Shipping packages the eco-friendly way

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Post header image by Fenori.

Every time I use a bubble mailer, I feel a great disturbance in the world, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Kidding. Kind of. It set me out on the search for more biodegradable options in shipping packages that won’t leave a yeti-size footprint after I’m dead and buried, so here’s a list of my findings!

 
 
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1. Protective sleeves

Let’s start from the inside of the package. If you want to protect or weather-proof your items, it’s good to surround everything with a protective sleeve. ClearBags offers 100% compostable bags made of plant-based materials; they’re vibrant and clear just like normal poly bags. Use them to package your prints, charms, books, or other merch. Find them right here.

If you’re interested in other options, I have a more detailed blog post on eco-friendly ways to package small items!

 
 
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2. Backing boards

Maybe you want to add a backing board when you ship prints or flat objects so that they don’t get bent in the mail. ClearBags also offers beautiful backing boards made out of 100% recycled fiber—tough, resilient, and made of up to 90% post-consumer waste. I personally love the black ones—they add a lot of sleekness to the package. Find them right here.

 
 
Image via Uline

Image via Uline

 

3. Cushioning / bubble wrap

Bubble wrap is notoriously not eco-friendly, made of plastic and used once for disposable purposes. Thankfully, there’s two options for alternatives, both of which are quite nice!

  1. EcoEnclose offers GreenWrap, a paper-based alternative to bubble wrap that is fully compostable and recyclable.

  2. Uline offers biodegradable packing peanuts made of starch that decompose in water with no toxic waste.

 
Image via EcoEnclose

Image via EcoEnclose

4. Padded mailers

Bubble mailers have always been extremely difficult to recycle due to the mix of a paper exterior and a plastic interior. EcoEnclose offers an awesome paper-based alternative in padded mailers made of recycled kraft paper, padded by recovered newspaper. Fully biodegradable and recyclable, and made from recycled content, these are probably the most eco-friendly options you can ever get. Find them right here.

These mailers do weigh more than a plastic mailer, so if you’re looking for something lighter and weather-proof for international shipments, consider their recycled bubble mailers!

 
 
Image via EcoEnclose

Image via EcoEnclose

 

5. Cello / packing tape

If you’d like to secure your package with plastic-free packing tape, EcoEnclose offers a plant-based cello sealing tape that is fully biodegradable and renewable. They also offer kraft flatback tape, if that’s more your style. Find them right here.

 
 
Image via PureLabels

Image via PureLabels

 

6. Shipping & address labels

Stickers and labels have always been difficult to make eco-friendly, but PureLabels offers both made with completely plant-based, compostable materials—yes, including the adhesive! Different products are inkjet, laser, and thermal-compatible, so check out their options for your needs. If you want custom labels, they also offer them in bulk. Otherwise, small quantities can be printed out at home on your printer, or brought to print at a copy shop. Find them right here.

 

You made it!

Congrats on taking the first step to a journey of green production! Even though we’re small sellers, every decision cares for the planet just a little more.

Know of any other cool options to share? Consider commenting below with your findings :)