How food companies can ship food sustainably

Solutions to the environmental concerns in the food shipping industry

In the process of producing and shipping food, only in the US, this process creates 38% of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s time to think of solutions when it comes to the food industry, so here’s how food companies can ship food sustainably.

Have you ever considered how much carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere when brands produce and deliver food? This process creates 38% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States when you add the agriculture and transportation industries together. That’s a significant issue, especially when meal subscription boxes have recently become more popular.

Overall, just packaging waste across all industries makes up one-third of what is delivered to landfills each year. So we take a deeper look at the food industry can improve its shipping practices.

How food companies can ship food sustainably

What causes these environmental concerns?

It’s pretty easy to pinpoint where and when businesses make harmful choices for the environment. These decisions are often unavoidable, like using commercial trucks to ship orders to customers around the country.

However, companies also prioritize simple, inexpensive methods that benefit them first and don’t always take the planet into account.

These harmful practices usually start with production. There are already environmental issues with agriculture, beginning when people clear land for pastures. Then, farmers send food to distributors that might package the items in plastic, cardboard, and Styrofoam before they ship to customers. Those products make their way to buyers via unsustainable transportation methods.

Unfortunately, companies that sell food can’t do much about the agricultural system. It’s up to producers to pursue eco-friendly farming and fishing practices to protect the planet. However, they can make adjustments regarding packaging and shipping. These changes will help meet consumers’ wishes, which have shifted to prioritize environmentalism.

How food companies can ship food sustainably
Photo credit: Uriel Mont from Pexels

New alternatives for product packaging

There are many obstacles when shipping food. It always needs to be chilled, which requires resources that aren’t always eco-friendly. These items are usually dry ice and gel packs that can stay cold long enough to keep products frozen until customers receive them.

However, they create waste issues. If you send dry ice and gel packs with each order, your customers will have to throw away more packaging in addition to the box and packing materials. It’s possible to reuse gel packs, but brands can’t expect every customer to take that step.

Alternatives exist to help businesses deliver food in more sustainable ways. Today, it’s possible to make ice packs with water and cotton to create a fully biodegradable chilling product. Plus, brands can choose to use 100% recyclable materials for boxes and insulation.

Innovations that monitor the containers’ oxygen levels will keep food fresh without the need for excess cooling products, making a substantial difference in how much packaging companies need to maintain item freshness.

Small business looking for sustainable packaging, compostable mailer and tissue? noissue!

Tricks to reduce shipping implications

Typically, nationwide shipping requires using planes and trucks to get products from warehouses and factories to customers. This method creates greenhouse gas emissions that warm the atmosphere. It’s not easy to avoid using such transportation practices because brands might need to ship deliveries from California to New York, for example.

That’s why companies should aim to reduce whatever environmental implications they can. There could be incentives like a discounted product when a customer chooses local pickup rather than shipping. It’s also essential for companies to stay updated on electrical vehicle opportunities that could emerge in the future. Options like green delivery vans have become more feasible.

Altogether, businesses do have ways to make more sustainable choices as they ship food products. It’s important for them to pursue whatever opportunities are available. This way, they can meet customer demand and support the planet’s present and future.

Fixing packaging and transportation methods can help the planet

There’s no denying that climate change has become a substantial problem — and companies need to adjust their methods to create a greener planet. Many issues come with shipping food specifically. However, we have access to solutions regarding packaging and transportation. These fixes will help us get one step closer to a more sustainable future.

How food companies can ship food sustainably

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Jane Marsh

Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she shares practical tips on how to live a greener life.

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