One of the most intriguing aspects of fair trade is that many of the artisans create their pieces using natural, renewable, upcycled or recycled materials whenever possible, thereby reducing their environmental footprint. To minimize our own carbon footprint, we are partnering with eco-friendly packaging suppliers and have committed to reusing packaging materials as much and as often as possible.
With so many of us shopping online these days, it’s fair to say we’re accumulating lots of packaging from our purchases. Reused packaging may not be the prettiest option, but it is a more sustainable option for the environment. We encourage our customers to consider reusing or at least recycling our packaging and all packaging once you have received your shipment.
In effort of slowing down the demand for new packaging, we've outline six simple strategies to reuse your old packaging materials.
Keep - I'm not suggesting you keep all of your boxes and packaging materials, but if you've ever sold something on eBay, needed to send a package to a friend, or have moved, you've needed boxes. Keep a few different sized boxes on hand and save yourself from actually purchasing them. Also, keep some of the packaging to protect your items such as newspaper, kraft paper, packing pillows, and peanuts. I like to keep a medium sized box of these materials I can use in the future.
Reuse them for storage - Items such as holiday decorations, out of season clothes, gardening supplies, or even toys little ones aren’t currently interested in are practical examples of how to reuse a shipping box.
Donate – Many shipping companies could always use packaging materials such as bubble wrap, and plastic pillows. Contact your local shipping facility and ask if they’ll accept your packaging. For example, once I fill a trash bag of packing pillows my local UPS is very happy to accept them, its a win-win all around. Speaking of donations, you could also use your shipping boxes to corral items from your home that you've decluttered and are ready to donate.
Compost - Did you know that cardboard (except for glossy or colored cardboard) can be composted when broken up into smaller pieces? You can also use broken up cardboard and paper as mulch in a garden as a weed preventer. Just be sure the cardboard is free from packing tape.
Get social - If you have a few boxes you don’t know what to do with, put the word out on social media or your local community that you have some boxes you’d like to share. You just might save someone from buying a bunch of new boxes.
Play - Every parent knows the joke about how children will often play with the boxes more than the gift itself. A cardboard box can provide hours of imaginative fun to make crafts, toys and art with the kids. Anything from a car, to a clubhouse can be imagined out of a cardboard box, not to mention, good old-fashioned fun.
If you cannot implement any of the above suggestions, please recycle.
We hope you found this post useful and found a little inspiration to reduce your own carbon footprint. Now it's your turn. How do you recycle or reuse your packaging? We'd love to hear ideas and tips from you.