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Ecommerce, Retail & Inventory

5 Tips Toward More Sustainable Packaging for the eCommerce Seller

There’s been a profound shift in packaging materials over the years, and ecommerce sellers are helping lead the way. Instead of heavily detailed, non-recyclable material for shipping, the move is towards simpler and reusable boxes and material that doesn’t murder the planet with each shipment.

You may be wondering how to jump on this trend, and luckily it’s easy! Follow these 5 tips to get you started on the road to better sustainability in your packaging.

1. Corrugated Material

Most of us know this stuff as cardboard, although they’re not always one and the same. It’s also referred to as pleated paper. What you may not know is this material is some of the most recycled on the planet! Using these for your shipping means not only is the material itself greener, the consumer can easily toss it in the recycling bin and start the process all over again in no time flat.


Use a lot of plastic in your shipping? Skip the usual stuff and replace it with RPET, or Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (might want to stick to RPET!). RPET plastic is made from recycled plastic bottles, creating the same effect as the corrugated material above. You may even be able to use this stuff in your products, as it works on everything from tape to dog raincoats.

3. Pack as Tightly as Possible

Often in shipping we like to leave a lot of room in the box for extra cushioning to prevent damage to the item. The bigger the box, though, the more room it takes up in the truck, which means less boxes can fit, which means more trips, which means more fuel!

If you know an item is going to be just fine, skip the extra room and cushioning and choose a smaller box. It not only cuts down on fuel costs it can save YOU money by reducing materials needed. Also, strangely shaped boxes might be cute, but are hard to fit with 5,000 other boxes, so maybe it’s not the best idea.

4. Redesign Product

Did you need that funky box mentioned above due to the shape of your product? Well, maybe it’s time for a product redesign! It doesn’t even have to be the container your product is in, either. A few years ago, General Mills redesigned their Hamburger Helper line from the ground up. They altered the design of the noodles within to reduce the size of the box, resulting in more boxes being shipped at once!

5. Padded Envelopes

Instead of a box for that bicycle part or sticker collection, stick it in a padded envelope. If it fits and won’t explode when touched there’s no reason an envelope wouldn’t do the trick. It reduces the amount of boxes sent out each day and saves you cardboard and packing material, and usually costs less to ship!

What are some ways you can make your store greener?