Lady with pink cardigan standing at front door holding cardboard package

Sustainable packaging for sending parcels

Using sustainable packaging when sending parcels is more important than ever. Read on to find out how to wrap a parcel using sustainable packaging, why this can have an impact, and what kind of packaging is considered sustainable.

woman placing label on blue parcel bag while sat at table

What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging refers to any packaging that has a lower environmental impact than less sustainable alternatives, such as single-use plastic.

Environmentally friendly packaging and sustainable packaging aren’t always the same. However, the use of sustainable materials when developing these newer, greener packaging alternatives is said to have a positive effect on the environment.

What are the benefits of eco-friendly packaging?

There are many advantages to using eco-friendly packaging:

customer holding parcel at shop counter
woman holding tape measure against cardboard box on table

1. Reuse cardboard boxes

One of the best types of eco-friendly packaging is reused cardboard boxes. Whether you have spare cardboard boxes at home or in your stockroom, this is an environmentally friendly way to send items through our network.

You should always avoid buying new cardboard boxes, as these can contribute to deforestation, and sending items in reused cardboard boxes is much more sustainable. However, if you do need to use a new cardboard box to place your items in, ensure it’s from a sustainable source, and that it is made from certified paper such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Otherwise, it can’t be classified as sustainable packaging.

These are the advantages of using old cardboard boxes and packaging when sending parcels:

  • Lighter cardboard reduces energy emissions – and takes less energy to transport, making it more sustainable.
  • It’s more biodegradable than plastic and be easily recycled kerbside.
  • Affordability – cardboard is one of the best sustainable packaging options, but it’s also one of the cheapest.
  • Reusability – you can reuse cardboard boxes again and again, so long as they remain sturdy and protective.
  • Protection – you can use sturdy layers of cardboard as a protective shell to keep shipped items secure.

Top tip: Before reusing a cardboard box to package your items, ensure there are no outdated labels or barcodes visible. These could be detected by our scanners and send your parcel to the wrong address. 

Photo of a courier holding parcel and walking down street

2. Reused paper for padding

One of the best sustainable packaging options is to use layers of paper when packaging your parcels. Just recycle old newspapers you’ve finished reading or any spare paper you have. Then, scrunch this paper and fill any noticeable gaps between your parcel box and the item you’re sending.

This eco-friendly packaging also encourages others to recycle when sending parcels through our network.

Other advantages include:

  • Encouraging recycling - the person receiving your parcel can keep this newspaper and repeat this packaging process when they next mail an item.
  • Affordability - reusing newspaper is an affordable option as well as a sustainable one.

3. Recycled bubble wrap

Reusing bubble wrap is a great way to recycle packaging while sending items through our network, and it also keeps items secure.

Bubble wrap isn’t sustainable, so to speak, but it is eco-friendly when you recycle it. If you already have bubble wrap stored away, we’d recommend recycling it when shipping items.

Covering fragile items with bubble wrap is a great way to reuse this packaging material, too, as you’ll be putting it to good use, instead of throwing it away.

Top tip: Bubble wrap is used for packaging items to protect them, thanks to the durable air bubbles. So, ensure the bubble wrap you’re reusing isn’t damaged before wrapping it around the items you’re sending.

A package being inserted into bag, scales receipt on wooden table

4. Use eco-friendly tape to wrap your items

Typically, you’ll use traditional parcel tape to seal your items shut, ready to send. But a great, easy way to be more eco-conscious with your parcels is to use tape that’s renewable and easily compostable, rather than plastic tape. With some tape types, the person receiving your item can easily recycle the parcel, too.

Certain packing tapes are recyclable, such as standard or reinforced gummed paper tape. If they’re not reusing it, they can place the box straight in the recycling bin, without having to remove the tape first. 

There you have it; now that you know our best sustainable packaging options, you can use more eco-friendly materials to send parcels through our network.

 For more packaging advice, check out the Evri blog, and read through our guides about topics like regifting and how to package books.