Saving the planet ...one box at a time

Saving the planet ...one box at a time

Here at Boxed Up, we take our responsibilities toward green energy and sustainability very seriously, working hard to do our bit to generate our own clean power, and to reduce waste.

Where possible, we also share best practice - advising our customers on the right-sized boxes to use, in both our regular customer relationship conversations, and via helpful articles such as this.

Whilst we strive to do our little bit, we also understand that the journey of our boxes beyond our factory doors is completely out of control, so in our latest blog, we look at choosing the ‘right’ sized boxes, by reviewing the key advantages of using smaller packages to ship your goods.

To balance this, we also provide an interesting counter-argument, which puts the onus on the responsibility of the end user; is this a dangerous corporate strategy when it comes to reducing waste?

But first up, let’s take a look at some of the steps small businesses across the UK are currently taking to generate their own energy…

Small businesses making a big difference

Just like Boxed Up, small firms like yours are vital to green energy, as two recent surveys involving over a thousand Federation of Small Business (FSB) members have shown, with energy becoming a key focus area for small businesses.

Stats revealed that 12% of businesses (one in ten) now generate their own energy, mainly through the use of solar panels, while 58% (three in five) have also made changes to improve their energy efficiency; these are primarily around lighting upgrades and enhanced insulation, but also include simple switch off/turn down policies too.

However, only 33% of business owners believed that the changes they’ve made would actually offset the ever-increasing rise of energy bills. In fact, with Brexit hot on the agenda, 86% believed that the UK is too reliant on imported energy, with 60% listing security of continuous supply as their number one long-term energy concern.

Making it easier and more attractive for small firms to invest in energy efficiency and on-site energy generation is therefore crucial, and the FSB has used its findings to publish a new report outlining how the government’s forthcoming emissions reduction plan should include specific measures to empower small businesses. Take a look to find out how this might impact on the way you go about sourcing power for your business.

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Boxing Clever

If that’s given you some food for thought about your long-term energy conservation plans, what can you do here and now to ensure something as simple as your box buying policy remains eco-friendly?

When it comes to boxes used for shipping, we’ve long been advocates of ‘small equals smart’, as the benefits tend to be three-fold:

  1. Firstly, protection of your goods in transit can be achieved through a snug fit, as the less an item can move around, the less likely it is to be broken. As long as your product is packed tightly with protective materials, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t reach its final destination in one piece.

  2. Secondly, boxes with smaller dimensions will cost much less to ship, so over the course of a financial year, you’re likely to save a significant amount off your bottom line.

  3. And finally, less size means less space ...saving you precious capacity in your stock room, and reducing the volume of waste hitting your customer’s recycling bin …

...but what if the boxes don’t have to head straight toward the bin?

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Some might say…

It could be argued that it’s the end user who chooses whether a box is wasteful or not. For example, if the recipient throws out a perfectly good oversized box, isn’t it they who are being wasteful, and not, in fact the sender?

Some might say that if a box gets reused, nobody is being wasteful. Could it be then, that the larger a box is, the more useful it becomes? Following this logic, the only time that sending a larger box becomes wasteful is if the recipient intends to throw it away - no matter what size it is.

Whilst this argument might be deemed a reasonable one to some, it is of course, folly for a business to ship their items based on such a wasteful philosophy.

As alluded to above, larger boxes are not only more expensive to ship, but more likely to result in damaged contents too. And if that’s the case, items will have to be returned and replacements re-shipped, increasing the carbon footprint of the delivery by 200%!

Unnecessarily big boxes therefore create big problems - and that’s without considering expensive fillers like packing peanuts and air pillows ...materials that take a long time to decompose, have low recycling rates, and are much more hazardous to the environment than corrugated cardboard.

We also touched on the storage space required for larger boxes above - but there’s so much more to consider than the extra few centimetres needed in your store room - including your carbon footprint. The extra space means that less packages can fit onto your delivery trucks, which equals more trucks on the road to send the same number of packages, and more CO2 being released into the atmosphere.

In summary

So, whilst putting the responsibility of your oversized boxes on the shoulders of the end user might seem like a get out of jail free card, there’s no getting away from the fact that there’s only so many large boxes any one household can keep hold of. And alarmingly, even though 75% of all waste is recyclable - only 30% of it actually gets recycled.

We do hope we’ve inspired you to think about your own long-term energy production methods, and given you some food for thought about the size of your shipping cartons, but if you any eco-friendly tips of your own, why not get in touch? Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll add some of favourites in here.