Zero Waste Delivery: Tips and Tricks for Sustainable Shipping

Zero Waste Delivery: Tips and Tricks for Sustainable Shipping
keyKey Takeaways:
  • Zero-waste delivery can lessen its negative effects on the environment.
  • The key to zero-waste delivery is selecting the appropriate packaging materials.
  • The efficacy of zero-waste delivery can be improved by working with partners that have similar values.
  • Companies can identify areas for improvement in their zero-waste delivery strategies by tracking and analyzing data.

Zero waste delivery is mainly focused on waste prevention and encouraging recycling. It promotes eliminating waste through reducing, reusing, and recycling.

On average, the world generates nearly 3.5 million tons of plastic every day. And if not taken care of, this is expected to raise to 7.5 million tons by the end of the century. Additionally, the largest landfills in America report receiving, average waste of 10,000 tons per day. 

The goal of zero waste is to divert 90% of waste from landfills by 2040 through a zero waste strategic plan. The basic idea is to preserve material values, reduce environmental impact, and conserve natural resources.

Here is a comprehensive guide to know more about
zero waste delivery. So, let’s take a look at it. 

What is Zero Waste Delivery?

Zero waste delivery is the systematic approach to manage resources considering the zero waste strategy. The zero waste approach helps to conserve natural resources and reduces pollution from extraction and disposal. 

Zero waste is needed because over-packaging and increasing the rate of consumption is causing damage to the environment. But, we can ensure minimum damage to the environment by following zero waste delivery in the future soon.

In this process, the 5Rs strategy plays a significant role in lowering the impact on the environment. 5Rs? Let us understand in the next section.

Basic Principles of Zero Waste Delivery

The basic principles of zero waste delivery are based on the 5Rs strategy which includes:

  • Refuse: The first step for promoting zero waste delivery is to refuse what you do not need. The “refuse” step involves saying “NO” to the wastes such as single use disposables or promotional freebies such as bags, straws, cutlery, and cups.  
  • Reduce: In the context of zero waste, reduce means removing or donating the household items that you do not need any longer. This will help to remove clutter and create more space and also equals less overall wastage.
  • Reuse: The next strategy is to reuse which simply means switching from disposable or reusable to permanent alternatives. For example, you can use reusable cutlery in order to avoid disposable cutlery. Also, refillable glass bottles can be an alternative for plastic bottles. 
  • Recycle: To avoid wastage of resources, recycling is the next strategy. This means to recycle the things that you can not refuse, reduce, or reuse. But, please note that some items cannot be recycled and will end up in the landfill. 
  • Rot: The last step is to rot the rest which means composting the leftovers of food or veggie scraps, any paper pieces, or wooden items. You can try to look for an outdoor garden compost or the other alternative solution is indoor vermicomposting. 

Composting will allow thousands of worms to transform the organic waste to essential nutrients and fiber for the earth. 

Why is Zero Waste Delivery so Important? 

The zero-waste delivery is becoming more important as it creates awareness about environmental degradation, climate change, and rising pollution. 

The main aim of zero waste is to avoid landfills from getting filled and to redesign the cycle of resource extraction, consumption, and waste management. It also focuses to avoid resource wastage on the longer run. 

How to Get Started with Zero Waste?

Now that we know the importance of zero waste delivery; let’s check how to get it started.

1. Develop a zero-waste delivery strategy

When implementing zero waste delivery through eCommerce, strategy is the key element. And especially when the online delivery demand has increased after the pandemic. 

One of the strategies like; Reuse is better than Recycling. So, if any delivery business works with this strategy they will be more focused on reusing than recycling.

For example, the wasteful cardboard boxes used for deliveries can be picked up during the next delivery and reused for future deliveries. 

2. Start using reusable containers

The zero waste delivery approach focuses on maximizing reuse and minimizing waste. This means they promote reusability of the containers. But, there is a possibility that the customers do not return the containers. 

