So many businesses are focusing on sustainability right now, which is fantastic. One of the ways they are changing business processes is by changing their packaging. The main options for sustainable shipping packaging right now are compostable mailers (hello!), paper based packaging and recycled plastics.
If you want to know more about compostable mailers, head on over to our product pages or blog posts to read up on the benefits of composting and how to do it.
This article is specifically going to focus on recycled plastic mailers.
Recently, some major Aussie retailers have chosen to use recycled plastic mailers for their new packaging solutions. Essentially, these are post consumer used plastic that has been repurposed to make shipping mailers.
While the perception is that it is promoting a circular economy, the truth is that the "circular" part stops when the mailer reaches a customer, because as we know, 95% of all packaging gets thrown in the bin. Technically, if it was done right, once a customer gets a recycled plastic mailer, they would take it to a Red Cycle or other industrial recycling drop off point for it to be repurposed and used again. However, because it ends up in the bin, it acts like any plastic would and heads to landfill and the ocean where it doesn't break down for hundreds of years.
DID YOU KNOW: Plastic mailers and recycled plastic mailers can't be thrown in your recycling bin?
Most people don't know this and think they are doing the right thing by putting it in their curb side recycling bin.
FACT: All soft plastics MUST be taken to an industrial recycling drop off point
So, while the idea of recycled plastics is great, the ultimate outcome is not truly sustainable.
Compostable mailers have their downsides as well because not everyone composts! But when they do head to landfill, they still break down. It's not the ideal situation, but it's much better than plastics.
If the recycled plastic is taken to an industrial recycling drop off point, the facility will wash the plastic, break it apart and repurpose it. This unfortunately washes micro-plastics back into the environment, which is terrible for marine life.
So, if you are a business that is comparing compostable packaging to recycled plastics, make sure to do a lot of research before deciding. Look at your customers and see if they are informed enough to understand how to properly dispose of the packaging.
But hats off to you for going down the road of sustainability. By reading this, you are headed in the right direction and we love you for it!