Category feature: Sustainable packaging

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We spoke about packaging in this post during the summer last year, and the advantages of DropShipping packaging materials. It is a great category to sell in – because although it isn’t a particularly exciting category in terms of marketing (it is kind of hard – though not impossible – to create exciting content about packaging!) there is constant demand for this type of product. Taking selling packaging to the next level is relatively easy too. The global focus on becoming more sustainable means that demand for sustainable packaging – products that are made from recycled materials, as well as that are easy to recycle – is on the increase. In this post, we’ll be looking at the reasons that sustainable packaging matters, how you can source sustainable packaging for use in your business and how you can create profits by adding sustainable packaging to your inventory.

Why recycled packaging matters

It is pretty obvious why recycled packaging matters – the resources that are required to create single-use plastic are finite, and using additional trees for paper-based and cardboard packing just doesn’t make sense. Since the eCommerce industry is definitely not getting any smaller, alternatives that don’t use virgin plastics, and that are better for the environment are essential for the long-term health of the planet. We’re not saying recycled materials (especially plastics) are perfect, because they do still have some environmental impact – but they are an awful lot better than continuing to use new materials.

Polythene is a valuable, and finite resource, which means it is essential to utilise what we have as well as possible – the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle is necessary. However, with the latest technology, recycled polythene film can be just as strong as non-recycled products – which means all businesses can easily make the change.

Packaging materials have to be robust enough to stand up to rough handling by shipping providers and couriers, as well as keeping items safe, clean, and dry. In the past, recycled materials weren’t strong enough to stand up to this type of handling, but today, developments in technology mean they are as good, if not better than unrecycled options.

With that said, some types of plastic are not able to be recycled yet. Single-use plastic is widely used for food trays, and flexible pouches, and technology to recycle these types of plastics has not been sufficiently developed – so work is ongoing to find alternatives, and for ways to recycle them.

How can I source sustainable packaging for my eCommerce business?

Businesses that are looking to change to sustainable packaging for their orders can make bulk purchases from our supplier by signing up for Avasam and making bulk orders. Although after your trial period finishes, you’ll pay a small fee to source these products, our supplier has made their packaging materials are incredibly low priced, and are still very much worth ordering through Avasam. Not only that, you’ll be able to extend, and diversify your product offering by DropShipping those packaging items to your customers, or add a whole range of new items from our huge product catalogue.

How can I add sustainable packaging to my inventory?

If you’re already an Avasam user, you can simply head for the product catalogue to start adding items of sustainable packaging to your inventory, and selling them on your sales channels.

For retailers that are not yet using Avasam, it is a simple sign up process for a free trial, after which there is a small monthly subscription to access Avasam products. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be able to access our whole product catalogue, and start adding products to your inventory. While you’re looking at packaging items, look at diversifying your inventory further – there aren’t any limits to the number of SKUs that you can source from Avasam, and you can add your Avasam inventory to your sales channels quickly.

About our supplier of sustainable packaging

Our supplier is a specialist in packing materials for eCommerce businesses that are based in the North West. With more than 15 years of expertise and factories in China, they both create their products and distribute them, and are able to print customised packaging materials for brands that want greater exposure. The prices that our supplier can offer are unbeatable, and the quality of their products unparalleled, with exceptional quality control.

One of the main aims of their business is zero waste – particularly to reduce the amount of plastic waste that the eCommerce industry generates. Five of their aims over the next few years include:

  • Developing a new range of 100% recycled grey mailers
  • Increasing the number of biodegradable packaging options they have available
  • Packaging products will be recycled and recyclable as standard
  • Providing more information about recycling options for those products by printing information on packets
  • Minimising the use of materials used, and the amount of waste on their premises to near-zero

They have committed to reducing, repairing, repurposing, and recycling, composting and recovery wherever possible. The plastics that they are using and recycling are shipped back to their plants for processing and turning into new materials, to complete the cycle and to minimise the use of raw materials.

When our supplier sends packaging to be recycled, it isn’t just packaging products that the waste plastic gets turned into. Other products include:

  • Rubbish bags and carrier bags
  • Underground drainage systems
  • Products for the horticultural industry such as flower pots, seed trays, composting bins
  • Car parts including wheel arch liners and bumpers
  • Items for the construction industry such as guttering and window profiles
  • Reusable crates and pallets
  • Wheelie bins and food waste caddies
  • Drinks bottles and food trays
  • Polyester for clothing

With so many alternative uses for recycled packaging, it becomes really clear why it is essential to recycle.

