Sustainability Steps for Small Businesses

Environmentally Friendly Options and UPS Services

Here at UPS, we're brown but deeply rooted in green. Our sustainable, environmentally focused practices date back a century to 1913, when we began consolidating deliveries to limit the number of vehicles on the road. We began using electric vehicles in our fleet as early as 1933, marking the start of an alternative fuel vehicle fleet that now numbers almost 2000, saving thousands on fuel annually and reducing our carbon footprint.

UPS also has one of the most robust and detailed programs for measuring and reporting the carbon impact of our operations, as well as that of our customers. We've used that program to help artists find more environmentally responsible ways to manage their concert tours. In one popular band's case, we used rail instead of semi trucks or aircrafts to get some of their equipment to a venue.  Doing so reduced a large portion of their carbon output while still ensuring that everything got to the destination on time.

You too can take steps to protect your shipments and the environment. Here are a few things your small business can do to minimize your impact.

Reduce Returns and Your Carbon Footprint with the Right Box

Transporting packages generates carbon dioxide emissions. Help keep yours to a minimum and ship using a box that's just the right size. Too big a box means wasted space on the trucks or airplanes that deliver your goods, which increases your environmental impact. You also run the risk of your goods shifting in too big a box, increasing the risk of damage and resulting in additional shipping in the form of returns or exchanges. Plus, using a box that's larger than needed means you're spending too much on shipping costs.

Also as important as box size is its structural integrity. The more a box is used, the more it loses its original protective qualities and may not adequately protect your shipment. In fact, a crease can reduce a box's strength by up to 70 percent. So start off with a new or almost new cardboard box. There's less chance of damage and therefore fewer returns that increase your carbon footprint.

Reuse Packing Materials

Selecting the right packing materials is another step toward shipping safely and eco-responsibly. Good cushioning options for lightweight items include packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and plastic air pillows--all items you can reuse.

If you find yourself with more packing peanuts than you need, participating locations of The UPS Store® will take in clean foam packing peanuts of all sizes, shapes, and colors for reuse. For additional information, contact The UPS Store location near you.

Ship with UPS Reusable Express Envelopes

If your business ships documents more than merchandise, use reusable document shipping envelopes and encourage your customers to use them when returning documents to you.  A UPS Reusable Express Envelope is made with 100% recycled fiber. It reduces paper waste when used a second time, either when returned to the sender or sent to another recipient. Available in letter and legal sizes, it's an envelope you can use, reuse, and then recycle.

Sign up for UPS Smart Pickup®

One of our primary carbon reduction strategies at UPS is to minimize the miles we drive and minutes our vehicles spend idling. This helps us maximize the number of pickups and deliveries we make with every gallon of fuel we use.  UPS Smart Pickup, an earth-friendly option available to small businesses, helps us in this mission. This scheduled pickup option is designed for customers who don't need a daily pickup but still want the convenience of an automatic pickup that doesn't require phone calls. The service option is available to UPS account holders and costs a flat $10 a week.

Ship Carbon Neutral

Transporting packages generates carbon dioxide emissions. You can help offset carbon associated with your shipment while demonstrating your commitment to sustainability by using UPS's carbon neutral shipping option. Customers taking part in the program support projects like the Garcia River Forest, La Pradera Landfill Gas, and Cholburi Wastewater Biogas-to-Energy. Using our carbon neutral shipping option lets you demonstrate your commitment to reducing climate impact, and enables you and your package recipients to share in that commitment.

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