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Cardboard boxes have always been the traditional way to package items to protect them from all the bashing and shuffling they’ll face while in transit. But like with most things, there are more innovative ways to ensure your products reach their final user in good condition – these innovative packaging are often cheaper and most importantly, less harmful to the environment.

Alternatives to Cardboard Boxes

1. Recycled & Eco-Friendly Plastics

Just because plastics aren’t normally environmentally friendly doesn’t mean you can’t use recycled ones. And because you can’t avoid plastics for certain shipments, recycled plastics are the next best thing. Aside from being convenient for shipping products, recycled plastics are also ridiculously cheap so can cut down freight costs for businesses, which is always good.

2. Cornstarch Packaging

This is a type of packaging that uses maize/corn. Because of the plastic properties of corn, it can be molded into whatever shape, and it will hold any type of product you need to ship. The only issue with using cornstarch is that it is derived from corn, which is what we people eat. Hence there’s a competition for one resource – corn – between the packaging and food sector. So the cost of producing cornstarch packages is a bit more expensive than other packages.

3. Seaweed Packaging

Is a gelatinous substance gotten from seaweed that can be used to form packages. Like cornstarch, seaweed is often used by the food industry to make food products like thickener. So while this can be used to package products, the high cost of producing it (because it’s demanded by two Alternatives to Cardboard Boxesindustries) makes this impractical for bulk shipping.

4. Mushroom Packaging

Another packaging alternative is mushroom packaging, and even though parts of mushroom are used to make the package, it’s the inedible portion that’s used. So this isn’t competing with the food industry for limited resources. The package is actually derived from a mix of clean agricultural waste which are then fused together with mushroom roots – usually referred to as mycelium. The mixture can then be molded into the desired shape, dried and used to ship goods.

5. Biodegradable Air Peanuts

Are a replacement for those little styrofoam pieces used to protect fragile goods. With cities like New York banning the use of styrofoam, these biodegradable peanuts are more suitable as loose fillings, especially when shipping to states that have laws against pollution.

6. Inflatable Air Pillows
Inflatable pillows made from recyclable materials are another great alternative to styrofoam wraps. They come in different sizes and are ideal for filling the void in empty boxes to provide cushioning. The pillows are inflated with air, which is essentially free, and the pillow cases can be reused. Hence this both eco-friendly and relatively affordable.
7. Corrugated Up-cycled Cardboard
The idea behind this corrugated cardboard is to mimic the function of bubble wraps – because as fun as bubble wraps are, they’re made of plastic which isn’t biodegradable. This Small cuts are made on the up-cycled cardboard so it can absorb shock during movement.
It is a step in the right direction for eco-friendly options to be available. With the nature of shipping evolving to accommodate eco-friendly packaging, it pays for businesses to take alternatives to cardboard boxes seriously, and incorporate them their business practices.

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