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Op-Ed: Five Ways to Create a More Sustainable Shipping Environment

Incorporating eco-friendly and sustainable practices has become a common trend in many businesses. Even the customers are willing to shell out extra money if the items are delivered sustainably. A lot of emphasis is being placed on achieving sustainable shipping these days—let us see five ways to do so.

Green and reusable packages

Ditch polystyrene foam for packaging as it contains toxic chemicals and takes hundreds of years to decompose. Instead, bring in eco-friendly, biodegradable and recyclable materials, like corrugated cardboard, for packaging. Switch packaging peanuts with mushroom or bamboo cushions and potato starch. This will all make it easier for the consumer to recycle or reuse packaging.

Use available tools and technologies

Use technology generously during the packaging and shipping processes. Implementing portable truck scales or forklift sales in the warehouse can optimize weighing processes and maximize warehouse productivity. Companies can also increase the accuracy of shipping and billing with these methods. Use thermal printers to print labels and automatic identification, like barcode labels and RFID tags, on products in the warehouse. When companies automate identification, they can decrease the time taken to identify various items in the warehouse, identify their location and exact quantities, and increase overall productivity and inventory accuracy.

Use packages of the right size

This may seem oversimple, but an average package generally consists of roughly 40 percent of wasted space. This wasted space means wasting packaging materials unnecessarily and using more filler materials to fill up the wasted space. Most fillers can’t be reused or recycled, which will negatively impact any green goals. Larger boxes also take up more space on freight carriers, which means shipping fewer items in every trip and increasing carbon emissions and fuel usage.

Using a corrugated box making machine allows you to make a box that exactly matches the size of the product that you intend to ship. When companies use packaging boxes of the right size, they significantly lessen the environmental impact, minimize carbon emissions and reduce overall shipping costs. Additionally, they reduce the risk of product damage during transit and free up the warehouse space, too.

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By improving packaging data management capabilities to reduce the product environmental stewardship fee and following packaging guidelines and specifications, companies can promote reusability and recyclability. It is important to identify opportunities across the supply chain to reduce concealed product damage and to establish damage reduction targets. Higher-ups should take inputs from staff about the areas where they can reduce the packaging.

Focus on logistics management

Planning logistics management efficiently is also key. Building an effective logistics strategy allows companies to make a positive impact on the environment. Try modifying your transportation network and finding better ways for getting shipments to a location safely with minimal carbon footprint. Studying different case studies on how to reduce environmental impact and vehicle emissions by focusing on logistics management, can also be helpful. The goal is to implement techniques that would minimize your fuel and resource consumption, generate less waste, reduce vehicle emission and improve cost control.

Improve warehouse productivity

Companies can increase the productivity of their warehouse and reduce the downtime by optimizing supply chain management. The whole process can be more sustainable with the development of an efficient strategy for freight that can improve fuel mileage and optimize its movements. Monitor processes and perform audits regularly to achieve and maintain sustainability goals.

Scheduling inbound purchases to manage the warehouse products better can also help improve supply chain efficiency. To keep all vendors on board with outlined efforts, it’s necessary to develop vendor compliance policies and set vendor standards. Best shipping practices also include creating routing and importing guides, and an efficient supply chain reduces errors and time spent by workers on correcting them.


About the author

Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts and provides technical expertise to the sales and service teams at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, California.