Packing material mania

I love getting packages…my kids love getting packages….my husband gets packages constantly, but for pete’s sake…is bubble wrap necessary for a BOOK?! I’m thinkin’ not!

Last week he received a package that was so heavily wrapped in packing tape that it probably would have been easier to break into a bank vault than that box. Inside were packing peanuts, foam AND bubble wrap. Are they serious? Could there be any more overkill than three different types of NON-recyclable packing materials? My husband even said “well, have fun recycling THAT!”

(However, I want to send kudos to the New York Botanical Garden. Our recent purchase came wrapped in a waffle-like brown paper that is 100% recyclable. What a relief and a glimmer of hope!)

I detest all of those other packing materials, but I admit that I use them. Before you shake your head at me, let me say I RE-use them after they get sent to me. I hope by simply re-circulating them it will, at least, keep them out of landfills.

Fortunately, some suppliers now offer eco-friendly packing materials (like biodegradable peanuts that dissolve in water) for items needing intense cushioning. One option that often gets overlooked is simply newspaper. It’s readily available, accessible, cheap, recyclable and if you give it a good “crumple”… it’s pretty cushiony!

But what could be even more fun is popcorn. Just think of it…not only would we get the excitement of the package and the thrill of the item inside, but we could celebrate it all with a nice “packing material” snack!

Photograph: Getty Images

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10 thoughts on “Packing material mania

  1. Doreen:

    Great blog! Keep it up!

    I’m with you totally on the packing materials…I mean how much crap do they have to stuff into those boxes, really?

    The good news is, my company gets our mail at a mail service company so that when we get packages, we open them right on the spot and give the packing materials back to the mail service company to use when packing their customer’s shipments.

    It’s our way of recycling and it certainly makes me feel better. Social responsibility is huge and with blogs like this, it becomes really hard for companies to hide behind cheap short-term (and eco-hurtful) practices.

    Rock on!

    -Lena

  2. Lena – Glad you visited my blog and I appreciate the compliment! I also appreciate the practices you’ve put in place. Every effort helps. I especially like to hear when people are not only green in their personal life, but in their work life too….that’s where TONS of waste occurs! …and yes, I plan to rock on! 🙂

  3. I agree! I hope more and more start using the corn packaging peanuts. Some times packaging/shipping companies will take your packaging peanuts.

    Also I have a giveaway going on, on my blog. The item is eco friendly and it will be since in reused packaging lol.

    Lisa Sharps last blog post..Giveaway- Aubrey Organics

  4. Go Doreen, Go Doreen, Go Doreen, Go Doreen
    You really hit these topics right on the head and I couldn’t agree with you more. Something that I’m still trying to figure out, when we order supplies at work (from a national chain I can’t say the name but it rhymes with Maples) they now use these air pouches or these 4×4 air squares that are made of plastic. Is this really a step in the right direction?

    Go Doreen, Go Doreen, Go Doreen, Go Doreen

  5. Lisa – We can only “hope” and spread the word of options! At least everyone could be conscious to reuse them and keep them in circulation, as opposed to throwing them away and buying more. Nice blog too!

    Matt – Thanks, sugar! As for those air pouches, yeah…they are a step in the right direction as long as they are the recyclable plastic or they get reused. The idea behind them is there is much less plastic used to create volume (imagine how much bubble wrap it would take to fill the same space!…YIKES!) On the financial side, they don’t create extra weight for shipping, so there is a benefit to “Maples!” Regardless, isn’t it silly to use any of these packing materials when they’re sending office supplies!…lord forbid we should get a fractured box of paper clips, huh?!?!? 🙂

  6. Going to a stratch base product takes work. While working for Ernest Packaging Solutions I have come accross may difftent problems with this material. 1. it attracts rodents. 2. It is heavier, which add to your frieght cost(more fuel also, think big picture). 3. Breaks down with mositure( any high humidity areas). 4. Heavy iteams will flatten the product. 5.dusty. 6. 40 bags fill a truck and take up to much space when having to store.
    Air pillows seem to be the best answer for now. They are make from recycled content and can be curbside recycled. Less storage needed and cost lees to ship upfront.

  7. I used to save all the packing materials I’d get. But when you have 3 50gallon trash bags FULL of peanuts, what am I supposed to do with them? I don’t ship THAT often! 😀 I’m loving the new air pillows. Fraction of the weight, less mess, if you want them dead you poke a hole in them. Instead I get maybe 1 or 2 of those in a box vs a ton of peanuts. 🙂

  8. Brian – Thanks for the insight…The air pillows seem like a better solution but are all of them really recyclable? If so, them I’m all for ’em!

    Happy – I understand exactly what you mean about the “volume” of some packing materials, but come’on….you could scatter them around your living room and claim they’re retro beanbag chairs! 🙂 But honestly, it sounds like those air pillows are a decent option when some type of packing is absolutely necessary.

  9. Pingback: » Six ounces of book in a two foot box. - Mom Goes Green

  10. Pingback: » A better way to recycle boxes? - Mom Goes Green

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