OK, so a little play on words there – we offer Irish gifts, and a lot of what we sell is, of course, green. But, I was actually after a more serious topic. By our very nature as an online retailer, we’re in a position to either:
1) do a lot of good for the environment, or
2) do a lot of damage to the environment
As responsible business owners, Julie and I have chosen option #1. Where we can make the largest impact is in how we run our warehouse. We receive a lot of product into it, and we ship a lot of product back out. What we’ve done is added large sorting bins to the receiving area in order that we can “salvage” the packing material used in our deliveries. Obviously, we only keep the stuff that still has life left in it. But, if it is perfectly good, why discard it?
When we ship, we re-use the material from the bins (they have wheels that make life a bit easier…) in some of the outbound packages. Naturally, not all of them are suitable candidates. Kraft paper, for example can be less than optimum material for long flat items, etc.
The boxes are another story – we normally have to recycle them. Most of them are simply too big to be re-used, but every now and then, we do get the chance. Mainly, they are stacked for weekly deliveries at the local recycling center. I cringe when I see other businesses simply fill dumpsters with cardboard boxes. It just seems like such a waste. Recycling is also the name of the game for office paper – even the shredded, cross-cut stuff.
You’d be surprised what a difference the above makes, compared to what it could be. For the most part, our only trash is the normal stuff that people discard. I’d ask you to think along the same lines when you receive a package from us, or anyone else, for that matter. Perhaps you’ll be mailing packages at Christmas that you can use the boxes and materials for. What about storage? None of us ever seem to have enough!
Whatever the use, there is an excellent chance that both the box and the packing material have another trip or two left in them. I’m convinced that small steps like this can make a long term difference on the planet that we all share. So don’t forget to go green with an Irish gift!