How to Be More Environmentally Friendly with Your Freight Forwarding

Posted on December 28, 2021
Categorised as Freight Forwarding Services

It’s no secret that international freight forwarding can have a huge impact on the environment. With the recent e-commerce boom, plus the use of fossil fuels and packaging materials, international shipping can result in a big carbon footprint. However, with some simple steps you can make your international freight much more eco-friendly.

Use The Right Shipping Method

You should make sure you’re using the shipping method that will have the least environmental impact. The method you use will depend on the size of your shipment and the distance it will need to be shipped.

Sea freight shipping is often the most eco-friendly shipping method, with a much smaller carbon footprint than air shipping. It can also be more efficient, as more shipments can be transported at once. Air freight, on the other hand, may require multiple trips, using much more fuel, to transport the same amount of goods.

For shorter distances, road freight may be a better alternative. Road freight will usually also have a smaller carbon footprint than transporting via air, and it can be quicker than sea freight shipping, depending on the distance that needs to be travelled.

Use Eco-Friendly Packing Materials

You won’t want to scrimp when it comes to packaging your international shipment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce the environmental impact. There are many sustainable options for packing materials that are much more eco-friendly than plastics.

For example, you can get compostable mailer bags made of potato starch instead of plastic ones. These will naturally break down much quicker than plastic mailer bags, which can stay in landfill for years and may even end up in our oceans.

You can also get biodegradable packing peanuts, or corrugated bubble wrap, as an alternative to plastic bubble wrap. Corrugated bubble wrap is usually made from 100% recycled cardboard and is also recyclable itself, greatly reducing the environmental impact.

And Ensure Materials Are Recycled on The Other Side

You should encourage the recipients of your shipment to recycle any and all appropriate packaging when your shipment is unpacked at its destination. Make sure you put clear instructions in your correspondence with them or print instructions directly on your packaging, so the recipient knows what material can be recycled and how they can do so.

Reduce Your Packing Materials

You should aim to pack your shipment as efficiently as possible to reduce the number of materials used. You can do this by ensuring the items are packed in appropriately sized boxes, using the smallest size possible without crowding the box too much and damaging your items.

By using the right size box, you’ll not only have to use less filler packaging to protect your items, but the shipper will be able to fit more items onto the shipment, making it much more efficient. You’ll also be able to save money yourself, by reducing the amount of packing materials you need for each shipment. Customers also notice when small items are packed in too-big boxes, so you can ensure both your customers and the environment is happy by reducing your packing materials.

Depending on what you are shipping, you might be able to ship the item directly in its own box, rather than placing a box within another box. This is known as SIOC or ‘ships in its own container’ and can massively reduce both your packaging costs and the impact on the environment.

Reduce the Weight of Your Shipment

You should aim to reduce the weight of your shipment by only packing exactly what is needed. If you sometimes ship extra freebies in your shipment for your customers as an incentive, instead give them the option to have an ‘eco-friendly’ shipment with just the minimum items and sustainable packaging. Or if you use a lot of fancy packaging to give customers the best unboxing experience, review what you use to see if you can reduce it whilst still giving your customers a positive experience. Doing this will not only reduce waste but can also reduce your shipping costs.


PBS International is an expert in international freight forwarding. Our professional and friendly team can find the right solution for your international shipping, to find the most economical and environmentally friendly method to transport your goods. Contact us to find out more information.

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