In today’s world a conflict arises between the growing popularity of home delivery and environmental sensibility. Having items arrive at your doorstep instead of at a store is convenient but means added packaging and fuel costs. Is there a way to be a good environmental steward while reaping the benefits of home delivery? At Supply Source we say yes.
The days of styrofoam packaging are quickly fading. Styrofoam is great at protecting packages during shipping, but not only is it not recyclable, but it can also take 500 years for it to decompose in a landfill. No company wants to be responsible for a waste product that their great great grandchildren could stumble upon one day.
As styrofoam began losing its standing as a winning packaging solution, bubble wrap and pillows moved in to fill the gap, both literally and figuratively! The key to shipping products safely is to ensure minimal movement which means making sure empty space within boxes is filled by something, and what better to fill it with than air. Wrapping air in thin plastic is safe, cost-effective, and the pillows and bubbles that result can be expanded to just the right size to fill the packaging need. The majority of manufacturers also point out that their plastic products are recyclable just as those plastic grocery bags are.
And while this is true, the problem is that the bubble wrap and pillows cannot be recycled curbside. When that box arrives, it’s unwrapped, and you’ve had your fun popping all the bubbles, the remaining plastic has to be taken to a place, like a grocery store, that offers that type of recycling. In a world where the convenience of home delivery is growing at warp speed so people don’t have to spend time at the store, getting someone to take packaging material to a central location for recycling seems counterintuitive. But plastic wrapping is tried and trusted, and sometimes the only packaging solution that works for a specific product. Plus it’s still a better option than styrofoam.
Corrugated and Paper For Sustainable Packaging
For those searching for the truly recyclable packaging, the stuff that customers can just put in the recycle bin on trash day, corrugated and paper are the solutions. Both are easily recycled curbside and can be manufactured in various forms, making it safe to ship nearly any product.
Reputations matter and more and more companies are wanting to tout that they are carbon neutral and adopting sustainable processes like using recyclable packaging. If they use it, more than likely it will be written, boldly, on the packages they ship. On the same line, the companies that manufacture packaging materials also want to show their green side so research and development on new systems and materials is ongoing. At Supply Source we too like to show our environmental sensibilities and will work hard to find the green packaging our clients need.
Packaging Manufacturers Go Green
Through the years, we’ve come to rely on a few companies we view as leaders in sustainable packaging and we’re impressed with the solutions they have developed. For example, every item at ExpandOS is made from certified sustainable substrates or post-industrial waste. The company relies on third parties to audit its sustainability so its claims are verified as true.
That means every packaging product is either biodegradable or can be recycled. And just because it’s environmentally friendly doesn’t mean it isn’t tough. ExpandOS can be used to package glass to concrete and everything in between safely. The unique designs both hold any size and shape items in place and provide shock absorption.
PAC Worldwide is another company we regularly partner with that is leading the way in recyclable packaging for protective mailers and specialty packaging. All of the company’s poly and paperboard mailers are 100% recyclable, and they offer peel-and-seal mailers that can be resealed for reuse for returns.
Another of our preferred partners is Pregis which also uses 100% recycled paper for on-demand Easypack paper packaging systems. The company recognizes that damaged products usually end up in landfills to the tune of more than 5 billion pounds each year (they share more information on this problem in this video). And for every product that is damaged a new product must be shipped requiring more packaging material and fuel for delivery. For this reason, Pregis works hard and has excelled at finding shipping solutions that minimize the chance for damage while still being green. The company’s goal is to eliminate one million reshipments and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the year 2030.
While all of the available green products is exciting, at Supply Source we understand that there is a bit of fear about new technologies. When manufacturers work hard to make the perfect product, the last thing they want to do is leave the shipping of the product to chance. Cardboard and paper may save the planet, but will that case of hand-blown glasses, or pallet of eggs arrive intact? It’s our job to help make sure your products are not damaged.
For this reason we work with our partners to allow our customers to do trial runs on new shipping products and processes. If you’re considering a switch to paper fill, show us how you currently ship your products by sending them to one of our partners and let them show you how their packaging solutions can provide the same amount, if not better, protection. We offer this because we’re convinced that sustainable packaging is the solution to minimizing damage of both products and of the environment. Contact us to find out how you can add some green to your shipping.