Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Recycling: Packing Peanuts

I wrote earlier about a commitment to sustainable practices when it comes to the materials we use and reuse as well as shipping and reusing materials.  I've since learned I can likely ship out to others without much packaging material, but in a recent shipment to Maine, I did utilize both a box sent to me and some peanuts.

But I have received a LOT of packing peanuts!  In reading the book, Zero Waste Home, I learned something I had never known before UPS Stores will take your packing peanuts.  And, in theory, reuse them for packaging material or sell them in their store for others to use for packaging material.  I've also since learned that if I have enough, there is a market for selling packing peanuts online as well.  And I'm sure they would be a welcome item to post on Freecycle or Facebook for someone else to get good use out of them.  All good things to know!  When I arrived at the UPS Store to donate my packing peanuts, the manager looked at me like I had two heads so I assume this isn't something he is asked about on a regular basis but let's change that up!  Don't throw away styrofoam!  It will never go away.  At least if it is reused, then less "needs" (IMO it is never actually needed but that is a matter of personal opinion) to be manufactured new.  Read more here about "greening" your supply chain.  And check out the comments, they confirm my fear that perhaps the store managers are not aware of the policy to accept packaging material for reuse.  Be ready with the article on a handheld device in the event that you are questioned!  In a less amusing story, I was traveling with three large boxes of peanuts and the windows were open in our car.  At one point, one of the boxes opened and it felt like the scene from Twister with Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton when the weather sensors successfully release.  Only, not quite so dramatic, as I was in a car on Street Road with no tornado approaching at all, just two small children delighted in the whirlwind of packing peanuts swirling above their heads.  Don't worry, I got every last one back in the box!

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