In 2017, 165 billion packages were shipped in the U. S alone, that number has surged due to increased online shopping from the pandemic and a trend of consumers shopping more online than at brick-and-mortar stores.
The big question is what do you do with all the packaging materials that padded the items you purchased? They are still in good shape and can be reused but you do not have the room to save all those packaging supplies for use later. They have a recycling symbol on them so you may think that putting them in your recycling bin is a good option. However, aside from cardboard, most packaging materials are considered Terrible Tanglers, long stretchy material that can wrap around gears in sorting machines at recycling facilities. Tanglers jam gears and workers must stop the machine and manually remove all the tanglers. This poses as safety hazard for the workers, causes wear and tear of the machines and causes delays in sorting recyclables. Styrofoam whether it be foam wrap, foam board, or packaging peanuts should never go in the recycling bin.
What do you do with all the perfectly good material piling up by your trashcan? Take it to a packaging and shipping business so they can reuse it! That is right, businesses that pack and ship packages can accept several different types of packaging material and reuse it. Check out this infographic to see which businesses can take what. Some businesses will accept several types while others only accept certain types.
Cut down on what you put in the landfill and give packaging material a longer life by taking it to a business that ships packages. Please remember to only donate clean packaging materials that is in good condition.