Every time you ship something, whether it’s a box of cookies or a great big couch, it creates a ripple effect that is felt all around the world.We’re partnering with Shiply to offer you our best green shipping tips so when you do need to ship something, you can do it with the least impact possible.
Where do all the impacts come from?
√ Shipping requires fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil to actually transport your item. Any time you burn fossil fuels you get air pollution. In fact, there’s a dirty air impact all along the transportation route.
√ Burning coal, gas and oil also emits carbon dioxide, which floats up into the atmosphere and creates a big blanket of CO2 that is causing our planet to heat up in the threat known as climate change.
√ Shipping requires packaging, too. In addition to the shipping box itself, there’s the stuff you pack in the box to protect your item.
In many cases, the “stuffing” is foam “peanuts” that are actually made of polystyrene, a chemical compound that is toxic to manufacture and almost indestructible.
Unlike paper, which will disintegrate quickly in the elements, packing foam stays around forever and ever. It breaks into tiny little pieces that pollute our lakes and rivers, then gets eaten by the fish we later eat for dinner.
It creates ugly trash.
It just doesn’t go away.
Shiply is doing its part by helping truck and van drivers fill up their empty vehicles with deliveries along their existing routes, thus reducing the number of empty vehicles running on the road.
To date, Shiply estimates it has saved over 33 million unnecessary truck miles.
This equates to around 11.7m kg of CO2, the same as you flying from London to New York 19,311 times.
You can use a company like Shiply that makes sure every shipping trip is full. But you can also do this:
Best Green Shipping Tips
- Choose snail mail, not air mail – Shipping overland by truck or rail uses far less fuel and emits far less carbon dioxide than rush shipping that has to be done overnight by air. Get organized so that you don’t save your shipping deadlines to the last minute!
- Buy carbon offsets. To compensate for the carbon dioxide impact of the shipping method you choose, you can buy something called a carbon “offset.” The offset is a small amount of money, usually not more than a few dollars, you voluntarily contribute to a project that is helping to develop wind and solar projects – neither of which emits CO2. Many companies make it easy for you to buy carbon offsets when you ship with them.
- Combine packages into a single shipping box. If you have to ship several things to the same address, put them in the same box. You’ll minimize the total amount of packaging you’ll use and save money on shipping costs, too. NOTE: Keep this in mind for holiday shipping in particular.
- Use reusable and recyclable packaging. Choose boxes and mailing envelopes made from recycled cardboard and paper (hint: it will usually be brown; padded envelopes will be stuffed with pulverized paper and possibly fabric, not plastic). If you need filler to cushion the package, crumble up old newspapers or junk mail.
- Reuse and recycle packaging. Open shipping boxes and mailing envelopes carefully so you can use them again; usually, all you’ll need to do is put on a new mailing and shipping label. If you receive a package that’s filled with foam peanuts, take them to a nearby shipping center and ask if they can be recycled.
- Work with a company that economizes its routes and fills up empty trucks. The most eco companies will do what Shiply does and fill up trucks along their routes to save gas.
- Reduce how much you ship. As with anything that has to do with the environment, buying/using/consuming less is the number one way to reduce impact.
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