6 Ways to Make Your Shipping More Environmentally-Friendly

We’ve listed below, six environmentally business-friendly practices that online businesses can employ in packaging, shipping, and fulfilling their orders:

1. Go For Smaller Boxes

There’s no reason why smaller items should be shipped in larger boxes. As much as possible, pack tightly as well. This will ensure that you aren’t just shipping air. It will also ensure that more items can fit and be transported at once.

Asides the fact that it makes no sense to have empty spaces in your shipping box, large boxes take the extra space that could have been utilized in delivery vehicles, thereby wasting fuel.

Also, small boxes generally cost less. And so, going for a larger box when it’s not needed is a way to unnecessarily spike up cost.

Arka, a leading packaging expert in the industry, advises business owners to reduce their packaging size in order to minimize cost and environmental waste. They also help e-commerce businesses achieve this by offering them packaging services.

2. Best practices to reduce packing waste:

Here are the main ways you can cut back on the amount of packaging materials you are using to ship products:

  • Don’t use oversized packaging or shipping boxes
  • Don’t double-box orders unless necessary
  • Use the minimal packing filler to keep your product safe inside
  • Consolidate orders from the same user into one package
  • Use digital pick lists and packing slips on mobile devices

3. Offer Carbon-Neutral Shipping By Offsetting Emission

By buying carbon offsets, you get to remedy your involvement in carbon emission by investing in clean technology and renewable energy.

While it’s not entirely possible to wipe out carbon emission as a result of business operations, it’s worth making an effort to either offset or reduce to the barest minimum

Offsetting emissions that comes from fulfilling orders does not entirely cancel out the harmful effects on the environment. Still, it at least tries to remedy the consequences which inevitably saves the environment a great deal.

4. Fixing Your Returns Process

Many times, businesses only plan for only forward shipment and do not put any plans in place for reverse shipment. This consideration is even more important when online businesses are involved.

This is because, with about 20% of goods being returned, e-commerce businesses experience a higher return rate than their brick-and-mortar stores counterpart, which have only an 8-10% rate of return.

Setting up a system for the returns process otherwise known as reverse logistics or will save you the stress in administering changes in case there’s a return, repair, recall, or a need for refurbishment.

Failure to provide an easy and effortless returns process can be damaging to your business and brand. On the other hand, a lenient and smooth return policy can help boost sales, retain customers, and reduce unforeseen costs.

5. Using Bio-degradable Paper and Materials for Packaging

Another environmentally-friendly practice businesses can adopt in achieving sustainable shipping is opting for more bio-degradable materials. Meaning such materials should be able to decompose easily, be reusable, or at least easily recyclable.

For example, most e-commerce businesses wrap glass orders in plastic to prevent it from breaking. You’ll even find many environmentally-friendly products coming affixed in plastic. And plastic, as we know, causes environmental pollution as it does not decompose.

A more sustainable approach to this might be to wrap it in Aluminium instead, which is 100% recyclable and involves no plastic at all.


Here’s a list of some biodegradable packaging options for your business:

  • Biodegradable packing peanuts
  • Biodegradable plastic wrapping
  • Biodegradable bubble wrap
  • Biodegradable mailing bags
  • Biodegradable shipping envelopes

6. Ship Items in Bulk and In a Single Box

It’s advisable to opt for bulk shipment rather than smaller ones. This is a more sustainable approach to cut down on environmental waste.

Also, as much as possible, consolidate all your orders into a single box. Doing this will help to save costs and reduce greenhouse emissions caused by multiple trips. One way to achieve this is by storing your goods/items in the same warehouse.

This way, when the fulfillment company comes, it can pack all your items and deposit them in a single box. The result will be less waste of money for supplies and postage.

By working with wholesalers, you can get to reduce individual and smaller shipments, thereby leading to less carbon footprint, greater ability to meet the demands of customers geographically, and even less possibility of return shipping.


Most businesses think the trade-off is between sustainable business practices and profit. But that isn’t always the case. There are simple actions that do not cost a thing but saves the environment a great deal.

Choosing to adopt environmentally-friendly shipping processes as an e-commerce business not only saves cost, it also positively affects your business image while helping to create a better, healthier, and greener earth.