This fall Steve Grimmer, artist-mechanic for Emriver, changed our packing material for our components to something more environmentally friendly. We were conscious of the amount of non-biodegradable packaging that went into shipping our models, but we were having a hard time choosing the right materials to replace the petroleum based packaging.
Steve owns Alto Clay Works and is also a potter. He became aware of other options for packing his beautiful pottery and he shared that knowledge with us here at Emriver. We are thrilled with the change that he has made.
Before Steve’s intervention, we were using a closed cell foam to protect our products during shipment. Closed cell foam made of polyethylene, a two carbon, four hydrogen polymer derived from petroleum. It is not biodegradable. And when exposed to solar radiation, it breaks down into methane and ethylene. Although recyclable, we definitely wanted to get away from using it. We used to use about 6 large rolls of foam plastic a year, but that amount will be zero in 2022!
One product we are now using is Kraft Paper Sheets from Box Partners. It is biodegradable and not manufactured from petroleum. As a bonus: It is made from 100% recycled paper.
Now we employ Kraft Paper and a rubber band, made from well, rubber. Rubber bands can be repurposed as a rubber band, musical instrument, projectile, and more.
We are also using singleface cardboard. This adds a little more padding than the Kraft Paper, but keeps it more environmentally responsible. Here is one of our controllers ready to be wrapped up for shipment. Again, this controller would have been wrapped in closed cell foam.
The cost of making this change was insignificant. The foam wrap we used to use is $0.03 per square foot and the single face corrugated is $0.08 per square foot. But, wrapping a K28 controller with foam uses 6 square feet of foam ($0.18), whereas wrapping a k28 in single face corrugated uses 1 square foot ($0.08), less than half the cost.
The waffle kraft paper is $.05 per square foot, and we use about the same amount to wrap things as we do foam, but it’s a lot cheaper to ship to us because of the bulkiness of foam rolls.
We know that we made the right choice to make these changes. Afterall, we care about rivers and the earth and we want our products to reflect that!