Smart, Environmentally Friendly Packaging Ideas by Jessica Hodges
Did you know that packaging constitutes as much as one-third of the non-industrial waste stream, which is why 28 countries have laws designed to minimize that waste? Unfortunately, the U.S. is not among them, according to www.idealbite.com.
To ship your holidays gifts the smart way, consider these tips that will help reduce what ends up in our landfills:
- Instead of throwing away the shreds you get when using a paper shredder, use them to fill packages you send in the mail. It doesn’t cost anything, it can be recycled and it’s an environmentally safer product than Styrofoam.
- Save cash by reusing. Boxes can cost a few bucks each. Avoid buying new ones by reusing the ones sent to you.
- If you don’t have old boxes to reuse, insist on mailing boxes that use 10% to 30% recycled paper.
- Ship early to avoid shipping by air. Energy costs for sending a package for next day delivery are four times higher than the cost of ground shipping.
- Lighter means more energy-efficient (and cheaper), so make sure you’re using the right size box for the job.
- Consider using cornstarch packing peanuts. They are made from corn starch and dissolve in water leaving no toxic waste. Organic fill is static free, economical, fast and easy to use. Place them outside and they will either disappear when the birds take them to make their nests or they will melt in the next rainstorm.
- Use recycled plastic bubble wrap to cushion the contents of your package.
- Reuse plastic shopping bags or shredded newspaper and pack it around breakables.
- Try gummed paper tape made from recycled Kraft paper.
- Visit Earth911.com to find a recycling center near you. Simply enter the name of the item you want to recycle and your zip code to find a recycling center nearby that will accept your packaging materials, such as packing peanuts. Most UPS Stores will gladly accept packing peanuts as well if you find your home or office is being consumed by them.
- For holiday packing materials, try dry pine cones and air-popped popcorn. They’re virtually free, festive and can be fed to the birds or put in the back yard after use.