PostNL and FuturumShop aim to use less packaging material, transport less air in packaging, and thus make e-commerce more sustainable. This is why as of 3 September, the two companies will test the use of flexible, reusable packaging during a two-month period. The reusable packaging will be used to pack and deliver orders from FuturumShop, the online shop for cyclists and mountain bikers, in the city of Zwolle and the surrounding area. After delivery, the PostNL courier will take away the reusable packaging. A single reusable package can be reused up to 1,000 times, resulting in a saving of 138 kilos of cardboard. This equates to a saving of 138 kilos of CO2 . The reusable packaging is made of flexible material that takes the form of the product, which means the parcel contains less air.
PostNL and FuturumShop will test the use of reusable packaging for approximately two months in and around Zwolle. During this test period three packaging formats will be used, suitable for approximately 80 percent of FuturumShop orders. The products are placed in the reusable packaging and upon delivery the PostNL courier hands over the order to the consumer in a sealed reusable package. The consumer can immediately give the packaging back to the courier so that it can be reused. This also means the consumer is not stuck with unnecessary packaging material at home afterwards. At the end of the test period a review will be conducted with consumers, couriers and other parties involved to find out about their experiences. We will subsequently examine whether and how the use of reusable packaging could be applied on a larger scale.
Next step in sustainable packages
PostNL is using more emission-free vehicles, installing solar panels on all its parcel sorting centres and, in association with its partners, wants to make the e-commerce chain more sustainable. Packaging plays a major role in this endeavour. In 2015, PostNL developed the Food Box with Wageningen University & Research. The food boxes are used to transport chilled and fresh groceries and meal boxes. After delivery, the sealed boxes are taken away by the courier. The sustainable cool boxes can be reused up to 500 times and food suppliers do not have to pack the products in (cardboard) boxes themselves. Using these boxes eliminates the need for refrigerated vehicles. In 2016, PostNL also developed the FashionPack packaging to reduce the amount of packa ging material used and transport less air. The quantity of air is reduced by vacuum packing the clothes. This means that many clothing items will fit through a letterbox.
FuturumShop has put a strong focus on their environmental friendly delivery service for years already. In 2016 FuturumShop started with delivery by bicycle and for the packaging of its own brand, FUTURUM Quality Gear, they deliberately chose to do this without plastic.
Every year PostNL asks the so-called Kid's Council (of children aged 9 to 12 years) to reflect on sustainability issues. PostNL considers it important for children to be involved in solutions for their future. Children pose clear questions and come up with creative ideas. In 2017, PostNL asked the Kid's Council: "How could we remove unnecessary air from packaging?" During the annual dialogue session the Kid's Council advised PostNL and other players involved in e-commerce to think about packaging that could be recycled. PostNL and FuturumShop share this ambition and jointly developed this flexible and reusable packaging for the pilot.
*http://www.apecgsc.org/pub/apecgsc_english/knowledgeCenter/DataResearches/201605/P020161020534456362774.pdf (Page 9)