Going green with your packaging

There's plenty of pressure on people to be more environmentally aware these days, but how much of your life should you be dedicating to being 'green'? You could make an effort to recycle your wine bottles, drive a hybrid car or shun traditional electricity in favour of solar panels, or - as some people have chosen to do - you could take if further still. One relatively easy way to be a little greener, though, is to reconsider your packaging habits.
Millions of parcels are sent between Brits every year, but very few people go out of their way to think about sustainability when packaging items. By doing so, however, you won't only be helping the environment, you could save money too.
With this in mind, here are a few tips.

Use less!

This sounds a bit obvious, but the fewer packaging materials you use, the less of an environmental impact you'll have. Of course, you still need to keep your parcel's contents protected, but smaller boxes can actually help with this. If the fit is snug, your item(s) will be less likely to move around in transit, meaning the risk of impact damage is much smaller.
Just be sure to make room for some bubble-wrap or polystyrene - using the most environmentally friendly options where possible.
You can also reduce the amount of tape used by making sure it's placed perfectly first time, and by using plastic wallets to protect any documents attached to the package. After all, these can often be removed and used again, unlike the clear tape that many people use.

Recycle when possible

We're all encouraged to recycle food packaging, so why not recycle mailing packaging too? It's easy to start doing this by simply putting your cardboard into the appropriate recycling bin once you're done with it, instead of discarding it completely.
You could even go one better and cut out the middle man by reusing materials yourself. You'll probably find that many of the boxes you receive items in are still in good shape, so it's worth keeping them handy for next time you need to send something yourself.  In most instances, it'll be possible to safely use a single box at least two or three times before you have to find a new one.
Eventually, you'll find yourself with a collection of different materials, including boxes and sheets of bubble-wrap. You can then raid it whenever you have something to send; chances are you'll find something suitable.
Upcycle too
Packaging materials aren't restricted to just this one use, though. With a little imagination, it's amazing what you can create using some cardboard and tape. You could, for example, pass it on to younger members of the family to use in school projects, or fashion some arts and crafts of your own. Scraps of brown wrapping paper, for example, are perfect for some makeshift gift tags, while the odd bit of thick card can be used to quickly remedy a wonky chair or table.
For some more ideas of how to turn your packaging materials into other useful things, check out our blog on the subject here.
In the meantime, take a second to think about your packaging habits and how they might be impacting the world around you. The tips above might seem a little insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but if everybody took them on board, the environment would benefit hugely!
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