Traditionally most parcels will be packed within a cardboard box which are formed from harvesting wood from trees. With millions of parcels sent worldwide every day, this is not the greenest packaging solution. Then we have the cushioning material and parcel tape that is often made from plastics, (particularly bubble wrap.) Plastics can be harmful to the environment during manufacture as they can releases gasses into the atmosphere which contribute to the already damaged Ozone Layer. Some plastics can be recycled however it is common for many plastic items to end up discarded or in landfills. It is said that more than one billion tons of plastic have been discarded since the 1950s. Once your parcel has been packed it is then picked up by the courier who would normally have traveled a certain distance in order to do so. Dependent on destination the parcel may then be taken by van to an airport, flown to another country and then sent on a train and then back in a van to be delivered to the receiver. This means an awful lot of fuel consumption and emissions polluting our atmosphere.
Until teleportation is invented, planes, trains and automobiles will be the only way to carry parcels from A to B, however there are still things the courier industry can do to reduce it’s carbon footprint.
Here’s 5 things couriers can do to help:
Pick up and Delivery Network Optimisation
The toughest objective is reducing the emissions produced by the vehicles used to deliver the parcels worldwide. Optimizing the pick up and delivery networks helps to reduce the emissions by choosing the correct sized vehicles for the jobs and volume of goods, choosing smart routes that are both time and fuel efficient and reducing empty runs. In 2010 DHL restructured it’s network routes saving 500 tonnes of CO2 per year!
Renewing Vehicles and Implementing New Technologies The courier industry relies on vehicles for it’s business, but it is the vehicles which cause the most harm to the environment. However as new technology develops, road vehicles and air crafts get more and more efficient with less fuel consumption, less emissions and less noise. This is why it is important for couriers to update their fleets as regularly as possible.
Buildings There are many different buildings required by courier companies such as head offices, warehouses and call centres. All of these will need to use electricity, heating, running water and other types of energy sources. Many courier companies are aware of the potential harm buildings can cause to the environment but with advances in technology and using a little common sense, courier companies can put things in place to reduce the carbon footprint left by their buildings. By utilising intelligent heating, cooling and lighting systems and making use of renewable energies such as solar power, companies can dramatically decrease negative impacts on the environment. Also simple things like switching off unused plug sockets and lights, as well as collecting and making use of rain water can all make a huge difference.
Carbon OffsettingSome courier companies offer carbon offsetting so that your company can reduce its carbon foot print. Carbon offsetting is where all the transport-related emissions of carbon dioxide are first calculated and then offset through external climate protection projects. So in other words the cost to the planet by sending the parcels is balanced out by creating more renewable energy sources.
Recycling Just like the sender it is important to recycle as much as possible, as should all companies, whether they are a courier or not.