It’s time we began reducing our carbon print and take responsibility towards saving our Mother Earth. Resorting to eco-friendly packaging ideas, we can take our first step towards conserving our environment.
In the not-so-distant past, when plastics weren’t around and technology wasn’t that advanced, simple people used simple means for packaging. These included using wicker baskets, cloth bags, gunny sacks, and not to forget brown paper bags.
Cut to the present when large-scale production came about, paper was replaced with polythene bags, wicker baskets with thermocol caskets, gunny bags and cloth bags have been replaced by plastics and more plastics. Let’s just conclude it saying, with the amount of waste being generated on a daily basis, ain’t it true that the Earth is turning into a huge waste basket? The astonishing fact is, that a major chunk of this waste consists of packaging waste made up of non-biodegradable material. Styrofoam, plastics, metals scraps and foils which are used in bulk to pack essential goods lie around in the landfills for hundreds of years before breaking down. This in turn takes a toll on the environment at large, and it is without doubt 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 bringing about a change in the way we pack our goods. There are a lot of environmental-friendly packaging methods out there, all we got to do is to tap the available resources. The mantra that will help keep the Earth green is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Let’s get on to mission green then, with our biodegradable wrapping ideas.
Sack Plastic, Use Bio-plastic Instead
Plastic we know is sturdy and is used for most packaging, however it is not easily degradable. The biggest disadvantage of plastic is that it contains toxins which can pose a danger not just to the humans, but to other living organisms as well as to nature.
Consider this also.. The PET bottles used to package soft drinks and mineral water are meant for one-time use; but often find 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 bioplastic that are made from organic substances and are 100% degradable. Bio-plastic breaks down in the environment faster than the normal plastic which is made using fossil fuels. Packing food items in Cellulose Acetate, a bioplastic, is a better option than a normal plastic container or a plastic wrap. If you are wary of using bioplastic, then opt for glass bottles. Glass which 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 high time to revert to using glass instead of plastics.
Replace Thermocol with Recycled Paper
Widely used to protect fragile goods from severe temperatures and from developing cracks or scratches, thermoplastic is indispensable when it comes to packaging. Made by expanding polystyrene granules, this thermoplastic lies around in the landfills for years together without even decomposing.
Here’s what happens… You will be dead and gone, but a single polystyrene cup from a takeout food stall will take about 500 years to degrade.
Instead of using thermoplastic or polystyrene, use recycled paper along with cornstarch packing peanuts to safeguard fragile objects. The cornstarch peanuts degrade within 10 days besides, they are also soluble in water and the best part is that they don’t contain toxic substances that could lead to pollution.
Forget Styrofoam, Try Paper
It does add to the suspense value of gift wrapping, but Styrofoam ain’t one bit good for Mother Earth. Apart from being used as packing peanuts to cushion fragile goods, Styrofoam is also used to make egg cartons available in the supermarket. Made from polystyrene, Styrofoam can be recycled and reused, but it still remains detrimental for nature.
Think of it… Particles of Styrofoam or polystyrene are known to be asthma inducers as well as carcinogens.
Why rely on Styrofoam, when you can use waste paper for insulating fragile objects? Keep all that shredded paper handy, it will come to use when packing. Besides, paper is recyclable and it can be used to make handmade paper which make attractive gift wraps. 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. Besides, 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 once again and send goods in wicker and cane baskets. What’s better is that the material is 100% degradable and even reusable. Besides, wicker baskets come in different shapes as well as sizes and are attractive too, you never know your business might just shoot up if you go natural.
Trivia… A little bit of organic paint or polish, and your wicker basket is as good as new!
You would be inspiring others to keep the trend going if you resort to natural wrapping ideas. Wicker baskets can also be used as great storage caskets as they are definitely lighter as compared to other materials.
How About Twine?
Adhesives keep the packaging from opening up during the process of shipping. Sticking to the natural mode, you can opt for twines that are made by twisting yarn together. All you got to do is to pack the goods in cardboard boxes, wind it with twine, tie it and cut the ends.
Why this? Once it wears out, it will turn to dust and you won’t have to worry one bit.
If you are not convinced that the twine will withstand the test of time, we suggest you opt for paper-backed adhesive tapes. Another good option is to try out the water activated tape which is made using animal glue.
Decorate, Don’t Desecrate
Instead of using plastic ribbons to decorate your gifts and goods, decorate them with handmade paper and some dry decorations found around the house. Use dry leaves, flowers and acorns, sprinkle it with some glitter and you have a personalized gift, ready to be sent to your loved one.
Clever usage You can’t do anything much of the plastic ribbons, the dry decoration on the other hand can be used over and over again.
You can make your own paper bags as well. All you need are old newspapers, a needle to sew up the bag and some twine to make the handle. Decorate the bag with a cutout from an old card or some dry leaf decorations and you have a stylish bag to flaunt. The best part of using homemade bags and paper to pack your goods is that it is cost-effective, and in more than one way good for the environment. So to say, as far as possible stick to paper and biodegradable items to pack your gifts and shipping goods.
Your contribution matters, and this is how you can help…
Make Use of Something Natural
How about purchasing your coffee packed in jute bags instead of bottles or the foiled versions? Same goes for groceries and your daily essentials. As a consumer, you can promote the sales of groceries packed in jute bags instead of polythene bags/containers. This will automatically motivate the producer to opt for natural packaging.
Why jute? They are natural, stylish, biodegradable, and not to forget long-lasting.
Paper bags are another good option when you want to pack grains or coffee beans. Besides, they save printing paper, as instructions can be printed directly onto the bag rather than having another sheet of paper inside. How can you help? Carry your own paper bag or cloth bag along to the store. This way you will save on packaging.
It is More Than Economical
The major problem with packaging is, that items come in over sized boxes. Choosing a box that fits just right for the item being shipped helps lessen the amount of packing peanuts that go into the boxes. Be sure to use peanuts made using cornstarch, or better still, use paper balls.
You can Contact manufacturers and let them know you would prefer smaller packages.
Boxes made from recycled paper are a safe bet when it comes to packaging. Besides, you can also use wooden crates to transport your goods. Boxes made from recycled paper can be used again for storing goods and the plus point is that they can be folded or flattened out 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 will 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 Entire Human Race… “.