How to provide eco-friendly packaging solutions to your customers


Show your clients you care about the environment.

Are your online customers clamoring for more eco-friendly packaging solutions? Arnold Barlow, UPS senior manager of sustainability solutions, says consumers have two main concerns about their packaging:

Sustainable packaging and carbon neutral shipping are just two ways you can help the environment.

1. Receiving a small item in a too-big box
2. Having a lot of corrugated boxes that end up as waste

Barlow points out that the top priority in sustainable packaging is damage prevention. Any environmental benefits are erased if your product is damaged before it reaches your customer because it will require a replacement article that is shipped again. That said, you can use these ideas to make your packaging as eco-friendly as possible.

Cube optimization

The first step in sustainable packaging is matching your box and filler to the products you're shipping. Using the right packaging can save you money in shipping costs and also fill trucks and planes more efficiently, reducing carbon emissions. Here's how to get to the most efficient packaging for each of your products:

  • The UPS Packaging Advisor, an online tool, can create a customized list of guidelines for your shipments.
  • For larger-volume shippers, UPS Packaging Solutions can help you engineer the correct packaging size.
  • Another option is to build eco-friendly shipping boxes on demand, which can help companies that ship 1,000 or more packages a day reduce shipment size by 30 to 40 percent. A company that UPS works with called Packsize makes machines that businesses can use to manufacture boxes on-site, as needed. UPS works closely with Packsize not only because it helps UPS's customers but also because having just-large-enough boxes for packages allows UPS to pack its own airplanes, trucks and package cars efficiently. Talk to your UPS account executive to learn more.

Sustainable shipping

With a patented calculator, UPS can run a carbon impact analysis for your business and determine how many metric tons of greenhouse gases arise from your shipping. You can offset the carbon emissions from your shipments with the UPS carbon neutral shipping service. With it, your customers see a special, customizable label on your shipments that shows them you're committed to protecting the environment. UPS purchases carbon offsets that support projects that lower carbon emissions, such as reforestation, landfill gas destruction, wastewater treatment, and methane destruction.

While corrugated boxes can end up in landfills, Barlow points out they can be recycled up to seven times (for other uses besides shipping, as new boxes are best for shipping). Additionally, most households and businesses in the United States have access to recycling services.

You can work with UPS to meet the sustainability criteria by joining the UPS Eco-Responsible Packaging program and demonstrate your commitment to your customers.

Watch this video for more sustainability solutions from UPS.


Reader Comments

Add Your Comment

Stay up to date

Subscribe to get updates delivered right in your Inbox.

Sign Up