After selling items through online auction sites such as eBay and sending gifts by mail to family members around the nation, I’ve shipped literally hundreds of packages over the years. Purchasing shipping boxes, bubble wrap and foam packing peanuts is an expensive proposition, so I’ve found ways to eliminate those costs and be environmentally sensitive at the same time.
First, get fully-recyclable shipping boxes free through the USPS delivered right to your home or business, so a trip to a supplies store is unnecessary, reducing pollution. Shipping labels can be printed online at a discounted price.
Instead of expensive bubble wrap, use brown paper grocery bags crumpled around an item to obtain the same cushioning, and In lieu of foam packing peanuts, purchase an inexpensive paper shredder to shred all of the ‘junk mail’, envelopes and inserts (and “junk mail” is something we all have too much of).
Use a straight-cut shredder (the crosscut variety leaves paper pieces too small to be useful for cushioning). The shredded paper works as well as foam packing peanuts, saves money and re-uses what would otherwise end up in the trash; another environmental win. After the package is opened, the discarded paper takes up far less space in the landfill and quickly breaks down. So a huge amount of “junk mail” that normally goes straight into the trash is reused and dramatically reduced in volume before ever making it to the landfill, another financial and environmental win. And when you don’t need shredded paper for shipping purposes, shredding your unwanted mail reduces the volume of trash year-round.
These easy steps save money, reduce the need for creating more packing materials with the associated energy, transportation, and raw materials costs, and make package shipping about as green as it can be. Further, the USPS will not only deliver the boxes to you on a daily route that’s made anyway, but will also pick up your packed boxes when they’re ready to ship, also on their regular daily route, saving you time and the cost of gasoline to take your packages to the shipping location, greatly reducing the carbon footprint created by shipping packages. Even the carton in which the empty Postal boxes are shipped to your home can be re-used for storage purposes, cut to make handy ‘dividers’ between items, or recycled.
Reused and recycled paper is fully biodegradable (“green’), and shredded paper adds far less volume to the landfill. But plastic bubble wrap and foam peanuts are forever.