Rebecca Percasky blog header sustainable shipping

Unveiling Sustainable Shipping Strategies with the CEO of The Better Packaging Co.


Written by David Renwick

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Can logistics be the driving force behind a greener tomorrow?

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From AI-driven personalisation to delivery innovations and widespread sustainability initiatives, there’s no shortage of trends to stay up to date on. Check out the other articles right here on our blog.

For anyone in eCommerce, the idea of “sustainability” can at times seem difficult to wrap your head around. Where do you start? What do my customers care about? How much is this going to cost?

As the saying goes, “One bite at a time”. Success in sustainability, like most things in life, comes by making progress in small, cumulative steps over time. No-one understands that better than the co-founder and CEO of one of the world’s leading reusable packaging companies.

We sat down with the CEO of The Better Packaging Co., Rebecca Percasky, to discuss why a commitment to sustainable shipping practices is not only important, but achievable and even cost-effective.

Rebecca Percasky Better Packaging
About Rebecca

Rebecca Percasky co-founded The Better Packaging Co. out of a shared commitment to sustainable packaging. Recognising the urgent need for eco-friendly solutions without greenwashing, her team at The Better Packaging Co. is creating world's most sustainable packaging alternatives. Rebecca champions a circular economy, reshaping industry norms and fostering a greener future.

Hi Rebecca. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers and listeners?

Hi David. My name is Rebecca Percasky and I’m the Co-founder and CEO of The Better Packaging Co. In a nutshell, we’re on a mission to develop the world’s most sustainable packaging solutions, solutions that consider the complete lifecycle impact of a product from raw material sourcing, right through to end-of-life disposal.

Let's start off at a high level. In your view, what are some of the key challenges that the shipping industry faces in terms of sustainability?

The shipping industry is a significant contributor to global carbon emissions, accounting for a substantial portion of environmental impacts. The reliance on fossil fuels, particularly heavy fuel oil, results in greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Reducing carbon emissions while maintaining efficient global trade is a complex challenge.

Read more about this in our interview with Sendle's Director of Sustainability.

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Packaging materials, especially single-use plastics and non-recyclable materials, contribute to waste generation and environmental pollution.

The production of packaging materials requires resources such as water, energy, and raw materials. Packaging design impacts the efficient use of space during transportation.

As consumers become more conscious of sustainability, companies must meet their demands for eco-friendly and ethical products. This often requires adjustments to supply chain processes and sourcing practices.

Could you explain the concept of "greenwashing" in the context of the shipping industry?

Greenwashing refers to the deceptive or misleading practices used by companies to create a false perception of their commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility, or ethical practices.

This misleading communication aims to capitalize on the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly and socially conscious products. Companies engaging in greenwashing may use misleading claims, labels, or branding to create a false perception of their commitment to sustainability, while failing to take substantive actions to reduce their environmental impact.

Greenwashing is problematic because it undermines genuine efforts toward sustainability and erodes consumer trust. To avoid falling for greenwashing, consumers and stakeholders need to evaluate companies' claims, ask for evidence of sustainable practices, and look for third-party certifications or independent audits that verify a company's commitment to environmental responsibility throughout its supply chain.

How does Better Packaging ensure that it avoids greenwashing and promotes genuine sustainability?

Greenwashing is a dirty word at Better Packaging! Right from the get-go we’ve always tried to be incredibly transparent about what our products can and can’t do. To do this we provide clear and verifiable information about our full whole supply chain. We back up any claims with data, certifications, and third-party audits to prove the authenticity of their environmental efforts. We have carried out LCAs on your key product ranges to ensure that they are what we say they are. Certifications are a vital part of this. We don’t make any claims unless we can back them up scientifically.

What specific sustainable practices or innovations does Better Packaging employ to reduce the environmental impact of shipping?

We believe that instead of being a necessary evil packaging can be the hero and make a positive impact. We have developed a new range of packaging that delivers both social and environmental impact.

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POLLAST!C our world first wards winning packaging is made from 100% ocean bound plastic pollution. We’re working with communities in Indonesia to collect pollution from their waterways, beaches and surrounding environments and we’re turning this into packaging. It has a 75% less carbon footprint than traditional packaging and makes a social impact by providing living wage employment. It tickets 13 of the 17 sustainable development goals.

