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Confirming the rise of the eco-conscious shopper, in our recent unboxing survey almost one in five consumers said they would not buy from online retailers who do not use sustainable packaging.

97% of respondents also said they follow recycling instructions where possible. This indicates that many of us are now doing the right thing. But what happens when we receive materials that do not fit into our understanding of local recycling streams? Do we just put them in the general waste bin?

14% of survey participants purchased goods that arrived in packaging with no clear recycling instructions. This left them unsure if recycling was possible. So, we thought we’d show you some sustainable postal packaging alternatives that could improve how easy it is to recycle your packaging…

Sustainable postal packaging offers the same protection as traditional packs

An alternative to bubble lined mailers

Enviroflute is a fully recyclable padded mailing bag made from FSC paper. This innovative bag offers the same level of protection as a traditional padded envelopes thanks to its patented internal design.

The all-paper content makes it very easy for your customer to recycle: just drop it in the waste paper recycling bin.

Sustainable paper mailing bags

These heavy duty Kraft paper bags are tough. Tough enough to withstand the rigours of transportation and keep the contents clean and dry. This environmentally friendly packaging is a great choice for your customers too. Because they are 100% paper, household waste recycling streams can accept them (including the peel and stick closure). Now your customers can avoid that guilty feeling of putting yet more plastic into the bin…

Innovations in sustainable postal packaging include see through paper document wallets

Paper document wallets

Yes, there really is a document wallet made of paper and yes, it is transparent enough to read the document details!

With a strong self-adhesive backing, they are not only quick to apply but they can also endure the longest of journeys without falling off the box. Once delivered, your customer will not need to remove the document wallet before recycling the box it’s attached to, as it’s all made of paper. How easy is that?

Padded paper mailers

These envelopes have been on the market for years but it’s well worth including them in this list as they are made of 100% recycled paper and are fully recyclable.  However, they are heavier than bubble lined mailers so may cost a little more in postage as they add to your shipment weight.

Disposing of sustainable postal packaging is not always simple

What about recycling plastic mailers?

Has this article led you to wonder about the recyclability of plastic mailing bags? If so, it’s worth knowing that many household recycling schemes won’t accept them.

However, Low-density polyethylene (LPDE), from which most of them are made, is also used to make most supermarket carrier bags. So, carrier bag collection points will accept plastic mailing bags for recycling. But not bioplastic mailing bags. The reason Many LDPE streams cannot accept bioplastics is that some types can contaminate them.

You’ll need to check locally to see what types of bioplastic is acceptable.

If you are interested in investigating sustainable postal packaging options further, contact Macfarlane Packaging today.

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