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Environmentally Friendly Packaging Ideas
It’s time we start reducing our carbon footprint and take responsibility to save our Mother Earth. Going back to eco-friendly packaging ideas, we can take our first step to save our environment.
In the not so distant past, when plastics weren’t around and technology wasn’t that advanced, simple people used simple means to pack. These included using wicker baskets, cloth bags, duffle bags, and not forgetting brown paper bags.
Cut to the present when large-scale production took place, paper was replaced by polythene bags, wicker baskets with thermocol boxes, gunny bags and cloth bags were replaced by plastics and more plastics. Let’s just conclude by saying, with the amount of waste produced every day, isn’t it true that the Earth is turning into a huge wastebasket? The amazing fact is that a significant part of this waste consists of packaging waste made up of non-biodegradable material. Styrofoam, plastics, metal scraps and foils that are used in bulk to package essential goods lie around in landfills for hundreds of years before breaking down. This in turn damages the environment in general, and it is undoubtedly the slow death of Mother Earth.
Considering the damage we are already doing to the planet, we can take a step back and try our level best to reduce our carbon footprint. The smallest step we can take to reduce our carbon footprint is by changing the way we package our goods. There are many environmentally friendly packaging methods out there, all we have to do is tap into the available resources. The mantra that will help keep the Earth green is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Let’s go on a mission green then, with our biodegradable packaging ideas.
Bag Plastic, Use Bio-plastic Instead
Plastic we know is durable and is used for most packaging, however it is not easily degradable. The biggest disadvantage of plastic is that it contains toxins that can pose a danger not only to people, but to other living organisms as well as to nature.
Consider this as well.. The PET bottles used to pack soft drinks and mineral water are intended for single use; but often find a place in the refrigerators of most houses and are known to cause liver problems and reproductive difficulties.
Coming back to the point, instead of plastics, use bioplastics, which are made from organic substances and are 100% degradable. Bio-plastic breaks down in the environment faster than the normal plastic that is made with fossil fuels. Packing food in Cellulose Acetate, a bioplastic, is a better choice than a normal plastic container or plastic wrap. If you are concerned about using bioplastic, then choose glass bottles. Glass that can be recycled and reused is another better option that you can experiment with. There was a time when glass was used to manufacture bottles to house your favorite cola. Guess it’s time to go back to using glass instead of plastic.
Replace Thermocol with Recycled Paper
Widely used to protect fragile goods from harsh temperatures and from developing cracks or scratches, thermoplastic is indispensable when it comes to packaging. Made by expanding polystyrene granules, this thermoplastic lies in the landfills for years together without even decomposing.
Here’s the thing… You’ll be dead and gone, but a single polystyrene cup from a takeaway food stall will take about 500 years to degrade.
Instead of using thermoplastic or polystyrene, use recycled paper along with cornstarch packing peanuts to protect fragile items. The corn peanuts degrade within 10 days in addition, they are also soluble in water and the best part is that they do not contain toxic substances that could lead to pollution.
Forget Styrofoam, Try Paper
It does add to the suspense value of gift wrapping, but Styrofoam isn’t even good for Mother Earth. In addition to being used as packaging for peanuts to cushion delicate goods, Styrofoam is also used to provide egg cartons in the supermarket. Made of polystyrene, Styrofoam can be recycled and reused, but it still remains harmful to nature.
Think about it… Particles of Styrofoam or polystyrene are known to be asthma inducers as well as carcinogens.
Why rely on Styrofoam when you can use scrap paper to insulate fragile objects? Keep all this shredded paper handy, it will be used when packing. In addition, paper is recyclable and it can be used to make handmade paper that makes attractive gifts. The amount of paper thrown out in waste paper baskets can instead be sent to production units, so that it can be used for packaging. In addition, you can even use rolls of cardboard or recycled paper to insulate your goods.
Go Traditional, Try Wicker
Ah! Those golden years when everything was sent in wicker baskets. Why not venture back into those good old days and ship goods in wicker and cane baskets. It is even better that the material is 100% degradable and even reusable. In addition, wicker baskets come in different shapes and also sizes and are also attractive, you never know that your business might just shoot up if you go natural.
trivia… A little organic paint or polish, and your wicker basket is as good as new!
You’ll inspire others to follow the trend if you use natural wrapping ideas. Wicker baskets can also be used as great storage boxes as they are definitely lighter compared to other materials.
What about Twine?
Adhesives prevent the package from opening during the shipping process. Relying on the natural mode, you can choose ropes that are made by twisting yarn together. All you have to do is pack the goods in cardboard boxes, wrap it with string, tie it and cut the ends.
Why this? Once it wears out, it will turn to dust and you won’t even have to worry.
If you are not convinced that the rope will stand the test of time, we suggest that you opt for paper-backed tapes. Another good option is to try the water-activated tape, which is made with animal glue.
Adorn, Do not desecrate
Instead of using plastic ribbons to decorate your gifts and merchandise, decorate them with handmade paper and some dry decorations found around the house. Use dried leaves, flowers and acorns, sprinkle it with some glitter and you have a personalized gift, ready to be sent to your loved one.
Smart usage You can’t do much with the plastic ribbons, the dry decoration on the other hand can be used again and again.
You can also make your own paper bags. All you need is old newspapers, a needle to sew the bag and some string to make the handle. Decorate the bag with an old card cutout or some dry leaf decorations and you have a stylish bag to display. The best part about using homemade bags and paper to pack your goods is that it’s cost-effective, and good for the environment in more than one way. That being said, as much as possible stick to paper and biodegradable items for wrapping your gifts and shipping goods.
Your input matters, and here’s how you can help…
Make Use of Something Natural
How about buying your coffee packaged in jute bags instead of bottles or the leafy versions? The same goes for groceries and your daily necessities. As a consumer, you can promote the sale of food items packed in jute bags instead of polythene bags/containers. This will automatically prompt the producer to choose natural packaging.
Why jute? They are natural, stylish, biodegradable, and don’t forget long-lasting.
Paper bags are another good choice when you want to pack beans or coffee beans. In addition, they save printing paper, as instructions can be printed directly on the bag rather than having another sheet of paper inside. How can you help? Bring your own paper bag or cloth bag to the store. This way you will save on packaging.
It’s More Than Economical
The major problem with packaging is that items come in oversized boxes. Choosing a box that is the right fit for the item being shipped helps reduce the amount of packing peanuts that go into the boxes. Be sure to use peanuts made with cornstarch, or better yet, use paper balls.
You can Contact manufacturers and let them know that you would prefer smaller packages.
Boxes made from recycled paper are a safe bet when it comes to packaging. In addition, you can also use wooden boxes to transport your goods. Boxes made from recycled paper can be used again to store goods and the plus is that they can be folded or flattened, making it easier to store.
There you have it, with so many eco-friendly ideas, I can actually see Mother Earth smiling. Let’s take a step towards a greener and healthier planet. I’ll end it with Michael Jackson’s famous lyrics from Heal The World, “… Heal The World Make It A Better Place For You And For Me And The Whole Human Race…”.
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