In 2018 our founder Roberta Lee spoke to our good friend Chris from DropPoint to hear his thoughts on circular economy and how that fits with his CIC.
DropPoint provide the public with vital information about places that can accept donations, this will be a database of information for charities and non-profit organisations. They help charities and non-profit organisations display listings of item(s) that are wanted or needed in their business. This allows groups, registered charities and non-profit organisations to share their information more diversely, in hope that this will encourage people to donate unwanted items and benefit those in greater need.
DropPoint hope this will encourage people to make ethical decisions, recycle and reuse items instead of throwing them away, creating a diversion of waste from landfill. It’s such a great idea!
Greenwashing across logistics
Logistics companies are making an ever increasing pledge to go green with all of the big names getting involved. There have been vocal commitments from the largest corporations in the world such as UPS, DHL and Fedex to switch to electric trucks and vehicles, with big preorders alone for the Tesla Semi truck.
It is not enough to just make these promises. Transportation is one of the world’s top global polluters and there needs to be more transparency about what companies are doing to stick to these commitments. It is not enough to greenwash with subtle changes.
It’s a slow process for these companies to adjust to the new global landscape, meeting the demand for lower carbon emissions and reaching performance targets, while keeping competitive prices. It’s difficult to replace millions of pounds of infrastructure overnight with a fleet of new vehicles.
What can the consumer do to contribute?
As we all know sometimes delivery times do not always fit in with our work and life schedules and delivery drivers can miss their window and have to redeliver. That’s two journeys from a distribution hub. Also excessive packaging (which could be streamlined for letterbox size parcels) is a well known bugbear. This amount of waste is creating less space in vans, and perhaps worse is failed delivery attempts mean items that could have easily been delivered are being sent out multiple times.
Greener delivery options
People wanting to contribute to greener economy and reduce the amount of vehicles on the road, should be opting for Click and Collect options over Home Delivery as this negates the need for excess journeys made in vehicles for individual parcels. This is another avenue to explore as a small ethical retailer, to go the extra mile in providing a truly sustainable product from creation all the way to delivery they can take parcels on foot to a Click and Collect point for their customers instead of having the van drive to their front door.
Also remember to not waste that box! If your online order came in a box you don’t have any use for try searching on DropPoint to see if you can repurpose your clutter into the box and help those in need.
Opportunities to go more green
One of the positives is that new smaller ventures are having a chance to compete in this industry. By trying to tackle this very issue and they are hitting the ground running as customers are choosing to go with greener companies. There are companies that tout being 100% carbon neutral and deliver your parcels on a local level via bicycle or electric vans
For those retailers who cannot avoid sending parcels with packing to stop breakages there are other options coming into the market, Ecovative produce a biodegradable and sustainable packaging material out of mushrooms.
One of the ways to tackle the inefficiency in delivery services is to put more choice and responsibility on the customers with specific delivery windows but better still is the availability of PUDO points through companies like Collect+ and InPost who have a combined network of 8200 lockers and collection points located all over the UK. With extended opening times it’s easier than ever before to pop in to your local supermarket or petrol station at a time that is suited to the individual.
The InPost lockers are functional 24/7 making them the most flexible for the modern online shopper. Not to mention the environmental benefits of having one truck stop off and load/unload these automated parcel lockers.
Where I live there are 4 such Collect+ points within a mile of my house, an easy walk. Also, anything that gets delivered you can apply the same logic to returns. For people on the go it makes sense to just leave your parcel at a point near your home or work.
How DropPoint are here to help
Fast forward to 2018 and we developed a platform which matches the items that people are willing to donate with a network of charities, social enterprises and community groups with specific wishlists. Drawing on experience from the logistics industry we provide the lowest online rate for people to send parcels directly to these causes with services available at 3kg, 5kg & 10kg options, we can also send out postage labels for those who are without printing facilities.
With new charities and ethical retailers signing up to make use of our postal services we are creating an accessible way to extend the life-time usage of items, giving individuals and corporations the opportunity to fulfil their philanthropic needs while not using the trends of sustainable living as an excuse to exploit the green pound. Sustainable living should be for everyone and we are doing our bit to help, one parcel at a time.
Roberta is the founder of Ethical Brand Directory and Roberta Style Lee. She is a speaker, coach and sustainable stylist. You can connect with her on Instagram: @robertastylelee Facebook: @robertastylelee