Packaging in E-commerce

Businesses and clients have to do their bit for sustainability. Maybe you have never thought about it, but custom-made boxes help the environment in a direct way, do you know why?

By the very nature of the e-commerce model, packaging is something absolutely essential that also helps to sell. We make hundreds or thousands of shipments a year, and each one of them goes inside its corresponding cardboard box and all the necessary complements (adhesive tape, bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, labels…).

All this, which is basic, also has an impact on the environment. Therefore, we have to be aware -and make others- of the importance of choosing the best option based on this criterion, making an intelligent management of resources and, of course, recycling waste material.

Is it worth using cardboard boxes?

Certainly. In fact, based on the alternatives we can find in the market, cardboard boxes are a very important option to consider because they have important advantages:

  • They have a high durability and admit several uses before being discarded.
  • They are light, so they do not increase the weight of the shipments; but they are also resistant, so protection is guaranteed.
  • They have an affordable cost for any business.
  • They are environmentally friendly and can be recycled (and made from recycled materials).

Let’s stop at the last point, which is the key to this article. The raw material used to make this type of packaging is basically cellulose, so the degradation is quite rapid even if it is not recycled. We can talk about a maximum time of one year which, depending on the exposure to the climate, can be considerably less.

Cardboard is sustainable in itself. But also because it is a very efficient alternative to petroleum-based plastics, which are mostly not biodegradable and therefore take between 100 and 1,000 years to decompose.

Why are custom boxes even better for the environment?

There is no material that consumes less than that which is not used. You’ll agree with us that all too often you get a package and, inside a huge box, you find a small product. Those eCommerce what they are doing, basically, is sending air via courier.

This is even a bit ridiculous at first sight. But it’s also an environmental and economic problem for companies.

In terms of the environment, because we are using a lot of material to build the box that could be put to better use. It’s not just a question of raw materials, we also have to take into account that manufacturing processes have an environmental impact and generate a carbon footprint (even if it’s recycled cardboard).

Let’s also not forget that using an oversized box means that we need additional solutions to secure the packaging inside. It can be bubble wrap, plastic or any other filling, but all this is added to the sum together with the corresponding handling.

Economically, it is also a problem for online stores. As we were saying, they are sending air packed in boxes, and that means, among other things, that more space is taken up in the warehouses and in the vehicles.

The logistics companies charge us on the basis of the cubic metres we are using, so the customised boxes save us and our customers.

They are also more sustainable, because each trip of the corresponding van or truck is more optimized, which means fewer kilometers and, logically, a lower carbon footprint.

Also from the perspective of the company and sustainability, it is worth noting that incorrect packaging leads to more breakages and incidents. Each of these is equivalent to an unsatisfied customer, a return and putting polluting vehicles back on the road.

Therefore, in Kartox we manufacture custom-made and for multiple purposes, from bottle cases to isothermal boxes. Each product must have its ideal box to go perfectly protected and be really ecofriendly.

Are all cardboard boxes the same?

Well, as we are saying, obviously not. We don’t go into sizes or shapes.

The real difference in terms of sustainability, besides the amount of raw material used, lies essentially in the manufacturing processes and the real commitment to the environment.

This is an issue we take as seriously as you do. That is why we have sought to obtain the ecological seals and certifications issued by some of the most important entities in the world in this area, as well as the necessary licenses and registrations. Among them, we highlight some that we comment below.

h4] PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification)

It is the most widely implemented forest certification system in the world, and has been used by top companies for more than 20 years.

The PEFC seal guarantees that the raw material of forest origin used to make the boxes and packaging comes from forests that are managed sustainably.

When you, as a customer, choose packaging with this seal, you are making a decisive contribution to preventing illegal logging in order to defend biodiversity and curb global warming. Furthermore, this ethical decision guarantees economic support for communities that depend on these sustainable exploitations.

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)

In addition to the PEFC certification we just told you about, all our boxes are certified with the FSC seal.

This forestry council audits the companies that apply for its seal. It ensures that they comply with 10 universal principles and more than 56 criteria that guarantee that both the origin of the wood and the intermediate processes that take the product to the end customer have been respectful of sustainability. They also guarantee the viability of the forest exploitation and its biodiversity in the medium and long term.

This seal emerged as a non-profit organization that brought together existing criteria and seals in order to make these values into one. In this way, consumers are clearly informed about the origin of our boxes.

How can I make my packaging more sustainable?

You have already seen that it is always much more efficient to resort to custom-made boxes. In addition to this, it is important that you start using boxes certified by entities such as those we have mentioned. With these 2 measures you already have a lot of cattle.

Another good policy is that if, because of the nature of your product, you are going to need to use some kind of additional filler as extra protection, there are some options such as paper shavings and other ecological fillers that are more sustainable than plastics.

And you, are you aware of the importance of eco-friendly packaging in eCommerce? Do you join us in defending and protecting the environment?