Reduce Postal Packaging Waste This Christmas - Cullen

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Reduce Postal Packaging Waste This Christmas

It’s safe to say Christmas 2020 will be one like no other.

With COVID-19 restrictions likely to be with us for some time, the usual preparation for the festive season will look a little different this year, including a huge rise predicted for online shopping. At the height of lockdown in May, internet sales hit an all-time high accounting for 32.8% of total retail sales1. The run up to Christmas could see that figure soar even higher.

From gifting to food and drink, Christmas shopping is going digital and deliverable.

Of course, more deliveries mean more Christmas packaging, adding to the extra 30% of rubbish generally produced and discarded (equating to 100 million bags of rubbish heading to landfill) throughout the festive period. At the same time, consumers are more switched on than ever to the issue of waste. Last Christmas, a survey from leading waste managers Biffa revealed that 87% of people want to see retailers reduce product packaging and prevent the creation of unnecessary, hard to dispose of waste. Furthermore, 68% will improve their recycling effort by buying gifts made from recyclable materials or containing less plastic packaging.

So how can retailers meet the highest ever demand for online sales while also minimising their contribution to Christmas waste and keeping their customers happy?


Make your Christmas packaging a perfect fit

To keep packaging material to a minimum, make it fit. Packaging that is too large or unnecessary for the product it contains, and the resulting increased waste, is a common consumer complaint – enough to inspire a social media movement to highlight #unnecessarywaste. When packaging wines, spirits or beers, for example, consider replacing plastic air sacs or polystyrene pieces with a form-fitting paper solution which does away with the need for void filler or excess material.


take the riddle out of recycling

Consumers want to recycle but variable local recycling rules, as well as a lack of clear information around the material itself, do little to help the confusion. Producers and retailers can best help by providing clear communication about how to dispose of their items. Using the right material, then, is key. Paper, cardboard and moulded pulp are instantly recognisable and the most widely accepted materials for kerbside recycling schemes.


Send it safely

So, the packaging is fitting well and made from 100% recyclable material but is it doing the job? Ultimately, packaging has to protect. If packaging doesn’t perform, it causes unnecessary waste and a poor customer experience, not ideal at an important time like Christmas. Make sure packaging is from a sound and reliable supplier with stringent quality standards and the certification to match.

Consumer expectation will be heightened this Christmas. If you need help making sure your packaging is suitable, sustainable and safe, get in touch with Cullen.


1Office of National Statistics –