Saturday, August 08, 2015

WDWHTY: Packaging Recycling Drop-Offs

WDWHTY - Why Don't We Have These Yet?

I just bought a stainless steel saucepan online. It shipped in a lovely box packed with tons of air-packs. About ten minutes were spent popping all of the bags to fit them into the garbage. On the plus side, all the packs noted that they were biodegradable.

The store I usually buy most of my stuff online from has been using paper as a cushion. That paper has been saved regularly, but not always, for use as scrap paper and for "craft" projects. A good 50% of it has probably gone straight into the recycling bin though. There's just too much.

So, why isn't there some sort of packaging recycling drop-off thing?

With packing paper, it kind of gets recycled already through the municipal recycling collection bin. Only problem is that it probably has to be remanufactured into packing paper, so it's recycled but not directly.

Off the top of my head, there are probably sanitary issues. Who knows where that packing paper or air-pack has been since it left the warehouse. I don't treat packing materials as edible or even something I can eat off of, but I don't consider it a biohazard either. If it were recycled, I might spend a lot of time unrolling and flattening all of packing materials to see what stains have been in contact with my stuff.

Then there's the cost part. Chances are that it's cheaper to just buy a bolt of new packing paper than collect used paper from various collection bins across the city. Air-packs would even be more annoying since they would be inflated -- getting the air out would make them very difficult to use again.

A Compromise?

Would a compromise be designated unpacking areas at post-offices or package pick-up depots? If they only ever travel depot to depot, it may not get as dirty because of the lower mileage alone. Trained personnel would also be handling the materials for the most part -- especially if staff were to open everything for customers in their presence. How profitable it would be to ship these packaging materials back to their point of origin would be the question.

Now to do something about all those cardboard boxes that get trashed, abused, and stained travelling through the shipping system.

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