Pressure is mounting on business owners to do away with plastic and non-biodegradable methods of packaging. While it was once socially acceptable to tip tonnes of non-recyclable Styrofoam peanuts into your delivery boxes, people today are quite rightly calling for a move towards sustainability.
Nevertheless, it can be difficult to know where to start when looking for viable alternatives to packing peanuts. So, here are the five best styrofoam peanut alternatives we believe business owners should trial packing their products in.
Avoid packing material completely
While this is an obvious one, many people feel that packing material is a necessity. However, by having the perfect sized boxes for your products, you can eliminate, or at least reduce the amount of packing material you need. You can purchase on-demand cardboard boxes which are made to fit the product you want to pack, so you don’t need excess packing material.
Alternatively, if you can’t afford to get your boxes personalised to fit your products, consider collecting waste paper and cardboard for shedding. Though it won’t look quite as smart, it will still be an effective packing mechanism, and you could even leave a little note in each of the boxes to customers detailing why you pack in this way – that way, if they are eco-conscious they will be aware about your companies caring, good nature and might buy from you again. Many people will appreciate this more than they will unnecessary packing peanuts exploding onto their kitchen floor.
Putting unbuttered popcorn into your boxes sounds like an odd thing to do. Since it isn’t a particularly well-known method either you might be worried about what your customers will think. However, it’s just as effective, often cheaper, and once again you can always leave a note explaining why you use popcorn to pack products.
The only drawback for using this method is that the popcorn is easily crushed and can become quite messy if the box is bashed around too much. You could always wrap your product in recycled paper first if you want to ensure no popcorn-dust collects on your product. This is especially important if you are packing any form of technology, where there are charging port nooks that you wouldn’t want dust to collect in.
Corn starch packing peanuts are now widely used as an alternative – and it’s nearly identical to Styrofoam peanuts. These strong peanuts look and feel almost the same as Styrofoam and will keep your product safe.
Moreover, it is easy for your customer to dispose of them after they have unpacked their goods. Leave a note to let them know they can simply run them under cold water and watch them dissolve. They will appreciate this easy method of disposal and the space you have saved in their bins or recycling requirements.
Coconuts have innumerable benefits, both as a food and drink source and as a packing material. The husk of the coconut is not only incredibly strong, but the fibre it contains is also non-flammable. However, while that is fantastic for durable packaging, it can mean they are difficult to dispose of after their use.
Some companies have begun combing thermoplastic with the husk to make it compostable, too. Whichever option you choose though, you will be doing more good for the environment than you would have been using Styrofoam peanuts.
Sphagnum Peat Moss
The natural material, Peat Moss, will provide a springy protective layer around your product. It’s extremely adaptable since it mushes together easily so it will work with your product no matter its shape or size. You could either purchase this versatile plant in bulk, or you could make a name for yourself as an eco-company by growing it in-house.
There will be no need to worry about where it will go after its use either since it is a natural source of packaging. This means it is compostable and therefore it will be just as easy for your customers to dispose of it as the dissolvable corn-starch peanuts.
Business owners want to know that the alternatives will just as efficiently prevent damage to your product as the Styrofoam peanuts did. These alternatives will undoubtedly be just as capable. Moreover, though it might take your customers a little bit of getting used to, if you keep advertising the reason for your strange packaging solutions you may even become more memorable due to your whacky packing unique selling point