Green is the in thing now. Today, more and more people are becoming aware and are opting for eco-friendly and eco-conscious options. Packing is one of the concerns for consumers as it is responsible for generating one-third of non-industrial waste in developed countries. However, packing is one thing that we cannot do without. We need it to protect products and to limit damages. What we can do however is to use packaging that is eco-friendly.
Foam peanuts are an integral part of packaging and they are used as a loose-fill packaging to fill up any excess space to prevent damages to the items. They are about the size of a peanut and hence the name. Foam peanuts are commonly made from a thermoplastic polymer called Polystyrene. Although Polystyrene is recyclable, it is not often done so due to the high cost of recycling making it not viable to do so.
Polystyrene is also not biodegradable and the only way to get rid of it is by incineration. However, burning Polystyrene releases a toxic gas called styrene. There is however an alternative to packing foam peanuts that are biodegradable. These packing foam peanuts are made from a starch based sources such as corn and grain sorghum. Starch based packing foam peanuts can be easily dissolved with water and it is non toxic.
Bubble wraps are indispensable in packing as they help to protect the items from any accidental knocks. Are you one of the guilty few that never fail to pop the bubbles? Bubble wraps are actually reusable provided that the bubbles are not popped. By resisting the temptation to pop those bubbles, you can do your part for the environment by reusing the bubble wraps and reducing the amount of waste.
Corrugated boxes are another indispensable packing material. Many people do not reuse corrugated boxes and once they finish using it, they will throw it away. Corrugated boxes are re-useable materials and should be recycled. By recycling and reusing corrugated boxes, it reduces the requirement for fresh fibres from trees and thus will help conserve natural resources. Do take note not to mix clean corrugated boxes with dirty ones and always separate corrugated boxes from cereal boxes.
Although packing materials are things that we cannot avoid using, we can do our part by using eco-friendly alternatives made from natural sources that are biodegradable to protect the environment. We can each do our part to save the earth!