Corrugated cardboard or reusable in the mail order business?
SOLUTIONS FOR THE MAIL ORDER BUSINESS
One trend that is becoming increasingly apparent, for example, is the use of reusable packaging such as plastic shipping bags and boxes. The underlying concept is simple: the packaging is quite simply returned after delivery, cleaned and reused.
In practice, boxes and cartons made of corrugated cardboard are still the undisputed number 1 in the mail order business, with a share of 90 percent. This is unlikely to change in the near future, because there are many good reasons for using corrugated cardboard - both practical and ecological.
LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT: CORRUGATED CARDBOARD BEATS REUSABLE PACKAGING
As part of the study, various forms of packaging were used (including shipping boxes, cardboard boxes and bags) and examined for their ecological impact on the basis of typical use cases in mail-order and online retailing.
The conclusion: Both solutions have their justification. Which one is better for the environment, however, depends on the specific practical case. In most applications, however, corrugated cardboard shipping packaging performs slightly better. Waste prevention is desirable, but not the decisive criterion, according to the conclusion.
CORRUGATED CARDBOARD: ADVANTAGES OVER REUSABLE PACKAGING
Reusable plastic boxes are much heavier than corrugated cardboard boxes with the same protective performance. This means that more material is required and more CO2 is emitted during transport. Added to this are environmental impacts from the additional transport and cleaning processes.
The situation is similar for shipping bags: Reusable plastic bags are ecologically more advantageous than cardboard boxes, but they do not perform any better than disposable shipping bags made of corrugated board. Moreover, shipping bags can only be used for certain goods. This means that they are only suitable to a limited extent as a replacement for cardboard boxes.
REUSABLE IN SHIPPING: MIXED ACCEPTANCE
In terms of acceptance, the study came to mixed results: A large proportion of respondents, 85 percent to be exact, were open to the use of reusable packaging and generally rated the concept positively.
However, 66 percent of respondents also associate reusable packaging with extra effort and do not want to have to do much with the packaging after unpacking.
CORRUGATED CARDBOARD: CONSUMERS' FAVORITE
- The low effort
With corrugated packaging, no return is necessary and no deposit system is needed.
- The natural raw material
Corrugated cardboard is made from renewable raw materials. Plastic, on the other hand, is viewed critically even when used several times.
- The easy recycling
Recyclable materials are explicitly desired by consumers. The recycling process is simpler than the reusable system.
Nevertheless, most consumers are in favor of reusing packaging, including corrugated cardboard: Nine out of ten respondents agree that they would like online retailers to offer corrugated cardboard packaging from returns again.