How To Use Less Packaging In Your Small Business

Businesses of all sizes can get through a lot of packaging, either from shipping your own products or from products that you have to order in. All that packaging generates a lot of waste. Learning to cut back on the packaging that you use can save your business money on both the packaging itself and the cost of getting rid of it. 

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Buying Packaging And Packaged Products

Set up some guidelines for the packaging that your business uses and make sure you follow them. 

Whenever you can, try to buy goods in bulk to reduce packaging. For example:

  • If you have business premises, buy your coffee for the staff kitchen in bulk, and store the extra until you need it
  • Instead of buying your printer paper one packet at a time, buy in bulk so you only have one box to dispose of

There are some other ideas you can use to reduce the amount of packaging that you use in your business. For example:

  • Don’t reorder sleeves of disposable plastic cups for your water machine. Instead put glasses in the staff kitchen, which can be washed and used again
  • Use bowls of sugar, jugs of milk, and reusable cutlery when you organize any meetings instead of using individually packaged, single-use products
  • Buy recycled office stationery

Selling Packaging

If you sell packaging, make sure you clearly tell your customers about how they can return and recover your packaging. What collection facilities are available to them?

Any packaging that you use ought to be made from recycled materials, and be as recyclable as possible or biodegradable. 

Reusing Packaging

Find ways to reuse the packaging that you do have to use in your business. You could:

  • Use returnable and reusable eco friendly packaging for your own products and encourage your suppliers to do the same
  • Shred used paper, and use it as packing to product orders that you’re shipping out
  • Save bubble wrap or polystyrene from items you have delivered to you, and reuse it in your own packaging
  • Save cardboard boxes or jiffy bags that are in good condition to be used again. 

If you can’t find a way to use some of your packaging materials again, try to recycle it instead. 

Dispose Of Packaging

Reduce, reuse, and recycle your waste packaging. Separate all the packaging that you use into different types, so you can recycle it more easily. Separating things in advance should reduce your recycling costs if you use a service to collect it from you. 

Cover any waste in skips so rodents aren’t encouraged to move in, and to reduce the amount of dust and litter being blown around and creating mess around your business site. 

If there is a risk that the packaging could have been contaminated by anything dangerous when you used it, you should make sure that you store it dry, so that run-off doesn’t pollute water or land around your site. Your site drainage system should be properly connected to the sewer system. 


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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