- Use the right size box. Some companies have standard-size boxes that they use,no matter how small the item being shipped. This results not only in wasted box
material, but in space-consuming plastics and other packing materials. For your packaging, make sure you use a box that is not so large that you have to fill the
space with excessive packing materials.
- When in doubt, choose paper. If you have to choose between paper and plastic, paper is always the more eco-friendly of the two. For example, using newspaper to pack your item is a greener choice than plastic bubble wrap. Plastic shipping containers are not as eco-friendly as corrugated cardboard.
- Packaging tape is usually plastic, but paper-backed adhesive tape is available. Paper packaging tape can be recycled, and some manufacturers use recycled paper to make this kind of tape.
- If you do choose plastic, look for a biodegradable variety. There are plastics available today that are made from wheat or corn starch. These kinds of plastics are not only biodegradable, they are from renewable sources as well.
- Choose packaging made from recycled materials. At one time, only corrugated cardboard boxes were made from recycled materials, but now you can obtain recycled paperboard shipping containers. There are also envelopes with newspaper padding (rather than bubble wrap) available. There are even biodegradable packing peanuts to be had, made from wheat or corn starch. Don’t forget to recycle your own packaging, re-using boxes that you receive in the mail.
- Re-use paper scraps from your home to fill void space in a package. You can cut up, crumple, or shred newspapers, junk mail, magazines, etc. to fill space.
- If you don’t want to use it, donate it. Perhaps you received a big box in the mail, full of Styrofoam packing peanuts. Although they are not a green option, it’s better to re-use them than throw them away (better to have them used in packages than
sitting in a landfill). If you can’t use them, donate them to your local post office.
- Recycle what you don’t use. This may seem obvious, but it bears repeating. If you can’t re-use a cardboard box for whatever reason – perhaps it’s too damaged,
or an inconvenient shape – then take it to your local recycling plant.
We hoped this helps you learn how to make packaging greener!