Ecological delivery: which delivery method to choose?

The carbon impact of consumers is becoming more and more important in their purchasing decisions. According to the European Commission, 67% of consumers prefer more responsible modes of consumption. The transport of goods actively contributes to greenhouse gas emissions (10%). So how to ship your parcels in a more responsible way? Upela gives you advice, whether you are a private individual or a professional in your approach.

Our green delivery option advices

Standard delivery 

Selecting a standard delivery method limits empty trips. Selecting the express delivery method makes it difficult to collect grouped parcels, and can cause empty trips. Choosing the express delivery method does not allow the shipping trucks to be sufficiently full to pool all the shipments and therefore increases the number of trips.

Avoiding returns: 

If you are a consumer, be sure to choose the right size or read the customer reviews before you buy. Indeed, returning your order means an additional trip to make after your purchase and therefore a greater carbon impact. For companies, be sure to give accurate descriptions on your product sheets and to send products that match this description to avoid your customer receiving damaged goods or goods that differ from the initial description. Moreover, packing your shipments correctly will avoid the deterioration of your goods during transport and thus limit the returns.

Favor delivery to a pickup point:

This solution allows you to pool deliveries at the same location, and thus reduces the carbon footprint of transportation by limiting home delivery. This point should be taken with care, if you have to take the car to go to your relay point, then prefer home delivery (to prevent a potential additional round trip by car). However, if your situation allows you to recover your shipment without using polluting means of transport, then the pickup point is made for you. 

Scheduling your delivery: 

When you choose the home delivery method, it is possible that your details have been entered incorrectly, that your name on the mailbox is not legible or not legible, or simply that you are absent during the delivery. These small mishaps may require a rescheduling of your package delivery, and therefore multiply the carrier's trips. Therefore, make sure you enter your contact information and that someone is available at your home to receive your package.  

Eco-friendly packaging : 

Are you a shipper? Choose environmentally friendly and recyclable materials such as cardboard and paper tape, which are easily recyclable. Limit the use of plastics for your shipments, as well as over-packaging. 


Which transport solution is the most eco-friendly? 

Air transport: 

This mode of delivery has the largest carbon footprint of all delivery methods, even if this mode of transport is not the most common for parcel shipments, it is indeed the most polluting. Often used for express deliveries, because the delivery times are very fast (especially for international shipments), the carbon impact of a journey by plane is very important. For example, if you order an item coming from China with an express delivery method, it will be delivered by plane, whereas if you choose standard delivery times, river transport will be preferred. 

To give you an idea, a parcel sent from France to China weighing 1 kg represents about 6 kg of CO2 (not counting the extraction and production of the fuel consumed during the transport of your parcel). This represents 45,455 liters of tap water, 31 kilometers driven or 12 vegetarian meals.

Road transport : 

Road transport is the most used mode of transport for parcel delivery, since it handles 90% of the goods flows. Even if this means of transport is less polluting than airplanes, trucks still represent 7.2% of the total French CO2 emissions. However, it is much more adaptable to an eco-friendly approach, especially with the electrification of the vehicles, the fact of waiting to fill a truck before making it leave and thus limiting the empties in the vehicles. This means of delivery is more "ecological" and economical (insofar as the express delivery mode is not privileged) than air transport. However, the latter also has disadvantages such as the degradation of air quality, traffic jams which cause a higher consumption of fuel, etc.

Inland waterway transport: 

River transport is also a more environmentally friendly means of transport than the previous one, "a boat emits 5 times less CO² than a truck for 1 ton of transported goods" according to the Epsa group. The advantage of this means of transport is that there are no empty journeys, which means that journeys are made when the boat is full, which avoids "unnecessary" journeys and therefore a lower environmental impact. River transport takes longer than its predecessors, so you probably won't be guaranteed delivery in 24 or 48 hours. "A 4400-ton ship replaces 220 20-ton trucks on the road and four trains."

Rail transport : 

Rail transport is the most ecological mode of transport to date for your parcel shipments, it is one of the solutions that generates the least CO2 among the delivery modes mentioned above. "One train is equivalent to 45 trucks, which represents 6 times less energy consumption, 9 times less CO2 emissions and 8 times less air pollution compared to trucking", according to Epsa.

Even if it is not always easy to know which type of transport will be used for your shipments, choosing standard modes of transport in order to limit your carrier's journeys is already more respectful of the environment. You can also choose to have your goods delivered to a pickup point or to your home as long as it limits the number of trips (however, make sure to schedule them well to limit the number of trips). Filling your boxes properly or choosing the right size will help you to avoid taking up too much empty box space and thus make the most of the space in the transport vehicles and prevent empty trips. Finally, choose easily reusable or recyclable packaging for your packages. 

Have a good shipment!

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