Peanut Allergy: Why We Will No Longer Use Packing Peanuts
We are pleased to announce to you a recent change that has been implemented. We will no longer use packing peanuts in any of our shipments, nor will they be used for anything else. All packing materials moving forward will be 100% recyclable.
In October 2018, a Sustainable Development Team consisting of a rep from our Warehouse, Purchasing, and Marketing was formed. This team would be responsible for researching and implementing the best possible way for outbound shipments to go out, all while being completely recyclable. The team began to research what options were available that offered cushioning, moldable product protection, and filling space. The team also wanted to factor in cost, extra equipment, and recyclability.
The main goal of the initiative was to eliminate all packing peanuts and replace it with 100% recyclable materials. Packing peanuts, also known as Polystyrene foam, is a threat to our waterways, ecosystems, and our health. “Polystyrene foam contains likely cancer-causing chemicals that can leach into the food and drinks they hold, making them dangerous to consumers. Styrene, the main ingredient in Polystyrene foam, is a likely human carcinogen, according to both the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Toxicology Program.” writes Richard Bruno for the Baltimore Sun.
Packing peanuts and other Polystyrene foam items never fully degrade, but they also can absorb dangerous chemicals found in the environment. So not only are they harmful to the animals that consume them, but they, in turn, are harmful to us when we consume those animals. (Think fish, oysters, and other seafood animals when Polystyrene foam is littered into our oceans.)
We went on to research the best alternative to packing peanuts and found that Kraft paper is one of the most sustainable and cost-effective resources to use as shipping material. It can be wrapped around products, used as void fill, and is 100% recyclable. However, the team was not convinced that paper alone could replace both the peanuts and bubble bags, especially for items with a nozzle or special closures. We concluded that the Kraft paper + bubble bags would be the best way to send outbound shipments. Poly bubble bags or sleeves provide cushioning and moldable product protection and are also 100% recyclable. (see chart below) (*Miscellaneous items will be bubble wrapped when not able to fit in poly bubble bags.)
“90% of consumers say that companies and brands have a responsibility to take care of the planet and its people” (via JWT The New Sustainability: Regeneration), and we couldn’t agree more. We have a corporate social responsibility to become a more sustainable brand, and eliminating packing peanuts is just the first step.
Going forward, all products will be packaged and shipped out in boxes filled with 100% recyclable packing paper and bubble bags. Not only is this better for the environment, but it is also better for our shipping workers.
The packing paper is deposited out of a machine that is much easier for the workers to use and much more efficient. No more bending and picking up loose peanuts, which can cause quite a mess and waste valuable time.
We still have a long way to go in increasing our environmental sustainability, but we’re proud to have taken the first step. Some other changes we plan to make in the future include implementing various recycling programs, working with eco-friendly non-profits, and sourcing from local vendors or those who use upcycled ingredients.
We’d love to hear from you! What ways do you decrease your environmental impact? Is there anything you would like to see us do in the future?
Clare Hennigan, Trend Analyst