Sustainable E-commerce Packaging – The good, the bad and the ugly
The good, the Bad and the Ugly is not only the title of one of my favorite old (1966) Clint Eastwood westerns, it is also a good way to describe the way I see most imported e-commerce packaging from a sustainability perspective.
The good about e-commerce packaging
Most of us love online shopping. The rapidly increasing e-commerce numbers year after year prove that we are hooked on the variety, selection and cost of almost anything in the world that can be at our door with a few clicks and a credit card.
However, not everything is as it appears. In terms of sustainability, the only good thing I can credit it for is the fact that usually the packaging on imported products is minimal. I doubt it is a result of an eco-conscious shipper, but more likely an effort to minimize shipping costs even though less packaging is always good.
The bad about e-commerce packaging
In the attached photos you will see a prime example of one very popular form of imported packaging, the dreaded – paper/poly mailer envelope. This is one of the few mailer envelope products you will not see on our store: www.GlobeGuardProducts.com and we refuse to make and print them even as a custom product. Don’t be fooled by the FSC or recycled content message you may see on the paper exterior because the fact is that it is laminated to the poly (plastic) bubble interior so neither material can be properly recycled. No matter where in the world they come from, they end up in our landfills because you can’t do anything else with them.
Part of the problem is that when we shop online, we really don’t know where the product is coming from. They show up in searches, have great Americanized sites and often give absolutely no indication that the product is coming from overseas. In fact, we often don’t find out until the product arrives in substandard packaging, is all beat up, does not fit (sizing issues) or when eight weeks later you still don’t have what you ordered.
The ugly about e-commerce packaging
Summing it up in one word – presentation. See the mailer envelopes in these photos? Is that really the customer experience you want to deliver to your valuable customers? The only “wow” response is usually not a compliment.
If you compete with overseas suppliers, shouldn’t clean, branded, eco-friendly packaging be one way of distinguishing you from the rest of the world?
Eco Friendly, sustainable e-commerce mailer envelopes
We offer several different types of eco-friendly custom printed mailer envelopes, including the ones below. The links lead to our store so you can see some of the sizes available, but custom sizes and custom prints are available on all three different envelope styles.
- Custom printed bubble lined poly mailers, which are poly inside and outside, so they can be recycled anywhere plastic bags of any type can be recycled. The minimum is 25,000 per size and copy.
- Unpadded paper mailers – not every product (especially clothing) requires a padded or cushioned mailer envelope. For those applications we usually recommend our unpadded paper mailer that are available custom printed in an incredibly low one case minimum and are at least 50% recycled content and 100% recyclable.
- Rigid (Stay Flat®) type paperboard mailers – These are offset printed so multiple colors and virtually any design is possible and affordable. The minimum is 2,500 per size and copy, but the look can be as simple or as amazing as you want it to be. These are perfect for flat or low-profile products and are also 100% recyclable with any paper-based waste. See this post on that topic.
Sustainable, ecofriendly packaging is not old school or optional. It is table stakes in e-commerce worldwide and expected by your customers. Several examples can be seen in our gallery and www.SalazarPackaging.com Contact us via email or call us at 630-551-1700 to have one of our branded packaging advisors review your needs. I am confident we will be able to make your packaging as eco-friendly as possible, create a better customer experience, and may even be able to do it at a lower overall cost.