How + why to send parcels using eco-friendly packaging

Sending parcels by land, sea and air can cause a lot of pollution, but in this day and age it’s become a necessity.  We no longer all live in the same village as all our loved ones and are instead spread across the globe!  Families are split between countries and sending gifts, communication and belongings is easy to do globally with the postal service.

We also love to order things online thanks to cheaper prices and access to a global marketplace.  Our lives are busy and hectic, so being able to quickly place orders online from the comfort of wherever we are, is one less thing to stress about.  One less outing, one less errand to run.

Whilst we can’t totally control the air pollution that is caused by the postal transport service, until everyone is made to use electric vehicles, we can control the type of packaging we send our own parcels in.

Every second 2760 parcels are sent globally.  87 billion parcels were sent globally in 2018. – Source

I can barely even imagine what one million parcels looks like, let alone one billion, let alone eighty seven billion!

That’s a lot of parcels and an incredible lot of packaging; packaging that no doubt mostly ends up in the bin, with some recycled and reused.

I know, from experience, that sometimes items are sent to me from online sellers in an obscene amount of wrap that is totally unnecessary.  I’ve had items that are unbreakable and will travel fine in the post, such as a plastic pot of supplements, arrive wrapped in plastic bubble wrap with layers and layers of plastic tape.  It’s so un-environmentally friendly and very frustrating to receive.

Of course there are items that need sealing and there are items that are breakable.  These items need to be wrapped appropriately and bubble wrap can be excused, perhaps,  for now.

As the rise of green living continues and sustainability continues to be a hot topic, we are all aware, both business and personal, that we need to take action to stop creating so much waste and in particular non-recyclable, throwaway waste.

Packaging companies are getting on board and creating a wide range of eco-friendly packaging that will reduce harm to the environment.

Eco-friendly packaging methods

If you need to post parcels then do think about what you are packing your items in.  Here are some eco-friendly packaging materials to get you started in reducing packaging waste.

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Recycle what you receive

Firstly, always save and reuse the packaging you receive.  We save as much as we can and reuse it.  This stops us instantly throwing plastic material into the bin if we can reuse it.  We save padded envelopes, cardboard boxes, mailing bags and bubble wrap.  We rarely need to buy any packaging materials ourselves at all.  If you need a large box then don’t be afraid to ask a local supermarket or shop if they have any cardboard boxes going spare.

Choose cardboard boxes + kraft mailers

If you need to buy new packaging materials then always opt for cardboard posting boxes and kraft eco mailers which can be recycled, or even composted.  Online companies such as Lil Packaging sell mailing bags made from paper that are water resistant.  These are a much better alternative to plastic mailers.  We currently have some biodegradable mailers, but who knows exactly how biodegradable these plastic mailers really are.  They may breakdown, but they may still leave a trace of plastic or small plastic particles in the environment.  We will be switching to paper mailers as soon as ours run out and if we can’t reuse enough of the packaging we receive.

Seal with paper tape

This is next on my list to buy for our own packaging needs as I feel so guilty wrapping parcels with plastic Selotape.  We have several rolls to use up and then we will switch to paper tape.  There are kraft tape rolls that are made from brown paper and have a natural rubber adhesive.  These are biodegradable and made from all natural materials.

There are lots of ways to reduce the environmental impact of packaging waste by choosing reusable, recyclable and biodegradable natural materials.

Related blog posts

Eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper #CutTheWrap

How robots are helping to save the planet

Your ultimate guide to an eco-friendly kitchen

Plastic is not fantastic – the dirty secret of where our recycling really goes

Plastic waste can be turned into roads (and 20 ways to reduce plastic consumption)

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Collaborative post – all words & thoughts my own