The holidays are fast approaching and the postal service as well as major shipping carriers like UPS and Federal Express are gearing up for their busy season.  Small businesses and other companies that do not outsource their shipping can take certain steps to ship their products in a more eco-friendly manner. 

The most economical step that a small business can take is to reuse shipping products.  If the company orders in goods, save the packaging products, box, etc and reuse it to ship goods.  If a box has printing on the outside that you do not want your customers to see, you can easily break down the box and essentially turn it inside out.  Now the printing is on the inside.  Include a note on the packing slip explaining your company's commitment to the environment as the reason why the box has printing on the inside.

Another way to recycle products for use as packaging material was discussed in my post Three easy green office tips.  If employees of the company gather all of their unneeded printed documents into a general area, you can shred the documents and then use them as packaging material.

Another popular way to make the shipping process more environmentally friendly is to invest in carbon-offset programs.  The Environmental Defense Fund maintains a database of some of the more popular carbon offset programs available. goes a step further and provides businesses the opportunity to use the CarbonFree Shipping process.  CarbonFund works with businesses to determine the carbon footprint of a shipment and then provides the business ways to negate the carbon footprint through monetary donations.

Photo by crisderaud

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