Prevent Christmas Packaging Waste
Christmas 2020 will be a little different to usual. Social distancing will impact on family gatherings, office parties and shopping. The number of gifts bought online has been steadily growing over the past decade and a sharp rise is expected this year. As online sales peak, what is the impact of good e-commerce packaging design on customers and the environment?
The Christmas of Buying Online
Research commissioned by DS Smith, reveals that 145-million more gifts will be bought online this year. With restrictions on shop opening times, there is little time to browse. Factor in queuing outside and wearing a mask and scouring the internet has added appeal.
The majority of goods are sent in sustainable cardboard shipping cartons. Good packaging design minimises packaging waste and offers the right levels of protection for goods inside. Bespoke boxes can be branded with a print design and take up no more space than necessary in delivery vans.
Is Cheap Packaging Good Value?
Despite the advantages of bespoke packaging, many companies still rely on off-the-shelf standard boxes. In a direct per unit cost, these seem like the cheapest option. The challenge with standard boxes is that they often need lots of filling materials to protect the goods inside. This has a cost implication and also extends the packing time.
As shipping costs take into account size, oversized shipping cartons mean that the company is paying to send air. Unnecessarily large boxes also reduce the number of packages that can fit into delivery vans and lorries. This increases the number of journeys that need to be made and raises CO2 emissions.
On opening the box, the customer’s first emotion is frustration about the volume of excessive packing. This doesn’t make a good impression and could wipe out any chance of repeat business. In an IPSOS MORI survey, 64% of customers would change where they shop if it meant less packaging.
If you reduce packaging by not adding fillers to a large shipping carton, there is an increased risk of the goods getting damaged or broken. This is even more annoying for the customer. They now have the inconvenience of returning the item and awaiting a replacement.
The company would be expected to cover the cost of returns, replacement and shipping. Taking the customer experience, environmental impact and cost of processing returns into account, cheap packaging is not a cost-effective option.
Recycling Cardboard Boxes
Cardboard boxes can be reused and upcycled. We all know that boxes sometimes have a greater appeal than the present inside! With a little imagination, they can be repurposed into wonderful creations. They can be used to send items through the year; simply fold flat for space-saving storage.
If you have no use for the boxes or too many to store, corrugated cardboard boxes are 100% recyclable. Most councils offer cardboard collections, however, many are already asking for a different approach this year.
Take Boxes to your Local Recycling Centre
This seasonal peak in cardboard packaging will drive up the volume needing to be collected. To help councils manage the recycling process, consumers are being encouraged to take their flattened boxes to their local recycling centre, rather than leaving it out with the bins.
This approach also has a security benefit. If you leave stacks of boxes outside your home, it tells opportunist thieves exactly what they can expect to find inside.
The process for recycling boxes involves breaking down the fibres and reforming them into new corrugated cardboard. The process reuses fibres time and again, helping to minimise the number of trees that are felled to bring goods to our doors.
Sustainable Christmas Wrapping
Consider recyclability when wrapping your Christmas gifts. Shiny paper and paper with glitter cannot be recycled. Instead, opt for printed or plain kraft paper or tissue paper, both of which come in a range of colours and can be recycled.
Consider leaves, pine cones and other natural embellishments, which can be returned to the garden after use. If your presents come with ribbons and other decorations, keep them and reuse. These simple steps could save tonnes of waste from heading for landfill. That would be a welcome gift for the planet.