Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Day Fifty-Nine - Packing Nuts - Part I

Minimize Packing Materials When Sending Packages

Note to Readers: Occasionally I get a little irked by the actions of others and I really just need to rant. You will be still find some helpful information but mostly I'll be bashing the offensive person or company.

As a costumer who sews garb for the Very Merry Seamstress, and as an e-Bay seller extraordinaire, I send out a lot of packages. I do my best to be a responsible shipper. I strive to reduce the amount of packaging I use, to reuse materials whenever possible and to package in recyclable materials.

Other individuals and companies, however, seem to take over-packaging to the extreme and become, what I like to call "Packing Nuts". I received a package today from one such nut.

Remember when I talked about wanting to get some dryer balls? Well, since I already fell hard off the Compacting wagon this past month, I decided to order some balls from Amazon. My Nellie's Dryer Balls arrived today, shipped to me from Snow's Home and Garden. Here's what I bought (description & picture straight from Nellieslaundry.com):

Nellie's™ Dryerballs are designed to reduce drying time and soften fabrics naturally without using chemical fabric softeners. As Nellie's™ Dryerballs tumble around in the dryer they lift and separate fabrics allowing air to flow more efficiently thus reducing drying time up to 25%. Saves time and money! The unique design of the Dryerballs nodules relaxes the fibers during the drying cycle. Clothes feel softer and towels are more absorbent. We stand behind all of our products 100%. Nellie's™ Dryerballs come with a two year buy back guarantee.

OK, so if I'm reading this right, the idea here is that these plastic balls, which are the consistency of a dog chew toy, will get tossed into my dryer and slam around in there up against my laundry and the stainless steel dryer walls. They will perform this function once a day, every day, for two whole years without sustaining any damage, or I will get my money back.

And yet, when I received my tough-as-nails balls today, here is what I found. The package itself had been tightly wrapped in a plastic bag and taped shut. Perhaps this was to prevent water damage, because, you know, dryers are NEVER DAMP! That waterproof wad was then placed in a very strong corrugated cardboard box that was twice the size of the original package. To fill these damaging voids of potentially damaging, um... AIR, they filled every nook and cranny with those damn Styrofoam packing peanuts! ARRRRRGGGG!!!

Please, please, please if you ship items anywhere, follow some rules to ensure your packages are eco-friendly. Here's how I apply the three R's to shipping:

  • Reduce - If you don't need to put items in a plastic bag first, then don't. If you don't need to include notes, invoices, paper, etc., then don't. And if you don't need to cushion the product with fillers, then don't!
  • Reuse - Who cares if the box was used before? Cover up or rip off the old label and slap a new one on. It's a box for God's sake, once you're over the age of 3 you're supposed to be more interested in the actual contents.
  • Recycle - Make sure you use recyclable materials. If you must wrap an item in plastic, use either biodegradable bags or #2 plastic bags. If you use packing peanuts (or work for a company that does), use the new corn-based biodegradable packing peanuts.

Again, I already try my best to be a responsible shipper, so this post doesn't really net me any savings. However, if you alter the way you ship things based on the information in the post, let me know so I can take the credit :-)

All joking aside, if you work for a company that ships products, take the time to do some research for your shipping manager and help him or her find ways to reduce the environmental impact of their shipping activities. This is a chance for you to make a really big difference. This means you, Shanny! :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yup, yup! Actually, they're VERY good about reusing - they reuse EVERY thing they can, most of the foam ($1500 radios do NOT like peanuts :)) is reused until it is DISGUSTING, only removed from service when it is no longer functionable in its foaminess. Boxes are reused until they become unstable, etc. They sort all shipped-in customer packing materials in big huge bags and reuse whatever possible. I'm sure we could do better, though. I'll start looking into it!