The short answer is, yes! All of our mail packaging and packing materials are recyclable, biodegradable and environmentally sustainable.
Cordial Organics relies on shipments through the postal office to stock our shelves with the supplies we need to manufacture. We are grateful for the access to businesses and ingredients we cannot find locally. We appreciate the USPS, UPS and FedEx as well for delivering our packages of finished goods to your home. When it comes to the packaging that is moving things to and fro, it is important to us that the packaging not only protects the contents but also is environmentally sustainable.
Ecommerce and Mail Packaging Growth
Teasing out true statistics online is a challenging reality nowadays. Some websites and researchers say that ecommerce continues to grow annually by almost 14%. Some statistics put an annual mailed in the USA package total as high as 165 billion packages. That being said, in 2020 and as a result of the pandemic, ecommerce grew by 44%. Some writers argue that 1 billion trees are now required annually to accommodate the boxes being shipped in the USA. No matter what, there is a lot of packaging material moving around as a result of online shopping. That is just what is containing the contents that are also likely packaged in something. According to Discover Magazine, 63 pounds of packaging per person ends up in a landfill annually. The United Nations warns that if we continue there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. These are unsettling facts.
Why Sustainable Mail Packaging Matters
63 pounds of packaging per person in a landfill is quite a lot. Personally I will feel much better if the majority of that packaging is biodegradable. What does biodegradable packaging actually mean? Biodegradable packaging refers to the non-toxic manufacturing and decomposition of packaging materials. A packaging material must decompose and break down within one year to be considered biodegradable. Cardboard is considered to be the most biodegradable and sustainable packaging material because it is compostable and does not leave harmful chemicals behind. Further, if not decomposing in a landfill, cardboard can be reused in the garden or home as well as recycled.
Packages that use plastic tape to seal the cardboard are not considered biodegradable or recyclable unless the plastic tape is removed. It is not difficult for a business to use environmentally sustainable materials. Cordial Organics prefers to use paper tape on all of our shipments because it too is biodegradable.
Request that the companies you purchase from do not use plastic packaging materials.
Are Plastic Mailing Packaging Materials Ever Okay?
Although it goes without saying, a friendly reminder: Plastic is not an environmentally sustainable option for packaging. Whether we are discussing the packaging of a product or the plastic air inserts of a package or a plastic bag for mailing–plastic is not an environmentally sustainable option. Not only does it take plastic decades to break down (and never fully decomposes) but the breakdown releases toxins into the soil. While it is unlikely that we will not use plastic at all–plastic definitely has its place–we can decrease our consumption of plastic with a little effort.
We are very comfortable with the notion of simply decreasing our plastic consumption because if we all made a little bit of effort, that decrease could be significant.
Starch Peanuts for Packing
Cordial Organics has packages that contain supplies for manufacturing coming through our doors daily. We are happy to report that we recycle and reuse everything. We have been known to change suppliers if we feel that there are packing materials we cannot feel good about reusing or dumping into the landfill. The starch peanuts that secure the contents in some of our larger boxes are fully biodegradable. Just place one in water and watch it disappear. It disappears like magic. The peanuts are starch based and invented in the 1990s. The starch comes from crop sources, not petroleum based polystyrene. The peanuts are non-toxic.
What Is The Sustainable Packaging Coalition?
When we discovered the Sustainable Packaging Coalition we grew excited that an organization existed that might put pressure on other businesses to decrease their waste. We researched with the hopes of connecting with like minded businesses and got ready to join. That is, until we discovered it cost a great deal of money to join. A great deal of money as in thousands annually. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations, coalitions and groups are businesses too and require hefty membership fees to run. For a smaller business, it isn’t necessary to be a member of an organization to carry out mindful and sustainable choices. We might not have the stamp from the organization on our website but we are in complete compliance with sustainability because it is how we run our business. We are grateful that larger companies are starting to think about sustainable packaging too.