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Upgrade Your Delivery Strategy with an Environmentally Friendly Approach

By Contributing Author | 03/30/2018 | 7:41 AM

By Inbal Axelrod, MyRouteOnline


With Earth Day coming up in April, it’s a good time to upgrade your delivery methods in support of greener approaches. Here are some areas where you can cut carbon emissions to achieve a more eco-friendly strategy:

Use recycled packaging
Begin your efforts toward a more environmentally friendly approach by seeking out new packaging materials. Look for a Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on your boxes to ensure that the paper is from sustainably managed forests, and use boxes made from 100% recycled paper.

You can also find boxes with environmentally responsible ink. Check to see whether your boxes are Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified, meaning that they use biodegradable inks and adhesives.

While eco-friendly shipping boxes can be a bit more expensive, it’s made up for by other cost-saving eco-friendly strategies, like using less fuel and taking more efficient routes. As an added plus, consumers are more discerning than ever in their buying habits, and using environmentally responsible packaging gives your brand extra appeal.

Forget the foam
Foam packing peanuts are particularly harmful to the environment. They’re typically made from polystyrene, which takes hundreds or even thousands of years to decompose. And because they’re so small and light, they’re easily blown away from landfills and into the oceans, polluting the water and harming the small animals that consume the tiny styrofoam pieces.

While recycled polystyrene foam is already common, packing peanuts made from biodegradable products is even better. Rather than use the styrofoam peanuts, opt for ones that are made from starch or recycled paper.

Reduce size and volume
Reducing the size and volume of your packages has several environmental benefits. First, it reduces the amount of packaging itself--and the disposable waste that comes with it. Second, it reduces the weight of the package, meaning that less fuel will be used to transport each one.

Finally, having small package sizes reduces fuel emissions even further by allowing you to pack each vehicle more efficiently. This maximizes the number of packages per delivery vehicle and minimizes the number of vehicles on the road. 

Use environmentally friendly vehicles
When it comes to your delivery vehicles, think beyond cars and trucks. While the use of cars and trucks is sometimes unavoidable for long drives or in suburban environments, other transportation methods, such as walking, biking, and the use of small electric vehicles, work well within small scale environments or congested urban areas.

The key is to think about which vehicles best suit your unique environment. Particularly bike-friendly cities, such as Portland, Oregon, are perfect locations for bicycle delivery. Centuries-old cities with crowded, narrow streets, like the city of Basel, Switzerland, are already making use of small electric vehicles.  Other cities, like London, are cutting emissions using electric bikes with trailers.

Crowded downtown areas can have centralized distribution hubs scattered around the city where small, low-emissions vehicles can pick up the items to be delivered. The items can then be transported to central locations from which they can be delivered to specific addresses by bike or foot.

Plan a carbon efficient route
In addition to reducing your fuel emissions by decreasing package sizes and using alternate forms of transport, you can also come up with a delivery strategy that makes your route more efficient. If your delivery vehicles are taking roundabout routes, if they’re backtracking as they move between stops, or if you’re using more vehicles than you need to, your delivery strategy will have an unnecessarily high carbon footprint. You can easily reduce this footprint by analyzing your delivery routes and cutting out excess driving.

Choose low-emissions transportation companies
If your business must use a truck or car but doesn’t have delivery services of its own, the delivery company you choose should still be low-emission. You can determine which transportation companies are the most environmentally friendly by checking to see whether they’re government certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. The website of the EPA’s SmartWay program displays relevant information about low-emission transportation companies and updated company emissions data.

Opting for an environmentally friendly delivery strategy is increasingly necessary in today’s world. As proven by successes with urban-friendly delivery vehicles and other fuel-saving strategies, eco-friendly approaches and cost-saving strategies are not mutually exclusive. If we want to combat climate change, all of us--including those in the delivery industry--are responsible for adopting a greener approach.



Photo_Inbal AxelrodInbal Axelrod is the co-founder and CMO at MyRouteOnline, a multiple stop route planner that helps make our world greener. Individuals visiting multiple locations can plan their routes online, optimize their route, and spend less fuel and time on the road. This means fewer greenhouse gas emissions, a reduced carbon footprint, and better air quality



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