Online purchases unwrapped and recycled, where possible.

Consider this, each time you purchase online, you gain the convenience of never having stepped out of your front door. You can place your orders over a cup of coffee and receive your goods same day or next day, to your doorstep or to a chosen venue for collection.

There’s no doubt about it online shopping has raised the bar to match modern day lifestyles and Ecommerce companies have gone above and beyond to guarantee the safety of your important purchases.

So, each time you purchase do you assess the amount of packaging being used to ensure the safe delivery of your goods? Most importantly, how are you disposing of the transit packaging?

In a study by UK postal delivery service, Whistl, 75% of UK consumers said they would prefer less packaging. In essence consumers understand that cardboard boxes are a necessary evil to ensure damage free delivery, but in some cases these boxes can be oversized and as a result have way too much void fill, such as polystyrene chips and bubble wrap.

So, we’re here to guide you with the best possible way to dispose of your online packaging correctly.

Providing a tough exterior for your delivery is important, so most online companies will use cardboard. In the UK, 63% of consumers think that cardboard is the most recyclable form of packaging. It can be recycled in your household recycling bin and the good news is that across the EU recycling rates of cardboard have risen to 85.8% according to figures released by the European Union this year. To continue this fantastic response, please ensure that when recycling all delivery notes and plastic tape have been removed, as recycling facilities are unable to process cardboard that remains contaminated.

Fragile items often get delivered with swathes of bubble wrap, so you could be left with copious amounts of plastic that can’t be placed in your curbside collection. Therefore, it might be a good idea to check out your local supermarket. Why? Larger supermarkets have recycling points, either in store or in car parking areas. You can dispose of film, plastic bags and bubble wrap there without contributing to landfill.

If you’ve ever purchased a DVD you may well have received your item in a padded envelope. The good news is your item has arrived undamaged, but if the envelope contains bubble wrap, it is nigh on impossible to separate the paper from the plastic, therefore, it can not be recycled. On the plus side, some companies are reverting back to padded bags that contain paper, which is 100% recyclable and can be placed in household recycling bins.

Polystyrene beads or chips are in the main non-recyclable, however, if you have some time on your hands a quick call to your local council could reveal whether they will accept these at recycling centres, otherwise we’re afraid you will have to place these in your general waste bin.

The fashion conscious among us will no doubt have received clothing deliveries and those garments are generally bagged in polythene peel. The good news is that some companies have taken steps to ensure these bags are convenient for returns, therefore, they no longer have a single purpose. In some cases, organisations such as the National Trust, post out magazines using film that has been made using potato starch which is just as effective as plastic film. If you do have a delivery and need to dispose of your film, then a quick visit to your supermarket carrier bag collection point, should offer the perfect recycling solution.

We all know that paper offers excellent recycling opportunities, but be mindful. Some brown paper can masquerade as natural fibres, when it has in fact been dyed and must, therefore, be discarded in household general waste. Legitimate paper and tissue can be recycled, however, be sure to remove any plastic tape or staples and wherever possible, re-use. On the issue of shredded paper, please be aware that local councils prefer for this to go in general waste, as the small pieces can damage recycling machinery. Alternatively, if you have a compost bin, then your private shredded details can be broken down over time and used to boost your flower borders later in the year.

What you choose to do next matters. So, if you are unsure what to do with your packaging, always check with your local council or recycling centre. Recycling will in part require a certain amount of effort, but, if we are to affect change and make those habits permanent, we need to make those adjustments now. Global warming, climate change, war on plastics…..we’ve all heard them quoted and re-quoted from the mouths of politicians and activists alike. We are working to the timetable of mother nature and climate change has become the anthem of our generation. Make a positive change now.

If you are an Ecommerce company and you would like some support regarding how you can modify your packaging to support enhanced recycling opportunities for consumers, then please give the team a call on: 01922 472 400 or contact us for a free no-obligation consultation. We look forward to collaborating with you.

Source: How to recycle packaging from online shopping: Susanne Norris: Good Housekeeping: 08.08.19