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Hi all,

I am a long way off from shipping but just trying to research as much as possible in the interim.

can anyone suggest some places that offer great packaging that is eco friendly/biodegradable etc?  And is clearly sturdy enough to ensure wares arrive in one piece.
 

I realize this is something that will be costlier most likely but for me it is worth the difference and would love any suggestions or what anyone does in this regard.

thanks!

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your location in your avatar would be very helpful.

 if you are in the US and in a reasonably populated area, you might want to investigate the packing materials used by auto body shops.   if you use their foam packaging, at least you would be re-cycling it.    i realize this is not what you want to do but it might be a compromise to consider.  i use it to cushion the pieces that i carry to sales and to keep items in my studio from damage.   the 1/4 inch foam sheets come as big as a bed sheet and i cut the proper size from them.  sometimes the sheets are a little damaged from tape but it is easy to work around.

otherwise, this stuff is destined for the landfill, the shops are happy to prevent that cost to themselves and willing to give it away.

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If you're a long way off from shipping, I wouldn't worry about sourcing super fancy packaging. To me, one of the most eco friendly options is to use something that you can source within your hometown. The less distance anything has to travel to you has an impact on fossil fuel use. If you have a source of cardboard boxes and reused packing material that is local to you, it's probably best to use that rather than order something brand new that has an eco pedigree that has to get to you via ocean freight.

If you do get to the point where you need a steady supply of predictably sized shipping boxes, check locally to see if there are any packing material or warehouse supply distributors to support. I use a company based in western Canada called Shipper's Supply, but you may have an equivalent company in your city.  If there are any Kauai retail business owner or Etsy groups on the Book of Faces, they can tell you where to look. Most places I've investigated will also carry the cornstarch packing peanuts, which are less staticky than the styrofoam ones and can even be composted. A few other touches to consider: use a stamp to address and brand your boxes with a logo rather than using labels or stickers, and consider tracking down water activated paper tape rather than the usual plastic stuff. The place I get my boxes and peanuts from also carries this. They will try and sell you a heated water tape dispenser to go along with it, but you can work it just fine with scissors, a drywall sponge and a dish of warm water for small volumes of orders. I suspect a dispenser could be rigged with a plastic container and some wooden dowelling if you need something a bit more speedy when you start sending more packages.

Edited by Callie Beller Diesel
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Hawaii? Can't you just skim plastic bottles off the ocean out there? 

I had to break down and go buy a couple boxes the other day. I try to ship everything with found or free boxes from USPS. Lotta good Amazon boxes in the recycle bins nowadays.

I pack with grocery bags, 6g each, lol, I don't put clay on my scale. Hehe. 

Buy groceries with sturdy boxes.

Though I have even been using cereal boxes and other flimsy things as the interior box, also padded with bags, it works well.

I use hotpocket boxes to take up space.

Don't trust air filled stuff, cuz if they leak, or lose pressure due to altitude etc etc... everything breaks.

Sorce

 

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I recycle boxes from various shops and buy newspaper roll ends. I wrap all items then box and stuff the voids with paper( crinkled up) and then place in a larger box with more paper stuffed around it. I used to ship in a single box but lately have had to much breakage so I double box most items.

 

 

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I think it's important to try to minimize the environmental impact of packing materials, but we should accept that shipping pottery is never going to be considered "eco-friendly." 

I am now using starch peanuts (styrofoam was banned by my local government) and these are fine for small packages that aren't too heavy. They dissolve in water so they don't generate trash. But for heavy items, or when shipping multiples items in one box (such as a when doing wholesale work), the starch peanuts are too squishable and will result in broken pots. 

I used to use Freecycle to ask for packing peanuts from my neighbors. I got lots of peanuts for free, but half of them also contained trash, dead leaves, mouse droppings, etc. It was not worth it, so I have gone back to buying new ones. I have a few nearby neighbors who know that when they receive something with a lot of peanuts, they can leave the peanuts on my porch. These are people who I trust will not give me trash.

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GEP I agree to your first point, but that said (as you follow-up with) you can make an effort. 

The irony is not lost on me about where I live, being depended upon oil on the islands, cost of fuel for everything coming here, packing supplies aside et cetera. That said, when I buy something personally, and it is clear the person went out of there way to make such an effort, it means a lot to me, in fact in many cases it has made me a repeat buyer or I do not mind paying more.

I know many people who run their own businesses and actually became even more successful and were/are able to charge more simply by the materials they use. I guess my point is the thought and intent carries over to the consumer whether it is conscience or not.

