January 4, 2009 // Green

Image by hoosadork via Flickr

All over the country, people are becoming more conscious of how they treat the earth around them and trying to be more green. For anyone selling online, doing your part to help the earth is actually easier and cheaper than being wasteful. Unlike with other businesses where the conversion to a greener company can be expensive, sellers will find that doing right by the environment is actually much better for their bottom line.

How? Here are just a few small examples:

  • Instead of buying new boxes to ship your items in, reuse previously used boxes. Reusing shipping materials (boxes, packing peanuts and other materials, bubble wrap, etc) saves you money. If you reuse the boxes or packing materials that other companies have shipped you things in or if you just have a standing arrangement with a local store or a neighbor who gives you their unwanted boxes and other materials, you don’t need to purchase new packing materials. Also, by re-using these items you are doing your part to cut back on what goes into landfills. Good for the earth and good for your bottom line. (Hint: Retail stores usually throw out hundreds of boxes a day many of which are great eBay sizes. Most are more than happy to give them to you instead of the trash as long as you ask.)
  • Use less packing materials. This falls under the Reduce part of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. By shipping your items in boxes that are the best possible fit for your item, you ensure that you need to use less tape and other packing materials to make your items safe. The less packing supplies you need to use, the less you have to spend on them! This has the added benefit of, in most cases, reducing your shipping costs which your buyers will love!
  • Pack smarter, not heavier. Why jam in tons of heavy materials when an inflated air cushion will get the job done and weight less? Whenever possible, use packing materials that are recyclable or that, like the air cushions, easily become smaller once they become waste. This doesn’t mean that you should skimp on how you package your items, but simply that you rethink how you are packing them. If you can make them just as secure without using as much packing materials you save money on materials while also saving landfill space.
  • Going green is a major selling point! The best part is that these cost saving methods are actually a selling point. Advertise in your auctions that you are a green business and use almost entirely recycled packing materials. Earth conscious buyers will be more likely to purchase from you and even those that have only a passing interest in conversation will also take note. Buyers are often willing to pay a little more if they feel that they are doing something good. This is true of Giving Works listings and also just as true with environmentally friendly listings.

For more ideas, visit this great article on the topic from Jan Ferrigan.