It has the smallest carbon footprint of any eCommerce packaging. So not only are you replacing virgin products but every POLLAST!C product is part of an epic environmental clean-up program!

We also have a range made from Bamboo - boxes and envelopes. Bamboo is a fast-growing grass that is harvested above the roots then keeps growing – just like mowing the lawn. The growth and harvesting process is faster and less disruptive by contrast to logging trees which kills the entire tree and then requires reforestation. Bamboo releases 35% more oxygen and absorbs up to 6 times more CO2 than the equivalent pine trees. It is FSC certified and curbside recyclable with paper + also compostable.

What role does packaging design play in promoting sustainable shipping? How does Better Packaging balance the need for protective packaging with environmental considerations?

We follow the Ellen Macarthur circular design principles and like them believe that waste is a design flaw and that 80% of all waste starts at the design phase. By designing out waste we are working towards a waste free world.

In your opinion, what are some common misconceptions or misunderstandings that businesses have when it comes to sustainable shipping? How can they overcome these challenges?

That it is going to cost more to be sustainable. This is no longer the case - sustainability pays off both environmentally and for the bottom line. We can no longer afford not to operate sustainably.

What advice would you give to businesses that are looking to enhance their shipping sustainability without incurring excessive costs? Are there any low-cost or easily implementable strategies they can adopt?

Absolutely! We find that cost savings and sustainability often go hand in hand. We always encourage brands to reduce the amount of packaging they use by optimising their packaging design to reduce waste, space optimisation, leads to lower fuel consumption and emissions as the size and weight of what your shipping has reduced.

Efficient packaging design can streamline handling, storage, and distribution processes within the supply chain. This leads to reduced transportation costs, shorter lead times, and improved overall operational efficiency.

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Packaging does play a crucial role in protecting products from damage during transit and storage. Balancing protective packaging with sustainability considerations involves using innovative designs and materials that offer adequate protection while minimising waste.

We encourage brands to work with delivery companies like Sendle that are using renewable practices and to explore partnerships with sustainable suppliers. Technology plays a huge part. Companies like Starshipit can optimise your shipping while also saving money. Outsourcing and using third parties helps to reduce impacts by sharing resources.

We can also start to think outside the box. Ask yourself: Are there any companies you can collaborate with to optimise transportation routes and share resources, leading to more efficient and eco-friendly last-mile delivery options?

Looking ahead, what trends or developments do you foresee in the field of sustainable shipping? How is Better Packaging preparing to adapt and lead in this evolving landscape?

Future trends may include increased adoption of renewable energy sources, innovative packaging materials, advanced data analytics for efficient route planning, and a shift towards circular economy models. Blockchain tech has the potential to enhance transparency and traceability in supply chains, allowing consumers and stakeholders to verify the authenticity of sustainable claims, certifications, and the origin of materials.

Advances in data analytics and technology will enable more accurate tracking of environmental metrics, leading to better-informed decisions and optimisations across the supply chain for reduced energy consumption, emissions, and waste.

The integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, into supply chain operations will reduce reliance on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and manufacturing. Stricter environmental regulations and reporting requirements will drive companies to adopt more sustainable practices and improve their transparency regarding supply chain impacts.

We want to stay at the forefront of these trends and continuously innovate our packaging solutions to align with evolving sustainability standards. We’re constantly developing the most sustainable and innovative packaging materials.

We believe in a future where all packaging is made from a pollution source and no further virgin materials are required. The world has created enough materials. It's now time to harvest them, get them back in loop and keep them there forever. By placing a value on waste, we will look after it as the precious resource it is.

Wrap up

And that wraps up our interview with Rebecca Percasky. It's clear that for retailers today, there's never been a better time to adopt sustainable packaging (with Better Packaging!) or work with courier companies like Sendle who prioritise renewable practices.

To optimise your shipping with automation, saving on both shipping costs and inefficient fulfilment, Starshipit is your partner for success.

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David Renwick

David Renwick

David is Starshipit's Product Marketing Lead. When he's not whipping up a fresh new product update or chatting to customers for an exciting case study, you'll typically find him scoping out coffee spots and talking about what's on at the movies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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