I also realize a ton of people could care less so long as they get what they wanted, but I do think there is a psychology there that is worth something, albeit fairly abstract.

Anyway, sorry for the tangent there and thanks for the suggestions, keep em coming!

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Here’s a material switch that I made this year, because I’ve been doing a lot more online selling, like many of us have.

I stopped using foam sheets to wrap the pots, and switched to indented kraft paper. That way, if the person receiving the package has paper recycling in their area, the indented kraft can be recycled. The foam can only be thrown away, or reused. 

In the past I always used foam because I have it around for transporting work to/from shows, and I didn’t do enough online selling to justify buying/storing a separate material. But this year I’ve been depleting my foam supply really fast, and I knew it was becoming trash on the other end of the shipment. I’d rather save the foam for shows, where it is the most eco-friendly choice, due to it never wearing out. 

The indented kraft paper costs almost 3x as much per sq ft. But still affordable on a per package basis. 

I get all of my shipping supplies from Uline. Uline will deliver to Hawaii as long as you choose products that can travel by UPS. They make UPS-able versions of a lot of things. 

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If there is a newspaper printer in your area see if they have roll ends, most do. You can then either cut the roll length wise with a  power saw  to make individual sheets or make a roll dispenser,  I built one above my bench that has a sharpened piece of angle iron to tear sheets from the roll.

 

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I get my packing materials from some businesses that save it for me and others. I get boxes from my local organic markets that recycle the boxes to customers. I also sell my pottrerty at those same markets so ikts easy for me. I have only twice  in 40 years ever bought new wraping or boxes and thiose where specialty large boxes. There is so. much of that material out there its easy to scronge it.

Since you are on Lanai you will have many less choices-no newspaper printer etc but you still have business geting this stuff in and throwing it out. Aproch a few and make the connection-just talk story with tham.

I have not been on that Island since 1980 but have a friend who lives there. Its Molokai for us now days  as its off the beatenb track and they have a great  ceramic art center.

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I get a lot of my packing materials 2nd hand,  locally as well.  The best I can say is that I am keeping materials out of the landfill.  But I would love to have access to one of those machines that turn cardboard into packing material!!!  In this video, they did a really crummy job of packing those mugs (IMHO) but you get the idea.

 

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3 hours ago, Roberta12 said:

I get a lot of my packing materials 2nd hand,  locally as well.  The best I can say is that I am keeping materials out of the landfill.  But I would love to have access to one of those machines that turn cardboard into packing material!!!  In this video, they did a really crummy job of packing those mugs (IMHO) but you get the idea.

 

Mugs shift and die is my bet. You can use a box  nearly twice as small and do a better pack job. Two mugs is 13$ flat rate UPS in the right size box-that box is at least $18 size wise to ship.

I wrap my pots with cardboard cut from clay boxes and taped and then put in tight to inner box.Shipping two boxes out today-one to Colorado one to SF. Ca. My cut off shipping date is before Turkey day. I cannot wait to stop shipping as its getting in my way right now.

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Since the OP lives in Hawaii (Kaua) 

UPS is airfreight only if I recall and is very spendy in most outer Islands .

Her options are far different from us mainlanders.(hardly any options) The most common is USPS for small heavy items in those flat rate boxes the largest is the size of a clay box (12x12x5.5)

for about $20 up to 70#s in that size box.

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On 11/13/2020 at 9:43 AM, Roberta12 said:

I get a lot of my packing materials 2nd hand,  locally as well.  The best I can say is that I am keeping materials out of the landfill.  But I would love to have access to one of those machines that turn cardboard into packing material!!!  In this video, they did a really crummy job of packing those mugs (IMHO) but you get the idea.

Check this out: https://www.kristenvanpatten.com/cardboard-perforator

The machine you mention is thousands of $$$, this potter/jeweler made his for a fraction of a cost!

(And his brutalist pottery is amazing!) 

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15 hours ago, 2Relaxed said:

Check this out: https://www.kristenvanpatten.com/cardboard-perforator

The machine you mention is thousands of $$$, this potter/jeweler made his for a fraction of a cost!

(And his brutalist pottery is amazing!) 

Callie sent that link as well!!  Very clever!  My other thought was to see if I could get a number of businesses to go in on a machine and have a shared situation.  You would need a fair amount of space to store the broken down boxes, and a way to control the amount of cardboard that is brought in.  And other details.  But I think it is a great use of cardboard for packing!!!

 

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