Here at Indigo Herbs, we want to review and minimise our impact on the environment. We’ve created this series to share our journey, month by month, as we become more eco-friendly.
In our first instalment we speak to Hazel, our Operations Manager. He talks us through what measures have been taken to improve our environmental efforts in our dispatch department during “Phase 1” and what challenges were overcome.
What inspired you to make these changes in fulfilment?
We realised it was time to fully address the environmental impact of the single use plastic that we use as part of our environmental strategy throughout the business. Fulfilment seemed a good place to start as we send out so many orders every day. We want to change to recyclable and eco-friendly packaging.
What have we implemented?
The biggest change was replacing most of our bubble wrap with corrugated cardboard. We carried out some tests and concluded that our small glass products were as protected in recycled carboard as they were in bubble wrap.
We also looked at the range of boxes we use and brought in some smaller ones which perfectly fit our tincture range; this and a decision to ship more orders in boxes enabled us to reduce our use of plastic containing jiffy bags by over 50%.
There have been some smaller changes too, we now use much less tape to seal our boxes, and where possible we re-use packaging that we get from our suppliers.
How easy was it to implement? Were they any difficulties to overcome?
It’s been very easy to implement! Everyone at Indigo has been enthusiastic about the project and our fulfilment team has been on board from the start. We have made a few minor structural changes to the layout of the workstation and people’s workflows, but really, it’s been a seamless transition.
How easy was it to find the environmentally friendly packaging solutions to meet our requirements?
The planning behind ‘greening’ our dispatch processes started several months before we made any changes. Once I had identified exactly what we were using, the search started for alternative products that were practical both in usage and price.
There were certainly some challenges in this, a lot of the more eco alternatives to traditional dispatch materials were two or three times the price. When you are sending out a high volume of packages over a year, the costs stack up very fast and we didn’t want to pass on any additional charges to the customer. Happily, solutions were found and the options and cost for environmentally friendly products are getting better and more available all the time.
What are the plans for phase 2?
We have more changes planned. Expect to see paper tape instead of sellotape and the phasing out of all jiffy bags soon! We would also like to improve the quality of our cardboard boxes so they are thicker and can therefore be re-used by our customers.
We hope you enjoyed reading about the first step in our path to becoming more eco-friendly!
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