Something that I've begun to notice over the past few years is that there is a lot of inefficiency and waste involved in shipping. It seems like everyone I've talked to has had that shipping experience where a tiny object ordered from a big online retailer arrives packed in a much larger box than necessary, full of bubble wrap and plastic shipping products. Thankfully most online retailers are getting better about this. We've learned a lot from items shipped to us, as well as from the 2000+ products we've shipped out over the past year and a half. As long as we've been in business, we've been committed to keeping our shipping footprint as small as possible.
This week as I was buying shipping supplies, I decided to do a little bit of research into the shipping supplies that I use, and I'm really happy to report that they're actually more sustainable than I thought. Almost all of our items are shipped by USPS Priority mail, with the exception of some international orders. USPS will provide boxes to customers, so I decided to dig up a little information on these boxes that I've been using.
Originally, I picked this box because it is small, and provides just the right amount of space and padding for our Wearable Planters without being too large. After some research, I found out that their boxes are Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified. This means they use responsible methods in the manufacturing of their boxes, and that these boxes can be 100% recycled as well. Since the size is standardized, the postal service can easily stack these boxes in their trucks to maximize efficiency with each shipment, cutting down on the amount of fuel used.
Another neat thing I noticed about these boxes is that they're also cut to reduce the amount of waste. In the picture above, you can see how they fit together to minimize the cutoff waste paper.
Not all orders fit into these small boxes, and we were happy to learn from our supplier Uline, that the corrugated cardboard boxes we use are made from mostly recycled content, and are also 100% recyclable. They're also really strong and will survive multiple trips through the mail, so you can reuse them as well.
Finally, we use some pretty neat packing peanuts. Traditional packing peanuts that have been around since the 1960s are made using polystyrene. Polystyrene is a plastic that, although recyclable, is not biodegradable, so it could just end up in a landfill if not continually reused. Most of you know this type of plastic as styrofoam, of which the plastic cups littering highways are made.
We started using 100% biodegradable packing peanuts made out of cornstarch earlier this year, so you can either reuse them when sending a gift to a friend, throw them in your compost or yard, or just disintegrate them in water with no harm to the environment.
Even though shipping will probably never be 100% sustainable, we're constantly trying our best to ship things as sustainably as possible. Getting your item to you safely is a priority for us, and we want to make sure that we consider the environment as much as we can in this process. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments or through email.