When I see things like that, it makes me wonder what the seller was thinking. I figure it can only be one of two things: either they don't know any eco-friendly was to package items, or they do, but just don't care. While I can't help with the latter, I can certain provide people with a few tips on how to wrap and package items effectively, while minimizing its impact on the earth. Here are some tips for a greener way to wrap and send your delicates.
1. Get Creative With Your Wrapping Paper:
- I found that recycled brown paper makes a very simple and beautiful wrapping paper. It is especially beautiful if you finish with a nice silk ribbon (the brown really offsets the colors) or some sort of natural touch, such as a sea shell or some small flowers. You know that ever-growing collection of brown paper grocery bags that you hate to throw out, but never seem to have a use for? Now you can finally put them to good use, by using their reverse side (the side without the print).
- Newspaper is a great alternative to informal wrapping jobs. However, if you need something a little fancier, use pages of book print. Now before you go cutting up perfectly good books, I suggest finding ones at thrift stores or yard sales that already have some damage to them. I was able to find several old books that had been in a flood and had severe water damage. While many of the pages were ruined, a great deal of them were perfectly intact and salvageable. You can leave the book print white, or give it a quick antique look by soaking the page in tea or coffee, then drying them under a heavy item (this prevents the paper from wrinkling as it dries).
2. Lose the Styrofoam Packing Peanuts!
Try these ideas instead:
- Use the cast offs from your paper shredder as filler to your packages.
- Use your left over plastic grocery bags to pack delicate items in.
- Get creative with egg cartons! They are great for protecting a large array of items.
- Save and boxes or bubble envelopes that you receive in the mail and re-use them
- Take advantage of Cornstarch Packing peanuts. They are truly the best. They are made of 100% cornstarch, so they are edible (although I wouldn't recommend it). They dissolve completely in water and leave no toxic waste behind. These packing peanuts were originally created with the intention of being a breakfast cereal, but because of it's poor taste, it was re-purposed as a packing material. You can buy these from almost any moving company, or on the web. For a recipe and directions on how to make your own cornstarch packing peanuts, click here.
3. A Few Last Things to Remember:
- Ship early to avoid having to ship by air. Energy costs for sending a package for next day delivery are four times higher than the cost of ground shipping. So try to use ground shipping whenever possible.
- Make sure you use enough material to protect and secure your item, but don't go overboard. Use only what you need.
Now your on your way to greener packaging! Keep up the good work, and thank you for your interest in staying green.