize the paper trail, from product details to proof of delivery
Incentivize Sustainable Delivery Options at Checkout
Having a single item in a box is wasteful. At checkout, offer to group multiple items into one package. Also, offering an option to get the package later will save the customer some money. Online shoppers are often happy to wait longer so they can get free shipping.
Moving an order from same-day to next-day delivery gives time for more optimized dispatching and routing, and generally results in lower costs for the business. This is an environmentally friendly logistics service.
Automate Route Optimization to Increase Vehicle Efficiency
Technology advances happen everyday. Companies can provide their drivers with a route planner map. This optimizes multi-route stops and increases driver efficiency. By creating more efficient routes, costs are cut by needing less drivers and trucks, and energy use is reduced. It’s a quick win for more sustainable logistics.
Use Order Batching to Increase Drop Density
By “batching” or grouping together goods going out to the same area in the same time window, businesses can reduce the number of vehicles dispatched and maximize their energy efficiency.
Dispatch First to Electric Delivery Vehicles (EV) or an Eco-Friendly Partner Fleet
Intelligent fleet management algorithms can prioritize dispatch of an eco-friendly fleet first. This can be done by purchasing EV vehicles, or by collaboration with an EV fleet.
Perform Hyperlocal Deliveries from Nearby Stores
Hyperlocal fulfillment can actually cut costs for retailers by eliminating large shipping fees and distribution center costs. Local ship from store logistics both enables faster delivery and lowers fuel costs.
Use Bikes for Local, Urban Delivery
Companies can also go green by using bikes or walking as a delivery method. However, this may not be the right option for all products (like those delivered by MoveIt) but can be the perfect solution for a company with hyperlocal urban deliveries of small orders. No gas, no emissions, and the delivery person even gets a workout during the job.
Digitize the Paper Trail, from Product Details to Proof of Delivery
Technology advancements have made it so that order details, invoices, and proof of delivery can be paperless. There’s no reason for a retail or logistics company to be using paper today. Companies can digitize all operations and cut back on paper costs as well as saving trees along the way.
Eco-friendly shipping includes the use of biodegradable material for packaging and shipping products that can easily be recycled, used for other purposes, and don’t take as long to decompose.
Best Practices for Eco-Friendly Shipping
- Opt for eco-friendly packaging
- Offer customers the option to offset carbon during checkout
- Reduce your packaging size
- Offer a sustainable returns program for your products
- Implement compostable mailers
- Push ground-based shipping when possible
- Encourage customers to reuse and recycle packaging
Opt for Eco-Friendly Packaging
Packing options matter. The packing we choose such as bubble wrap and plastic bags can contribute to the retail packaging waste. You can keep your carbon emissions as low as possible by opting for sustainable packaging and shipping materials like compostable mailer bags and biodegradable packing peanuts. Use eco-friendly boxes, mailers, and other supplies to minimize the impact on the environment.
Offer Customers the Option to Offset Carbon During Checkout (Coming Soon at MoveIt!)
Carbon offsetting is a way to reduce the harmful effects of a specific carbon-emitting activity through funding projects and ventures designed to soak up the resultant emissions, give back to severely impacted communities, and even reduce future emissions.
Reduce Your Packaging Size
Your packages should be packed efficiently and in the best box size. This reduces a shipment’s dimensional weight and overall costs, but it also helps you cut back on waste. Packing a small item in a big box is a common packing mistake businesses make, and one that consumers are quick to notice.
Create a Sustainable Returns Program for Your Products
Reduce your carbon footprint by offering a more sustainable returns process for your products. Creating a mutually beneficial returns program is a win-win for both you and the customer. For example, brands can use QR codes in the US so that there isn’t a need for any new packaging.
Implement Compostable Mailers
Compostable mailers are a great alternative for a plastic bag. Companies can also have fun with this packing method and have the option to add a personalized unboxing experience for their customers. The mailers are made from recycled plastics and align with the commitment of sustainability within the ecommerce industry. There is also a second adhesive strip, so the mailer can be used once more.
Push Ground-Based Shipping When Possible
To decrease the number of shipping days, you can take a data-driven approach to be in fulfillment centers near your customers while reducing the average shipping zones you ship to. This gets you closer to your customers to reduce overall transportation routes.
Encourage Customers to Reuse and Recycle Packaging
Companies should communicate to their customers that their packaging can be reused or recycled. They can encourage their customers to recycle by giving them instructions on how to ensure materials can break down, especially during the holidays.
There are many ways shipping companies can go green. Next time you go to order online or ship a package, consider all your eco-friendly options.
Katie Meyers is an SEO Specialist at SEO Design Chicago. Before joining the SEO Design Chicago team, she interned for them, as well as interned as a Content Writer at HZD Creates. Katie is from Washington State and has an AA and a Social Media Marketing Certificate. She enjoys Gonzaga men’s and women’s basketball, and spending time with her dog, family, and friends. Katie likes reading and taking a variety of classes. Her favorite places to visit include the Oregon coast and a local lake cabin.