E-commerce sector wants less air in packages

July 1, 2019 by
Nico Hoeijmans
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels
Photo by Bruce mars from Pexels

Along with web shops and suppliers, the branch organisation Thuiswinkel.org has set a goal for itself to reduce the air in packages by 10% by 2022. The organisation has previously advocated omitting shipping where possible. These goals have since been established in the Packaging Delivery Sustainability Plan for 2019-2022.

To be able to deliver products to the consumer without damage, great packaging is often necessary. However, the air in packages causes CO2 emissions to increase during distribution. The reason behind this is that with less air in packages, the packages become smaller and it is possible to transport more in one ride.

Web shops have already reduced a lot of air in recent years, through mechanical packaging and the reduction of packaging material. According to Thuiswinkel, achieving 100% packaging-density is not feasible. Products come in all possible shapes and sizes, so it is inevitable that there will be air in packaging.

At the end of 2018, Partners for Innovation carried out a sample commissioned by Thuiswinkel.org, which gives an impression of the packaging density in e-commerce packaging.

Web stores use different shipping methods. The most common is the cardboard box (75%), followed by the plastic bag (19%). The degree to which envelopes and shipping bags are filled is much higher than for cardboard boxes, at (almost) a 100%. However, bags offer less protection and not all types of products can be shipped using that method. The filling rate for a cardboard box has an average of 50%.

The fashion sector performs better than others with a 60% filling rate of boxes. As most clothes are soft and foldable, it is easy to mould them into the box in which it is packaged. Electronics products are often shipped in a box and are dimensionally stable, so there is no room for manoeuvre with regard to the shipping packaging. Larger electronics are shipped more often without a shipping box in order to save on unnecessary materials.

Small web stores are opting for customisable boxes. Any reduction in packaging materials and air will affect the rest of the chain, according to Thuiswinkel.org.


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