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Packaging materials are a necessary part of shipping home improvement products. Years ago, cardboard became the product of choice as the recyclable shipping container. But what was being used inside-the-box?It used to be Styrofoam pellets, sheets or blocks of Styrofoam, plastic wrap, etc. – no manufacturer can claim green thinking with continued reliance on such products.  It is hard to believe that Styrofoam, a styrene derivative and known carcinogen is being used at all these days.  Are there “green” alternatives? YES!

Truly “green” manufacturers have several eco-friendly materials at their disposal lead by bamboo and mushroom-grown products. You read correctly…mushroom-grown….Both bamboo and mushroom grown materials have their niche applications as they get increasingly price competitive.

Manufacturers please note: Bamboo packaging products, which are the eco-friendly choice in smaller packaging are already widely used by forward thinking companies like Dell Computer.

For larger “bumpers” there is mushroom-grown packaging made by the NY based company EcoCradle. Crushed mushrooms mixed with agricultural bi-products are grown into custom made tray to create specific shapes to fit snugly around the products they are meant to protect. Mushrooms grow in the dark.  There is no further energy required to make the end product. Once the consumer receives the package they are encouraged to toss the mushroom packaging into their compost! This completes the from earth back to planet earth cycle…how great is this?!

Per Eco-Cradle’s website the furniture company Steelcase now uses its packaging. Kudos to their forward thinking production staff.

Let’s hope more manufacturers will follow suit and EcoCradle will soon set up a production facility in China at the epicenter of today’s production.

 

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