Shipping boxes

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With or without additional shipping boxes? That is the question!
Sustainability in e-commerce.

Sustainable shipping boxes are playing an increasingly important role for e-commerce. All areas of the supply chain are being screened to save resources and find sustainable ways here. Some online stores give their customers the choice of receiving the ordered goods in a shipping carton or using primary packaging for shipping.

If you are allowed to choose whether to have the goods ordered in the online store transported in a shipping box or without an additional shipping box - which do you choose? With or without shipping cartons?

Without an additional shipping box may sound more sustainable at first glance. - The material for the shipping box is saved, resources are conserved and CO2e is avoided. Sounds good! But if the products or sales packaging are damaged during the often rough handlig during the transport, the goods are returned and almost always lost for use. The savings made by not using shipping boxes actually end up causing more CO2e, wasting resources and, last but not least, disappointing consumers. 

Why is the use of shipping boxes in e-commerce sustainable?

The shipping carton protects the goods during transport. With very few exceptions, more resources were consumed and CO2e generated for the goods to be transported than for the production of the shipping carton made of corrugated board. If the shipping carton with its important functions is not used, the goods can be damaged during transport and the resources used and the CO2e emissions caused up to that point would be wasted. 

Let's take the example of a tablet that is to be shipped: The production of the shipping box used for this generates ~ 0.16 kg CO2e. The tablet, on the other hand, generates ~ 240 kg CO2e during production. Without the customized shipping carton, ~ 0.16 kg CO2e could therefore be saved initially. However, if the tablet suffers damage during shipping due to lack of shipping box, ~ 240 kg of CO2e emissions have been uselessly incurred. These are then 1,500 times more emissions (!) than those of the protective shipping box. 

Therefore, unpackaged does not equal better! 

In our example from the video, it is similar: The production of the doll causes CO2e. In addition, the CO2e emissions for the primary packaging are calculated. The transport from the manufacturer to the online store and from there to the girl are further CO2e. - However, the primary packaging is not suitable for the long transport route and the doll arrives damaged. Therefore, the mother sends the doll back. And on the return transport route, there are further additional CO2e emissions. The damaged doll is not repaired, it is disposed of together with its primary packaging. And all the CO2e emissions that have accumulated up to that point are wasted. With the use of the shipping carton, the total amount of CO2e emissions generated is significantly lower.