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Switching to eco-friendly packaging – how you can make a difference

Leendert van Delft
Leendert van Delft
2 min read
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This article covers
The latest innovations in sustainable packaging materials
The benefits to your business’s green logistics strategy

Sustainable and biodegradable packaging for e-commerce is now a hot topic. Discover the range of eco-friendly packaging solutions available, and the benefits of making it a key part of your green logistics strategy. 

Eco-friendly Packaging Solutions

In 2024, a new wave of innovative solutions are available, including compostable packaging mailers, and a creative use of seaweed…

 

graphic image of eco friendly packaging

Sustainable Packaging FAQs

Why should my business switch to sustainable packaging?

Plastic pollution is an urgent environmental crisis. According to Statista data, global production of plastics reached a staggering 400.3 million metric tons in 20221. This material ends up in landfill – or worse, the oceans – where it takes decades to break down. Every business has a responsibility to choose sustainable alternative materials for their packaging. Making the switch will help your business reach its own green logistics targets, too.

Your current (and future) customers are paying attention. E-commerce consumers are increasingly concerned with the impact of their purchasing habits – with the packaging and delivery of their orders attracting particular attention. In DHL’s Global Shopper Survey 2023, 72% of consumers said they would be prepared to pay extra for sustainable packaging (44% “sometimes”; 28% “always”).  

Governments are tightening their rules. In an effort to tackle the plastic crisis, the European Parliament and Council recently agreed to draw up legislation requiring all packaging to be fully recyclable by 2030. With other countries likely to follow suit, businesses will be required to be compliant with new packaging regulations. 

  

How can I implement sustainable packaging?

Audit your current packaging materials. Look at your products and the packaging you use to ship them. Consider what packaging you could substitute with more eco-friendly alternatives, and where you could cut down on packaging you simply don’t need.

Listen to your customers. Are they asking for refillable containers? Would they be willing to pay extra for eco-friendly packaging solutions? This feedback should inform your strategy.

Make incremental changes. Start with small-scale alterations, like switching to recycled materials. Then think strategically and set goals for the bigger changes, such as removing plastics from your supply chain altogether.

Work with like-minded partners. Research green supply chain partners that align with your goals. Your aim should be to form positive and collaborative relationships, and support each other in developing more sustainable materials and supply chain processes.

Buy in bulk. As well as achieving cost efficiencies, bulk-buying packaging is better for the planet, because ordering larger consignments reduces the number of deliveries and therefore the emissions involved in bringing the materials to you.

Make continuous improvements. Sustainable packaging is just one part of green logistics. It should be combined with wider changes within your business, such as implementing eco-friendly shipping practices. 

 

Is sustainable packaging more expensive?

The answer isn’t straightforward as there are many variables, such as the specific materials being used. But sustainable packaging doesn’t just refer to the materials themselves – the way the contents are packed is important, too. Manufacturer Packsize estimates that the average box is 40% too large for its contents. This means additional space is required during transportation, costing the shipper more money.

Businesses should also consider the cost benefits of using sustainable packaging in terms of the extra sales it can generate. Eco-conscious consumers can be deterred from shopping with a brand again if their orders arrive in excessive amounts of wasteful packaging.

 

Sustainable packaging is just one part of a green logistics strategy. By partnering with DHL, your business will benefit from a range of environmentally friendly shipping solutions, including GoGreen Plus.