If I’m going to buy something, I love to get it online. You can always find it cheaper, and you don’t even need to leave your house. For most items, brick and mortar stores are a thing of the past as ebay, amazon, and online warehouses with no physical inventory continue to gobble up the market share.
However, one particular aspect of the online shopping experience can often be skewed and overlooked: Packaging! Have you ever bought an item, and it came packaged in a box three times its size and full of styrofoam peanuts? Of course you have. I’ll give them their five star rating on ebay for being prompt with the shipping, but I’ll write a little note saying that I hope they were reusing those peanuts.
I’ll admit, I have a bit of a problem. I have a hobby of collecting packaging I inherit when buying stuff. Heck, if I’m walking down the street and I see one of those padded mailer envelopes in the trash, I’ll take it. Anyway, my collection box consists of varying sizes of styrofoam, peanuts, bags of air, and bubble wrap. Everyone has a bag of plastic bags in their house (right?), but this is definitely the next level of being a pack rat.
Polystyrene foam (Dow trademark: Styrofoam) is such a bummer. From a recycling standpoint, there is virtually no market. It’s composed almost entirely of air, costs next to nothing to produce, but it costs plenty for a business entity to conduct a specific recycling pickup for it. You would need several hundred pounds to make it even remotely worthwhile to any recycling service, and they’ll laugh at you while charging hefty pickup fees and fuel charges while their truck isn’t being strained in the slightest.
I’m currently on the hunt for a small shredder or wood chipper to turn large polystyrene foam pieces into confetti and give it to the post office or copy centers for reuse. It seems like an unstoppable cycle unless we can find other uses for this stuff. I wish it would just go away. Although it only takes up a tiny fraction of landfill space, I still don’t want it getting trashed. Is this crazy?
Ugh, I have a serious headache now. Next week, I’m going to write about what I originally intended to before getting sidetracked…stay tuned!