Eco-Friendly Tips for Small Businesses: Part 1, Reusing Cardboard
on December 16, 2021
As a small, eco-conscious business owner, finding ways to reduce waste and reuse materials is a top priority.
I'm going to share one of my favorite tips & the tools involved that I use as part of my Sustainability Promise as I ship my products.
Best of all? It's easy and affordable!
In running a small business, I get a lot of packages in the mail and subsequently, I get a lot of cardboard boxes.
When a box arrives that is in good condition, I will reuse it to ship out my products to my customers. (I put a sticker on these boxes so you know your package has been shipped in reused packaging!)
However, sometimes a box is simply too large or too damaged to reuse. The first thing I do is cut them down into pieces!
I utilize electric scissors to cut down the pieces quickly and with minimal effort - but you can totally use a box cutter or Xacto blade!
Prior to 2021, I used box cutters, but these electric scissors make quick work of cutting down cardboard. They're especially great if you have low grip strength or mobility issues in your hands!
The first things I cut down are specific cardboard pad sizes that are perfect for keeping flat products from being bent and damaged while in transit to my customers!
Some example sizes I precut are 9x12 pieces for art prints, 4x6 pieces for stickers & sticker sheets, and 6x9 pieces for fact cards. I keep all these pieces in bins, so they're ready to grab when I need them.
Cutting out pieces of boxes will produce waste from all those small off-cut scraps that aren't large enough for my pre-sized pads, right?
Not for me! Any part of the box that I can't reuse, like super damaged pieces and those off-cuts will all get shredded!
I invested in this durable paper shredder that will handle thicker materials, like cardboard, and shreds it up into smaller pieces.
If you're shopping around for a shredder that can handle cardboard, maker sure it can handle at least 12 sheets of paper.
Note: commissions may be earned from the links in this article.
I use this shredded material as in-fill when I ship out orders in boxes. It's an excellent shock absorber, ensuring items arrive safely during transit through the mail.
This in-fill not only helps to protect items during shipping - but it also provides a great eco-friendly (and free) alternative to bubble wrap or crinkle paper.
Using shredded cardboard as packaging material is a simple, affordable, and effective at helping to protect the environment by reducing waste.
By making small changes like this, we can all do our part to create a more sustainable future.
Interested in seeing how I repurpose cardboard boxes for my business? Be sure to check out my TikTok video!
In the video, I show how I cut down and shred cardboard to use as packaging materials. I also show the electric scissors and paper shredder in action.
Be sure to give it a watch and let me know what you think!
There are many alternatives uses for shredded cardboard - beyond just using it as packaging material. Here are five ideas for repurposing shredded cardboard:
1. Composting! Shredded cardboard makes an excellent addition to compost piles. It is high in carbon, which helps to balance the nitrogren-rich materials in compost bins and can help create a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
2. Mulch! Use shredded cardboard as mulch around plants and trees to help retain moisture in the soil and suppress weeds. It will break down over time, adding organic matter into the soil.
3. Pet Bedding! Shredded cardboard can make a cozy and absorbent bedding material for small pets like hamsters and guinea pigs. Just be sure to remove any tape or staples from the cardboard before shredding it and using it.
4. Crafts! Shredded cardboard can be used in a cariety of craft projects, such as making paper mache, creating 3 sculptures, or using it as a base for homemade cards.
5. Fire Starter! Dry, shredded cardboard can make an excellent fire starter for fireplaces, wood stoves, and campires. Just be sure to only use cardboard that doesn't have any glossy or colored coatings, as these can release harmful chemicals when burned.
These are just a few examples of the many alternative uses for shredded cardboard.