Worried about the footprint all your holiday shipping may leave on the planet? Don’t stress, Earth-lover. Here are five easy steps to eco-friendly shipping for all your holiday gifts.
1. Choose the right box
Finding the right shipping container can be a challenge, but usually a little searching can yield a box that’s just right. Bring your gift with you on a trip to your local packaging supplier to take the guess-work out finding that perfect fit.
Ideally, your gift should fit snugly inside with no more than a few extra inches at each corner. And if your gift isn’t breakable, ditch the packaging peanuts and choose a smaller box instead.
2. Use what you have
Using boxes and other shipping materials that you already have is a quick and easy way to cut back on packaging waste. Take a look around the house to see if you have any boxes to ship your gifts. Old shoe boxes and packaging from items you’ve previously purchased online are great places to start. And for wrapping breakables, skip the plastic bubble wrap and opt for yesterday’s newspaper instead.
3. Choose sustainable packaging
Can’t find enough shipping containers around the house? Don’t fret. The U.S. Postal Service now provides loads of boxes and envelopes made from recycled materials for an equally sustainable solution. Containers made from recycled cardboard and paper include corrugated boxes, paper and plastic mailers, packaging papers, cushioning and padded mailers. And they’re all available for the same price as standard containers!
4. Pack it together
You may be tempted to think that sending several small, light packages to the same household saves on shipping emissions. But shipping all your gifts in one large box can actually reduce emissions (and save on paper waste!). If you’re sending multiple gifts to your sister, brother-in-law and their children, pack them all together in the same box for optimum shipping efficiency.
5. Go virtual
Sure, there’s nothing quite like opening those hand-written holiday cards. But why contribute to paper waste and excessive shipping emissions when there are loads of Earth-friendly ways to show loved ones you care? Choose an ecard instead, and include a heartfelt personalized message to up the aww-factor.
Think there’s no way to buy gifts for a loved one far away without shipping? Think again. If you’re purchasing from a retailer that has stores nationwide, ask about having your gift picked up at another location. Many retailers will allow you to pay for a gift in-store or online and arrange to have it picked up by your friend or family member at a location in their neighborhood. To keep the excitement of gift-giving without the shipping costs, send your loved one an email with a photo of the gift and information on how they can pick it up.