Avoiding Over Packaging – Environmental & Financial Benefits
As a business that ships products – whether it’s to retailers or direct to customers – keeping your products safe during shipping is essential. But finding the right balance between offering the best protection for your products and the smallest form-factor for your packages can be a difficult task. Use too little materials and you risk having items damaged or breaking during shipping, which leads to costly returns, refunds, and those dreaded 1-star reviews. However, using too much packaging materials – known as over packaging – causes its own set of problems. These problems won’t just affect your business; they also affect our shipping industry and our environment as a whole.
Here are 4 important reasons why you should avoid over packaging your products:
4 Key Benefits of Avoiding Over Packaging
1. Reduced Material Consumption and Costs
The first reason to avoid over packaging, from a business standpoint at least, is that over packaging is incredibly wasteful. While it is important to provide enough packaging materials to keep your products safe during transit, taking an oversized box and stuffing it to the brim with packing peanuts, or wrapping your products in 20 layers of bubble wrap is a bit extreme. Over packaging can cause your material costs to skyrocket over time – it’s much more effective, from both a materials consumption and cost standpoint, to optimize your packaging. This includes:
- Using the correct size package for your products
- Using the correct packaging materials for your products
- Using high-quality packaging materials
- Using the correct packing techniques
Using the right box, the right materials (and amount), and the right packing techniques will help you to cut down on material waste and save money. If generic packaging solutions don’t seem to get the job done, then it may be time to consider developing custom packaging solutions for your products.
2. Less Material Waste and Pollution
Over packaging leads to increased material waste and pollution, both of which have been facing increasing scrutiny over the years. Of all municipal solid waste generated in 2018, roughly half (48.2%) was packaging materials: paper/paperboard, plastic, metal, and glass. With only 51% of packaging waste recycled yearly, this leaves the other half to be burned or to end up in our landfills or oceans.
- Burning waste releases numerous toxic chemicals and carcinogens, including dioxins, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), and black carbon
- Roughly 66 million tons of packaging materials ended up in landfills in 2018. Plastics made up the 2nd largest share of all landfill materials at 18.46%, followed by paper/paperboard at 11.78%
- With anywhere between 14-20 million tons of plastic ending up in the ocean every year, plastic consists of 80-90% of all ocean debris. This consists of plastic found on the shoreline, sea surface, in the water column, on the seafloor, and even within marine organisms
3. Improved Shipping Logistics and Efficiency
Over packaging can have a serious effect on your shipping costs and is a big problem for the shipping industry as a whole. It’s estimated that yearly shipping costs for an eCommerce business can range anywhere from 15-20% of total net sales. This means that avoiding over packaging can help you to save some serious money in the long run, while doing your part to keep the shipping industry running effectively. Avoiding over packaging has a few key benefits during shipping:
- Lighter/smaller packages leads to better optimization of transport capacity (i.e. more packages can fit on the truck/ship/plane per trip)
- Because of this, lighter/smaller packages also help contribute to lower shipping fuel consumption (less trips needed to send the same amount of packages)
- Lighter/smaller packages also mean lower shipping/freight costs on your end
4. Reduced Chances of Negative Customer Experiences
An often overlooked consequence of over packaging is how it affects your customers. Designing an attractive package and using high-quality materials both play important parts in your brand’s image and the unboxing experience, but they will be the farthest things from your customers’ minds if it takes 10 minutes to actually get to your products inside.
“Wrap rage” is a common complaint in customer feedback, with over packaging being a common cause for negative customer experiences. If your customers have to dig through an oversized box filled with a million packing peanuts, only to then find that they have to cut open 20 layers of bubble wrap to actually get their products, it can have a serious effect on your brand’s image and reputation.
A straightforward way to help avoid creating negative customer experiences is to use simple package design, optimizing your package’s size and the amount of materials used. Proper package testing can help to create the best package for your products using the least amount of materials possible. Less materials used means less time and effort needed to open your package and be able to use your products. Less time and effort spent means less frustration, and less frustration means more happy customers.
Looking to Avoid Problems Caused By Over Packaging Your Products?
Preferred Packaging Products Can Help
Since 1985, we have been the preferred packaging, logistics, and automation solution for hundreds of businesses along the Front Range.
We specialize in custom package development, and can help you optimize your packaging to maximize product protection, minimize material and shipping costs, and keep customers happy. We also offer a wide selection of high-quality generic packaging products and materials to suit all of your packaging and business needs.
Some other ways Preferred Packaging can help your business include:
- Our logistics, warehouse, and distribution services, which can help you streamline your logistics process and better support order fulfillment.
- Our package kitting and assembly services, which can take a load off your employees and help your business focus on other tasks.
- Our packaging equipment automation and installation services, which can further increase your efficiency and help your business transition to a more hands-off packaging process.
To see what Preferred Packaging Products can do for your business, give us a call at (303) 444-4774 or get in touch with us online to get started.