Green Your Holiday Shipping Method | EcoCentric Blog

Green Your Holiday Shipping Method

by | Energy Resources, Sustainable Energy

The holiday season is arguably the busiest time of year. People are preparing to host family and friends, cook the latest and greatest winter recipes and, yes, embark on multiple chaotic shopping adventures. It’s the season of giving, but it’s also the season of shipping. As you complete your extensive shopping list for loved ones, you might realize that you’ll need to ship some of these presents.

In 2015, the United States Postal Service (USPS) anticipates the delivery of more than 500 million packages from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve – the year’s most demanding shipping period. However, not all of these packages will be shipped in the greenest way possible. This year, try using some of the following eco-friendly tips to green your holiday shipping method.

Choose the proper box size

According to Box Bros, preparing for shipments could mean something as simple as finding the proper box size for your item. Large shipping boxes shouldn’t be used for smaller items. Although a larger package contains more protective filling material, it really just creates excess waste. Not only does a smaller box take up less space on the truck or plane, but it also uses fewer packaging materials. Before you pack your item and send it off, it’s important to find a box to complement its weight and size.

If you have multiple items shipping to the same addresses, consider packing items in a single box. If you’re looking for more information on best packaging practices, most shipping companies might include guidelines on their website!

Find eco-friendly packaging materials

Before you ship any items, be mindful of the filling supplies you use. discusses how common filling materials such as Styrofoam and other plastics are chemically hazardous and difficult to recycle. Take time to research companies that offer eco-friendly packaging alternatives. Great Little Box Company is one of multiple sustainable companies to provide customers with unique, green packaging materials. The company’s site explains its packing peanut products are non-toxic and biodegradable.

If you’re just looking for a greener box option, opt for corrugated cardboard. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation states the material is typically “made of recycled content and almost always made of post-consumer material.” Another option is to reuse old boxes. Whenever you receive a shipment, flatten the box and store it for later use.

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Find carbon offsets through your shipper

Throughout the year, packages traveling by truck, train or plane impact the environment. Delivery transportation requires fuel and, as a result, releases pollutants. Specifically, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) site states that air cargo shipping makes up 4 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. In an attempt to decrease harmful emissions, some shipping companies offer a carbon neutral shipping program. These allow customers to offset their environmental impact by contributing to conservation efforts such as renewable energy and reforestation.

If you’d rather ground ship a package, transportation companies such as Cooney are making green efforts too. The company’s site states that its drivers must uphold a “no idle policy” and participate in green driving training.

Although the holiday season is a hectic time of year, challenge yourself to find different solutions that contribute to a greener shipping strategy!