Updated: Nov 3, 2020
Receiving a package in the mail might be one of the most exciting joys in day-to-day life. It is the perfect practice of delayed gratification: order something one day and then wait for the day it arrives on your doorstep. But sadly most packages these days arrive in a plastic envelope or in a box with its contents protected in additional plastic. In fact, 40 % of plastic produced is for packaging purposes – it is used once and discarded at a rate of almost one per resident per day (National Geographic).
The idea to create this post was inspired by the dialogues we're having with brands on a weekly basis. When we design spaces and create content, we place orders for various sustainable products to bring into the project. This opens up the opportunity to make an effort to request a plastic-free shipment.
Plastic-free shipping is always part of the conversation we're having with brands and it's time to not only ask the brand for a one time "plastic-free exception" for our orders, but also offer solutions to contribute to a better & greener tomorrow. We believe that a GREENER PLANET shall be a collective effort and thus we’ve compiled a list of eco-packaging alternatives for you:
EcoEnclose is a company dedicated to providing eco-friendly packing and shipping supplies. They have products for all purposes of shipping including:
COMPOSTABLE PACKAGING & BRANDED MATERIALS
SPI is another eco-packaging company that focuses on producing compostable alternatives to plastic clamshells and other packing materials
Styrofoam is a commonly used packaging plastic that usually comes in the form of packing peanuts and molds. It is so widely used due to its lightweight structure, but this is also one of its most fatal flaws. Styrofoam (polystyrene) can break into smaller pieces and is easily carried with wind to nearby water sources. The production of polystyrene also releases ground-level ozone, a hazardous air pollutant.
Instead of styrofoam, look into...
Mycelium is the root structure of mushrooms and can be grown into any given mold in just one week. It is completely compostable, and doubles as a carbon sink in the process!
Fiber and Paper molds
RyPax - a company who produces molds made out of molded fiber, which are great alternatives to plastic molds. Molded fiber is a material made from recycled corrugated pulp, paper or fast growing natural fibers such as bamboo, bagasse and reeds
Paper Foam - biodegradable material that can be shaped into molds that can replace styrofoam
Plastic Mailers, Wraps, Stickers, even if made from recycled plastic, can take up to 1000 years to decompose, and there are several great alternatives. If you're looking for more, dive into these company’s websites and learn more about their eco-friendly packaging options!
If you're reading this post, you've probably already received a plastic-free shipping request from us but we hope brands are not the only one's who can use these hipping alternatives. If you're thinking about launching your own business then you should consider some of the options above. If you're a conscious consumer demanding less single-use plastic in your life, feel free to share this resource list with brands you'd like to inspire to ship better.