As you’re gathering up the belongings for your move, take an extra second to think about what containers and packaging material you should use to store your items. Your decision may impact not only your health, but also the health of all other living species and the overall well being of the environment. Every minute, approximately 1 million plastic bags are used. Each of these plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to degrade. Because of this slow decomposition rate, they drift on the ocean for hundreds of years and cause the death and numerous marine animals who mistake them for food. In addition, bubble wrap made from polyethylene and packing peanuts made from polystyrene can also take up to hundreds of years to decompose.
Fortunately, with a gradually growing green-conscious society, there are numerous environmentally friendly alternatives to the regular packaging materials we normally use.
- Biodegradable Bubble Wrap
- Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
- Biodegradable Film
- Biodegradable Bags
Who would have thought that the mushrooms you grow in your garden can be used not only for tomorrow night’s dinner but also as packaging material? This packing foam substitute, dubbed Mycobond by its creators, is made simply by growing the vegetative parts of mushrooms in a molded plastic structure that can be changed to whatever shape you desire. Mycobond only uses one-tenth the carbon dioxide and one-eighth the energy that it takes to make other foam packaging materials. This environmentally friendly substitute not only serves as a durable packaging buffer, but also provides effective insulation.
Biodegradable bubble wrap is just as durable and sturdy as regular bubble wrap, but it is made completely from recyclable material and can decompose to just carbon dioxide, oxygen, and biomass that provide nutrients for the soil. This alternative will not harm the ecosystem because it is nontoxic. On the bright side, biodegradable bubble wrap is just as accessible and easy to order as regular bubble wrap.
Regular packing peanuts are made by polystyrene, which contains toxic chemicals that can be very harmful to the environment. Fortunately, nowadays there is a safer alternative made from cornstarch. This substitute is nontoxic and will not harm our environment. In fact, these packing peanuts can simply be dissolved in water after use! Biodegradable packing peanuts can easily be purchased and can also easily be made in one’s own kitchen with cornstarch, corn oil, and water.
For your precious glassware or trophies, biodegradable film is an ecofriendly alternative for storing any fragile goods. These biodegradable films can decompose in landfills when exposed to sunlight, pressure, heat, and water. The molecular structure of this type of film is designed to be broken down by microorganisms that live in soil. Furthermore, you will not be sacrificing durability or strength by switching to biodegradable film- this substitute is just as resistant and strong as regular plastic.
A much safer and healthier alternative to the classic plastic bag is a biodegradable version. As opposed to one thousand years, these biodegradable bags can degrade within 10-45 days. No polyethylene is used to make these biodegradable bags. Furthermore, these alternate bags naturally decompose into the soil after being put in a landfill. These bags are designed to be used multiple times and can end up saving you a little money in the long run!
Kenneth McCall is director of IT for storage.com In this role he builds the systems that help customers find the best self storage units for their needs, for example Through Kenneth’s and his team’s work customers can find self storage in Dallas and other cities. In his spare time, Kenneth likes to bike and participate in outdoor activities.