With so many specialty outdoor shops now offering online sales, shipping product is a big deal. Back rooms and shipping departments all over the country are overflowing with mountains of cardboard boxes. And that is not cool.
What if your business could cut cardboard waste by applying the same principles of reusable water bottles and grocery bags to online orders?
In 2016, the cardboard industry produced 376.4 billion square feet of material, according to the Corrugated Packaging Alliance, and most of it was used for shipping.
Starting now, customers shopping at ToadandCo.com can opt-in to have their purchases shipped in a bag made of upcycled vinyl (from billboards) with a zipper and upcycled zip-tie closure. And remarkably, there's no extra fee to choose bag over box.
Instead of cramming a cardboard box into the recycle bin or debating whether a bubble wrap envelope is considered garbage or not, participating customers can simply flip over the included return label and leave the reusable package at the mailbox.
Then, the U.S. Postal Service returns it to the Chicago-area warehouse—where it originally came from—to use it for up to 2,000 future deliveries. The packages include GPS trackers, so customers can check the progress of their shipments and monitor its carbon footprint.
“Toad&Co is continually looking for opportunities to enhance the consumer experience and reduce our environmental impact in all aspects of the business,” said Kelly Milazzo, Toad&Co vice president of operations. “With the continued rise of global ecommerce business as well as our own, exceeding customer expectations and reducing the resources associated with consumer packaging have been focus points for us.”
Reduce, reuse, recycle: Read about three smaller companies making big reductions.
LimeLoop claims that each of its reusable packages save 10 trees that would otherwise be cut down and made into a box. Over the course of a year, eliminating traditional methods could save about one billion trees and two hundred billion gallons of water, according to LimeLoop.
If this pilot program goes well, those numbers could really add up.
"Toad&Co's incredibly inspiring approach to thoughtful innovation in all aspects of business and environmental impact created an exciting opportunity for us to rethink the entire packaging industry together,” said LimeLoop Founder Ashley Etling. “We are thrilled for them to be our first partner."
For more information, visit TheLimeLoop.com.