How to Reduce Your Single Parcel Packaging Costs

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Do What You Can to Reduce Costs

As shipping carriers continue to add new fees and surcharges to their perpetually increasing rates, it’s crucial to do what you can to trim your business’s costs. One great way to do this is to start small: with a single package. In this article we’ll share some of the best tips for decreasing single parcel packaging costs, while reducing your impact on the environment at the same time.

Reduce the Size of Your Packages

Not only do larger boxes cost more and require more packaging materials, but certain carriers’ new dimensional (DIM) weight pricing practice means that large packages are costing you more than ever to ship. Under DIM weight pricing, a lightweight, large package is more expensive to send due to its size (i.e., the space it takes up on the delivery truck). By reducing the size of the box, you’ll avoid the price jump—and cut your expenditure on shipping materials.

Think Outside the Box

Depending on the nature of the products you ship, you may be able to save money by switching from traditional shipping boxes to flat mailers or bags. Not only do these alternatives generally cost less, but they also mean less packaging needs to be recycled or discarded. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), corrugated boxes were the single largest category of municipal solid waste in 2015, making up 11.9% of the total generated waste. By considering other options—especially eco-friendly ones, such as mailers made from 100% recycled material and compostable packaging products—you’ll be protecting the planet and your shipping budget.

What’s Inside Counts Too

After you’ve worked to reduce the size of your shipping boxes and/or switched to smaller, more eco-friendly alternatives, it’s time to look at the packaging inside the box or mailer. Bubble wrap, shrink wrap, packing peanuts…these are all a drain on your budget, not to mention a threat to the environment. Also, as more and more U.S. cities institute bans on Styrofoam, traditional packaging materials like Styrofoam packing peanuts are slowly being phased out. These bans impose hefty fines for violators—another expense you definitely want to avoid. So get ahead of these changes by considering other, greener options, such as shredded paper, biodegradable packing peanuts, and biodegradable “plastic” wrap.

Streamline the Packaging Process

While rethinking your packaging materials is essential for cutting costs, it also helps to zoom out and examine your business’s packaging process as a whole. Are things being done as efficiently as possible? Are your employees properly trained? Might automation be useful? If you suspect that the manual labor and time needed to prepare your business’s packages are inflating your costs, a process overhaul may be in order. By scrutinizing your system for lags or holes, training employees to work more efficiently, and/or incorporating automated systems in your process, you can swap out ineffective methods, reduce waste, and optimize performance—all of which will save you money in the long run.