Plastic-free packaging

by Liz Beavis

Everyday I make an effort to avoid single-use plastic in my life. I have a reusable drink bottle, a glass tea/coffee cup, a metal straw and numerous cloth shopping bags (see more about my plastic free ways here). When it come to packaging soap, I also wanted to avoid plastic, so my soap has a small paper wrapper with ingredients and my contact information.

My only problem was how to post the soap orders without plastic. Until recently, the most convenient option that allowed me to automatically calculate postage costs, was the prepaid Australia Post satchels. These are made of plastic, and I wasn't happy about using them, but it was also important to me that postage was cheap and easy for my customers.

At the end of September 2019, Australia Post changed how they calculate postage, and finally I was able to use my own packaging. I have sourced a biodegradable bag to use instead of the plastic satchels. The bags are certified as home compostable. 

If the bag reaches you in good condition you can reuse it a few times. Then you can chop it up and put it in your home compost, worm farm, bokoshi bin or council green-waste collection. If you don't have access to any of these, you can dig a hole and bury it just under the surface of the soil or in a pot plant. I took the bag that my delivery of bags were packed in, and chopped it up for my worm farm. 

The bags should degrade in a few months as they are made from corn starch. I am very excited to see how this goes in my worm farm.

With the new system I am also printing address lables and sticking them to the bags with biodegradable sticky tape, so it should all be able to compost. The other packing materials I use include recycled paper bags and re-used biodegradable packing peanuts. For larger orders, I have brown cardboard boxes that fit inside the satchels. 

I never use bubble-wrap or plastic/styrofoam packing and I am always so disappointed when I open a parcel that I have ordered and find this type of packaging. I will also be re-using post bags that I receive (so not every order will be in a biodegradable bag). And I am using up the last of my prepaid satchels. 

Overall, I am incredibly grateful to have a post shop at our local service station at Kumbia. They handle most of my post and are always very helpful.

Have you tried to source biodegradable packaging? What solutions have you found?


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