Friday, October 26, 2007

Environmental Packaging Concerns

This past week I received a customer email from Amanda about the use of Styrofoam packing peanuts....

"Dear Denise,

I received my package in good condition. I was disheartened to see the Styrofoam peanuts in the package as well. I ordered from your company understanding that it was an environmentally-conscious company.... Please consider switching to other earth-friendly shipping materials, such as biodegradable peanuts. Also, would it be possible to return the "melt and pour containers" for refills, instead of chucking them in the garbage?"

My Response:

Thank you Amanda for your concern and for taking the time to write us.

Without some sort of support, product can get bruised and broken during shipping. To provide that support, we often use Styrofoam packing “peanuts.” GoPlanetEarth has tried (and is always searching) to find better packaging solutions. We have tried using a puffed cellulose product that was indeed biodegradable. It was so biodegradable that any kind of moisture melted the puffs, leaving the product unprotected and the package contents spotted with "melted" cellulose peanuts.

We do care very much about the environment, and are constantly looking for creative ways to deliver quality products undamaged by shipping. Keep in mind that you can recycle these packing peanuts. You can take them to your local UPS Store, or go to Earth 911, type in your zip code, and check out the other drop-off locations.

We also use recycled Kraft paper and recycled corrugated boxes for packing. However, paper product also raises other environmental concerns such as the harvesting of trees to produce this paper product. We have used the air-filled plastic bags. They took up so much space in a carton that we were shipping two cartons when one would have been adequate. Customers didn't appreciate the added cost of a second carton.

We strive to be a paperless company. Customer sales receipts and packing lists are sent via email. Transmitting this data electronically limits the consumption of printer ink (which is extremely difficult to recycle) and minimizes the use of paper based materials which thereby reduces garbage.

Concerning MP plastic containers. These containers can be recycled locally at your nearest recycling center or with refuse companies offering recycling options. The cost of returning the containers and the energy used to re-melt soap base outweighs the cost of recycling the plastic. You might consider using the plastic containers for storage. Since the soap base it contains is unscented/uncolored, the containers could be washed and used to store left-over food product.

Certainly we are advocates of recycling. Unfortunately, the cost of bio-degradable packaging is still higher than traditional options and most consumers are not willing to pay extra for the use of eco-friendly alternatives. Even then, when it comes to shipping a package safely, those alternatives are limited.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

There aren't always alternatives that are great for the environment, unfortunately. But I believe every little bit you do does help.