Before companies send me products to review, I always request that they not use any plastic packaging, including tape. Some comply. Others have a hard time with it, and their packaging ends up in my tally. I’m writing this post not only to help Fake Plastic Fish readers make plastic-free packaging choices, but also to have a web page to which I (and you!) can direct vendors when asking for no plastic packaging. Just trying to make life easier for all of us.
So, here are the options:
Re-Use Shipping Materials
The greenest option will always be to reuse what you already have. And the company setting one of the best examples is BuyGreen.com. They boast that they have never bought new packing boxes or supplies. They shipped my Plastic Pollution Coalition t-shirt in a used Blackberry box:
And BuyGreen even includes a sticker on the box advertising the fact that the packaging is used. Some vendors worry that reusing boxes will make them look cheap. A sticker like this helps to explain the choice to customers that might not understand that cheap can also be eco-friendly!
Paper Packing Tape
While most of BuyGreen’s shipping supplies are used, the company does have to purchase new tape. They actually brand their own paper tape, and they also sell it to other vendors. Contact BuyGreen.com if you’re interested in ordering paper tape printed with your company’s name/logo.
BuyGreen’s tape is reinforced with thread. For my own home purposes, I buy plain paper tape that tears off easily from the roll. I bought this tape at a local office supply store.
The tape is water-activated. I tear off a strip and run it under the sink to wet. Since I don’t ship packages very often, I don’t feel the need for a tape dispenser. But retailers may want to invest in one.
Then, I use the tape to seal up my own reused shipping envelopes or boxes. Anyone who has received a give-away package directly from me can testify that it came taped up with brown paper tape.
Other Plastic-Free packing supplies
Here’s a list of kinds of packaging materials you might use to protect your contents. Remember that reused/repurposed materials are always the best choice.
*Reused packing materials from packages sent to you.
* Yesterday’s News padded mailers made from recycled newspaper fiber
* Jiffy padded mailers (the kind with paper pulp padding rather than plastic bubble padding)
* Paper packing tape
* Molded paper pulp
* EcoCradle molded packing material made from mushrooms
* Geami protective wrap
* CareMail Brand packing materials (But be aware that some of these products come packaged in plastic bags.)
* Globe Guard Products is a good source for many plastic-free shipping products, although be aware that some things are plastic.
And check out this great Plastic-Free Green Product Packaging Tutorial from Picnic Basket Crafts that shows exactly how to wrap packages using paper tape.
I’ll continue to add to this list as I discover new options. Please leave a comment and let me know what you use for shipping stuff.
Disclosure: Fake Plastic Fish is a BuyGreen affiliate, which means that if you purchase products from BuyGreen via a link on this web site, Fake Plastic Fish earns a little money towards my next educational field trip. Check out my full Advertising/Review/PR policy here (where you’ll also see info for vendors about my shipping requirements.)