One final thing you’ll love about selling sustainable packaging from our supplier: They don’t sell their products on marketplaces, so you won’t be competing with them if you decide to sell their products on Amazon, eBay or OnBuy.

What types of recycled packaging products are available?

Although there have been challenges to creating really great recycled packaging, today there are loads of different options. Here’s a quick roundup of the items our supplier has available through Avasam to buy for your business, or to source and sell to your customers.

Mailing bags

Businesses that are sending smaller, unbreakable items through the post require bags that keep the contents secure. Mailing bags have to be made from durable, waterproof materials so that they are resistant to wet weather – which is why plastic is ideal. Today there’s no reason that recycled materials can’t be used to make mailing bags, drastically reducing the overall impact on the environment.

Padded envelopes

Small items that are fragile require packaging with additional padding if they are to be sent by post. Bubble envelopes have been the go-to for eCommerce businesses for many years, because the cushioning that the air bubbles provides helps to ensure the delivery arrives intact. With recycled padded envelopes, they can be recycled and as long as the glue strip has been removed, these envelopes can be composted – making it even easier for recipients to dispose of responsibly.

Packing tape

Many of us that were involved in wrapping gifts over Christmas noticed that there is a lot of wasted plastic in the form of tape – and the same has occurred to many retailers too. Packages dispatched from Amazon now are sealed with paper packing tape, and where Amazon leads, most retailers follow. Paper packing tape made from 100% recycled content, and is now available that features solvent-free adhesive, which is even better for the environment – and can be recycled with mixed papers. Look for SFI certification on paper packing tapes to ensure the Sustainable Forestry Initiative approve the product.

Royal Mail PiP Box

Businesses that send orders via Royal Mail need packing solutions that allow them to send using the best price. The Pricing in Proportion (PiP) guidelines mean that businesses can post items using boxes that are exactly the right size for large letter, which should fit through standard letterboxes perfectly. The advantage of posting this way is that they not only look more professional, but they can also be made from recycled cardboard – which can be easily recycled too.

Void fill

Void fill in packaging has become a huge industry. From air-filled plastic cushioning, to crinkled paper and wood wool (excelsior), there are plenty of options to help improve the sustainability of your packing. Paper packing materials may be recycled, reused, or added to compost bins to break down. Products that are easy to use within businesses include paper rolls, and offcut filler paper, which means there will always be demand for those products.

Cardboard boxes

There’s a reason that businesses use so much cardboard. Not only is it strong enough to withstand the rigours of passing through the shipping system, it packs down flat for storage, and it is easy to recycle and reuse. Cardboard boxes might not be exciting products, but they are the type of product that you can sell thousands of, regularly and reliably – which is just what you want for your business.

Shipping labels

You can’t send items through the post without a shipping label – it is essential! But there is no reason that shipping labels can’t be made from recycled paper, and use more ecologically responsible adhesives. Your business isn’t the only one that needs shipping labels, so this is another opportunity for you to make sales on a regular basis, by selling them to other businesses.

The Takeaway

Sustainable packaging isn’t just a great option for the environment – it can be an excellent option for retailers to sell on their sales channels, and to increase profits.

  • Less plastic waste is much better for the future of the planet
  • Ethical businesses want to buy sustainable packaging options at competitive prices
  • Sustainable packaging is easily sourced for your business from our supplier
  • Sell sustainable packaging with no upfront investment in stock required
  • Our supplier doesn’t sell on marketplaces, so there’s no fight to the lowest price

To discuss how to diversify your inventory further, get in touch or book a call.

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Dawn Matthews
Dawn has worked in technical and customer supporting roles for over 20 years. Most of her career was spent in technical services at top rated UK universities, which has given her a keen eye for detail. A lucky escape led her to the field of eCommerce in 2017, and she’s never looked back. Dawn studied in the field of social sciences with the Open University, achieving an MSc in Forensic Psychology at the same time as working two jobs. She regularly applies principles of psychology from her studies to her work, and outside of her role at Avasam she is busy writing her second book. Follow Dawn on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/dawn-matthews

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