The transportation and logistics industry is the biggest contributor to CO2 emissions in the U.S., accounting for a staggering 29% of all greenhouse gases. As companies in the packaging industry, we have an inherent responsibility to work collectively to reduce our carbon footprint.
A company’s carbon footprint, or the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG) that are released to the atmosphere, is holistic in nature and can account for things such as raw material sourcing, manufacturing processes, operations, product use, and disposal.
For those of us in the order fulfillment industry or eCommerce and pharmacy packaging spaces, like Tension Packaging & Automation, there is a unique opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint in our internal operations. We aim to reduce our carbon footprint via equipment considerations and especially through sustainable packaging solutions.
Consideration #1: Start with Sustainability Basics in Your Internal Operations
eCommerce order fulfillment companies can make small changes to their internal operations to reduce their carbon footprint. This includes recycling, installing LED lights, or installing motion sensors for lights.
- Recycling – Recycling is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint. eCommerce fulfillment companies can start by recycling paper, plastic, metal, and glass products. Recycling these materials helps to avoid the emissions that are released when these products are manufactured.
- LED Lights – Installing LED lights is another way eCommerce fulfillment companies can reduce their carbon footprints. LED lights use up to 90% less energy than traditional light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. This means that eCommerce fulfillment companies can save a significant amount of energy by installing LED lights.
- Motion Sensors – Motion sensors for lights offer another way for eCommerce fulfillment companies to reduce their energy consumption. Motion sensors detect when someone is in the room and turn the light on only when someone is there. This eliminates the need for eCommerce fulfillment companies to leave the lights on all day, which can significantly reduce energy consumption.
Easy access to recycling containers and switching to energy-efficient thermostats are other ways to reduce your organization’s carbon footprint.
Consideration #2: Prioritize Low-Power Consuming Equipment
Did you know you can save up to 50% on energy costs by using more energy-efficient equipment? Energy conservation is a high priority for order fulfillment companies. Some companies outfit their operations with new, low-power consumption equipment. In contrast, others work to retrofit existing machines in a way that lowers overall energy usage (e.g., by eliminating heat-based label application).
eCommerce equipment like packaging machinery designed with integrated robotics offers a reduction in reciprocating movement. It includes frequency controls for motorized movement and is an energy reduction strategy that order fulfillment companies can explore.
Making financial considerations for new equipment and upgrades? Check out this post on making the case for capital expenditure investments in automated packaging equipment.
Consideration #3: Incorporate Sustainable Packaging Solutions
Consumer expectations are shifting toward a preference for sustainable packaging solutions – 87% of consumers prefer paper-based packaging. This is good news, as paper-based packaging materials have a low carbon footprint: The U.S. paper industry reduced greenhouse gas emissions per ton of product produced by 24.1% between 2005 and 2020.
Not only does paper sourced from responsible forestry practices accelerate forest recovery and encourage biodiversity needed for a healthy forest ecosystem, but the paper manufacturing process itself also uses mostly renewable, carbon-neutral energy. Sustainable packaging solutions are renewable, recyclable, and can be designed to protect valuable cargo inside from the elements and rigors of the shipping process.
Order fulfillment companies can play a significant role in reducing their carbon footprint by making small changes to their internal operations, using more energy-efficient equipment, and opting for sustainable packaging solutions.
Tension Corporation has long been a champion of sustainable business practices both in our plants and in working to meet our customer’s needs, and we’re focused on helping your business through sustainable packaging equipment and consumables.
Contact an expert at Tension today to discuss how we can help you achieve your sustainability goals in 2023 and beyond.