Sustainable Shipping: Shredded Office Paper as Packing Fill
Mar 29th 2023
At ilovesweets, we're always striving to view our company through the lens of Sustainability, making improvements when the opportunity arises. Transparency is key on Our Sustainability Journey, and we hope to both inspire others to take meaningful steps as well as receive thoughtful feedback from anyone willing to take the time to offer it. This ongoing "Sustainable Shipping" series of blog posts will focus on the sustainability initiatives for the packing and shipping components of our business that are in place now as well as plans we have for the future. Thanks for reading!
"Going Green" doesn't always mean paying extra green! There's no doubt about it- many eco-friendly initiatives can cost a lot of moola. You can also find some earth-conscious choices that actually save you money. Today, we're digging deeper into one of our favorite sustainability initiatives: using shredded office paper as packing fill.
Our story begins with an unfortunate realization: The company that takes care of our commercial recycling doesn't recycle shredded paper. In fact, you're unlikely to find a service that does. The small pieces can fall through the cracks of the machinery used to sort materials, making it challenging to separate shredded paper from other types of recyclables. Our response: we held back our next load of shreds, determined to find a responsible solution.
And then it happened... the jolt of inspiration! It was like a bolt of lightning that struck us out of nowhere, electrifying our minds and sparking this new idea that left us buzzing with excitement: Why not use it as packing fill? We already use brown crinkle kraft paper for our direct to consumer shipments and that stuff is not free. It was as if the universe had sent us a signal, a flash of brilliance that illuminated our thoughts and made us realize we could make other more sustainable shipping and packaging choices as well. With our synapses firing fast, we dove headfirst into the depths of new ideas, riding the thunderous waves of creativity as they crashed against the shores of possibility. Yes, we're really waxing poetic here, but, oh, what a rush that afternoon was!
Ok. More on the other sustainable packaging/shipping ideas we came up with some other time. Now, back to the shreds!
Shredding the used office paper gives us lightweight pieces that can be used to cushion products during shipping. It's turning out to be both an effective way to reduce waste as well as reducing the cost of purchasing packing materials, which also helps us reduce our carbon footprint. It's not lost on us that we're passing the unrecyclable shreds on to our customers which is why the flipside to our "thank you" note includes some information about the choice to include these shreds and some ideas for what can be done with them.
Composting the shreds is an option for those with local compost pickup and naturally can be used in a home compost pile or garden as well. They count as a “brown” ingredient, or one that provides carbon for your compost. Not able to compost? Do you have a cat or a small pet? Consider lining the bottom of your kitty litter box with the paper shreds to help stretch your supply further. The smallest shreds can also be great bedding for your rabbit, gerbil, hamster, rat, etc. A quick online search generates many more ideas, and we're including one such link to get your creativity going here.
We hope you've found some joy and inspiration yourself as we've explained why we have chosen to use our office paper shreds like this. While we will continue to use the biodegradable kraft paper crinkles that we have to pay for, using shredded office paper as some or all of the packing fill is a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and versatile solution to reduce waste and protect our products during shipping. Sometimes, you really can make a positive impact on the environment and save money at the same time!