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Minimizing the Impact of Packaging Waste

The holiday season is upon us which means the amount of waste created from packaging will be more than any other time of the year. The past two years between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, USPS, FedEx and UPS delivered around 2 billion packages. Most likely the number of packages delivered during the holiday season will increase again this year, including our share to our valued Eco Promotional Products customers.

At Eco Promotional Products, we are very mindful of trying to minimize packaging waste and we appreciate the customers who make requests to keep packaging waste to a minimum. We always strive to be better, but unfortunately, sometimes packaging waste is unavoidable to protect a product or the product’s imprint.

So what do we do with all that packaging waste when we can’t eliminate it altogether? Reuse or recycle. Cardboard shipping boxes and air pillows can be recycled or reused for other shipments or used for moving. Plastic polybags can be reused or recycled. Most grocery stores have plastic recycling bins or you can locate other recycling locations at While plant-based, compostable plastics are good in theory, they can contaminate regular plastic recycling loads. In order to break down, compostable plastics should be composted at an industrial facility. Another option is to donate plastic bags to your local animal shelter. They will gladly take bags (without holes) for cleaning up after dogs.

Most large retailers and retail brands such as Amazon are taking steps to minimize packaging waste. The company offers Frustration-Free Packaging and last year they began shipping some items in a fully recyclable paper padded mailer. Other advances in packaging waste include mushroom-based packing material developed by Ecovative Design which Ikea is using in place of Stryrofoam, and LimeLoop, a mailer that can be reused for 10 years.

While there have been so many advances in packaging waste reduction in the past few years, hard-to-recycle Styrofoam and packing peanuts are still frequently used. Larger pieces of polystyrene foam packaging and Styrofoam items like coolers, egg cartons and food containers cannot be recycled curbside but look for recycling options at a recycling center or retailer in your area. Unfortunately, peanuts are much more difficult to recycle and reusing is the best option.

Amazon has approximately 100 million U.S. Prime subscribers. Reduce your carbon footprint by making mindful consumption decisions, shopping locally and bringing your own bag.