Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

Whatever side of the divide you find yourself on with regard to environmental issues such as global warming, most of us agree that plastics are pretty damaging to the environment, and they’re become a problem for us personally too.

Microplastics have become a hot topic and the manufacture of polystyrene is ranked as the fifth worst global industry in terms of hazardous waste creation. It’s very difficult to recycle and as an example, a simple polystyrene cup takes about 500 years to degrade.

By the way this isn’t a scientific article, so I won’t be citing all the sources for this one, but it’s all out there for you to find if you’re interested.

With regard to microplastics (and polystyrene is a huge contributor to this issue), these have now been found in fish and drinking water, and now we’re finding them in ourselves. Given the toxic nature of much of this plastic (the microplastics can absorb heavy metals and pesticides also) that can’t be good news. There are multiple studies underway, and the picture looks not great. While we’re waiting for definitive evidence of the long term effects on human health, we at Moji Music thought we’d just do something small that may be able to help from the word go.

So, we’ve never used Polystyrene packing ‘peanuts’ in our deliveries. Instead, we looked at the alternatives, and while they’re not perfect, we felt it was important to not add to the plastics problem.

We chose to use biodegradable packing peanuts — starch-based. These little packing pieces are not perfect, but being made from natural sources, they’re non-toxic to people and animals, and dissolve in water. They can even be added to compost piles after single use. But you can also just dissolve them on your sink with water.

Their manufacture is also safer. During manufacturing, Styrofoam exposes workers to carcinogenic materials, but the biodegradable packing peanuts are completely non-toxic, so no workers are exposed to potentially harmful gases or materials. That’s got to be the way to go, hasn’t it?

Their downsides are they are less resilient and can break down during long shipping and generate dust also. They also cost significantly more for us to buy, they’re heavier (so there is a measurable impact on post costs for us and of course the fuel used to move stuff around, small impact but it’s there) and if they get wet, they degrade. However, we felt these were manageable risks for the benefits to the environment and eventually to everyone.

What do you think, are we doing the right thing? Let us know…

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