So, there should be a system to manage the delivery planning logistics. For example, after the deliveries are made, they are picked up for subsequent delivery, sanitized and prepared for another delivery. 

3. Refuse the unnecessary products

For the success of any program or business we often require cooperation from the customers too. The customer should also refuse the unnecessary products like the excessive plastic packaging or extra cardboards while delivering. 

Adopting this minimal approach towards consumption can help to move towards zero waste delivery. 

4. Educate the customers

For the customers to know about zero waste delivery in eCommerce, it is important to educate them clearly. For promoting zero waste delivery the customers should be aware about refuse, reduce and reuse. 

This strategy will help the customers to buy less and focus more on ethical purchasing.  

Pros and Cons of Zero Waste System

  • Saves environment
  • Helps to save money
  • Increase self-sufficiency
  • Improve creativity
  • Promote corporate responsibility
  • Not convenient
  • Time consuming
  • Needs extra discipline
  • It can be expensive
  • Very limited access to zero waste stores

Essential Tips for Zero Waste Delivery

There are some tips on how we can adopt zero waste delivery, let’s have a look at them.

1. Promote single use plastics

We are familiar with the fact that plastic does not decompose. This means the plastic once used is still present in our environment in one form or the other.

So, in order to succeed, zero waste delivery we can promote single use plastics. So that these plastics can be discarded and recycled after one use and does not harm the environment much. 

2. Use zero carbon emission vehicles for delivery

The doorstep delivery operation is usually done through vehicles. Therefore, it is advisable to use zero carbon emission vehicles for delivery in order to avoid pollution. 

Get Best Routes for Zero Waste Delivery on Upper

Planning to start your zero waste delivery services with no time and effort?

Upper can help to improve the delivery timing and reduce inefficiencies for your delivery business. As a result, the operational efficiency of the zero waste delivery business is increased.

The Upper Route Planner is an advanced leading software for route planning and optimization. 

It can help to plan optimized delivery routes in minimum time and also manage the last-mile delivery smoothly. 

You can also create multiple-stop routes with a few clicks or directly import a CSV file. Automated features like delivery planning, optimization, reporting, proof of delivery, and real-time notifications also help to improve your delivery operations.

To learn more about the features and functionalities of Upper, take a 7-day FREE trial of the software. 

Simplify Zero Waste Delivery with Upper

Don’t waste too much time on manual route planning when you can find optimized routes instantly on Upper. Follow cost-efficient routes and save 40% vehicle fuel costs.


Attaining a 100% zero waste is quite impossible. However, this can be achievable by focusing on refusing, reducing, and reusing things and also promoting recycling of wastes.

You can check below the ways on how grocery store manage zero waste:

  1. Promote reusable cotton bags 
  2. Use the reusable containers
  3. Carry your own bag for groceries or dairy products 
  4. Always keep your shopping kit ready
  5. Adopt recyclable packaging 
  6. Minimize the use of products with excessive packaging
  7. Practice shopping at stores that support zero waste practices

Some of the benefits of zero waste are listed below: 

  • Reduces the impact on climate 
  • It helps us to conserve resources and reduce pollution
  • Promotes social equity and helps to build community
  • It supports the local economy and creates job opportunities

Final Thoughts

Since the supply chain and delivery industry are interdependent and contribute to major environmental issues, it is better to shift our focus to zero waste delivery.

If you are assoicated with the delivery industry, it is important to adopt zero waste delivery in order to move closer to green environment.

With Upper, it is easy to perform zero waste delivery by following optimized routes, which require less fuel and fewer resources. It reduces the overall carbon emission into the environment.

You can use a 7-day free trial and transform your delivery segment with zero waste deliveries.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner, a route planning and optimization software. With 28+ years of experience in the technology industry, Rakesh is a subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems. His ultimate goal with Upper Route Planner is to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges and simplify operations such as route planning, scheduling, dispatching, take a proof of delivery, manage drivers, real time tracking, customer notifications and more. He loves sharing his thoughts on eliminating delivery management challenges via blogs. Read more.