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plastic free shipping ideas  RSS feed

 
master steward
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I do quite a bit of shipping - and hope to do more soon.

Can you help me brainstorm ways of shipping things safely without plastic?

 
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There are all kinds of paper products for shipping. Lots of different paper padding products, biodegradable peanuts, popcorn, paper type tapes like amazon uses, twine, and of course cardbord. Just shop around, its literally a Internet search away to find products and prices.
 
raven ranson
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I used to be able to find a padded envelope made from recycled paper stuffed with recycled newspaper - but I can't find them anymore.  They also weighed about three times as much as the plastic ones so they cost a lot more to ship.

Most shipping doesn't allow twine or string anymore because it gets caught in the machines.  Pitty, it's such a beautiful way to wrap.

I was wondering if I wrapped a book in kraft paper, would it travel safely to the destination? 
 
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I'm interested in this as well. I don't do much mailing right now, but might in the future. So far, I just reuse the bubble mailers and boxes that I've gotten packages from other people from. I figure this keeps those packages out of the landfill longer and saves me money. But, it doesn't look very professional.

I also wonder if there's techniques to reduce the amount of tape used, while still securing the package. Maybe there's biodegradable tapes?
 
Nicole Alderman
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I searched for "biodegradable tape" and found this site https://www.ecoenclose.com/Carton-Sealing-Tape-s/40.htm

They have [paper tape that you have to wet to make sticky, as well as cellophane tape. The paper take has fiberglass strands in it for durability, but does fiberglass decompose?

Here's a picture of the cellophane tape



I'd love to hear from people have used this type of tape!

The same company also offers biodegradable padded mailers made from recycled paper. It doesn't specify how much they weigh, only that they are "lightweight and affordable" (link)

 
raven ranson
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That's excellent.  They are the ones I used to be able to buy. 

I had no idea they had so much stuff.  And they ship to Canada!  Free samples too. 

You're the best!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Yay!!! I'm glad I was able to find them for you. This was literally the first result that google gave me when I searched "biodegradable tape." For once, I lucked out with my google search!
 
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If you're shopping a book, just wrap it in cardboard. It offers good protection, especially if you custom make the box to size.
 
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This tape is made of paper with a starch based adhesive

https://www.amazon.com/YB-Packaging-Reinforced-Sealing-Commercial/dp/B009W4ASW0/ref=
 
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r ranson wrote:I was wondering if I wrapped a book in kraft paper, would it travel safely to the destination? 



When I was in college, I sold all my used textbooks through Amazon (for a lot more than I could get from the campus bookstore--but that was before Amazon got flooded with resellers with dirt cheap used books).  I just cut two pieces of cardboard to the dimensions of the front and back book cover, sandwiched the book between these two pieces, then wrapped the whole thing in brown kraft paper.  As far as I know they all arrived in fine condition.

As for securing things in boxes, surely wadded up old newspapers would be sufficient in most cases.  This has the added benefit of potentially informing the recipient of what is happening in another part of the world!
 
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As to shipping books, I have worked in a bindery nearly all my working life. We would ship books in boxes, and as long as there wasn't any room left for the books to shift around, they would arrive in pristine condition, unless something truly spectacular happened to the box, like dropping it from table height on a corner or edge.

I think sandwiching a book between two pieces of cardboard cut to size and wrapping with kraft paper is an excellent way to ship a single or small number of books.

-CK
 
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Great ideas in this thread!

Like R. Steele mentioned, I've used hot air popped popcorn (non greasy) in place of packing pellets with good results.

In place of bubble wrap, some places we order from have used cardboard mesh - kind of like in this video.


We think it's excellent packing material, though it is likely a bit heavier than plastic.

I wonder where you could find something like this. Maybe a local shipping place has a machine like this and met set you up with some supplies (for a fee probably).
 
Anne Miller
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While this is not plastic free, I recycle the packaging that I receive.  The bubble wrap and foam sheet work well for putting around stored canning jar (both filled and unfilled) so they don't break.  I rarely ship anything though if I did I could recycle/reuse there too.

I also reuse or save the paper sheets that come with stuff from amazon to line shelves, etc.
 
raven ranson
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I received my free samples from EcoEnclose (mentioned above).  Their quality is amazing.  Much better than I expected. 
 
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There is actually packaging tape out of paper but I never saw that in Australia. I use recycled boxes.
 
raven ranson
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Angelika Maier wrote:There is actually packaging tape out of paper but I never saw that in Australia. I use recycled boxes.



I got some samples of that too.  Their stuff has fine string inside the tape to make it stronger.  This stuff has water activated glue on one side, so we have to get it wet to stick.  But it sticks really well!
 
raven ranson
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A great video explaining Gum Paper Tape



For those of you in the USA, lumi looks like a great source for packing materials
 
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We do any shipping in the USPS "if it fits, it ships" boxes, no tapes to deal with and the only plastics are part of the required shipping labels which are at the post office.
 
raven ranson
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Life Without Plastic now has paper tape.
  

It's more affordable than the local packing shop which makes me think the local box and paper shop is giving me their retail price when I asked them for a wholesale account.  hmmm... I can either pay a high price for the materials and get them locally, or I can pay a low price for the materials and even more for shipping.  There must be a better way. 
 
raven ranson
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After a few months of checking around, I ended up buying most of my shipping goodies from Amazon.  Their price is half of what I could get elsewhere (after shipping).

It's a shame because I wanted to support local or a producer like Ecoenclose.  I think they produce a better product, but economy comes into it big time.  Even with Amazon's prices, it still totals a dollar packing material for my smallest item. 

It's also annoying that plastic-free padded envelopes weigh so much more than bubble wrap which add to the shipping cost too.

I am going to keep looking. 

I wonder if I could ship yarn in stiff card envelopes instead. 
 
raven ranson
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This appears to be some sort of packaging made from agricultural waste products and mushroom 'roots'

https://shop.ecovativedesign.com/collections/packaging

 
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