AIR PILLOWS AND PAPER CUSHIONING FOR PRODUCT SHIPPING
Why are there paper and air cushions in shipping boxes? The product in the box is often already packed.
If the product in the box isn’t protected, it can move around during shipping and can be damaged. This equally applies to packed products in a shipping box. And a broken product would not only be annoying for the recipient, but also bad for the environment: far more energy and resources are needed for the damaged product to be returned and for a new product to be manufactured and dispatched once again than for the manufacture of paper or air cushions that prevent the product from being damaged.
Why are small products sometimes dispatched in very large boxes with a lot of protective packaging material?
As the manufacturer of protective packaging, Storopack has no direct influence over the size of the boxes and the amount of protective packaging material used by mail order companies. We do, however, offer our customers advice regarding efficient packaging processes in order to play our part in ensuring that only the protective packaging material that’s needed is actually used.
Can used Storopack products be sent back to Storopack for recycling?
Absolutely yes! However, for lowest environmental impact we suggest to dispose of products via the locally available disposal options, preferably via established collection for recycle. In most countries and communities the collection for plastics and paper for recycling are well established. Thus, it is the simplest and best way to contribute to the recycling of those products.
MANUFACTURING MATERIAL AIRplus®
What are the air cushions made from?
AIRplus® air cushions are made from PE (polyethylene) film. We manufacture the films at our own production facilities. PE film is characterized in particular by the minimal use of resources for its manufacture and by its excellent mechanical properties – it is especially flexible, allowing you to reliably cushion, block and brace, and wrap all kinds of products.
Is recycled material used to make AIRplus® films?
It depends on the product. Some AIRplus® Void films contain recycled material, while other AIRplus® films do not.
What proportion of an AIRplus® film is made from recycled material?
Those films which are produced with recycle content do contain a minimum of 50% recycle.
What sort of carbon footprint does AIRplus® film have?
We have investigated if such data would be meaningful. As there are no standards for such studies we believe they are incomplete and misleading. Therefore, we have decided to stay away from such studies/statements.
REUSE, RECYCLING, AND DISPOSAL OF FLEXIBLE PROTECTIVE PACKAGING
Which types of protective packaging can be reused?
All Storopack protective packaging can be reused. Non-business customers, for example, can use it to return a product or to send other products. And trade and industry can use loose fill which is returned to them to dispatch products once again.
Can Storopack protective packaging be recycled?
Yes, all of Storopack’s protective packaging is recyclable. It can be processed and reused in a variety of industrial products.
Is Storopack’s protective packaging compostable?
Storopack also offers protective packaging which is industrially compostable, like AIRplus® BIO film, which can be used for the manufacture of air cushions. The film’s base material is a compostable plastic based on polylactic acid (PLA) and copolyester. The basis of the product is made using renewable resources. AIRplus® BIO is certified compostable in accordance with the European standard EN 13432 and the American standard ASTM D6400.
Can PAPERplus® paper cushions be disposed of as compost?
No, a compost heap is not suitable for this and disposing of the cushions in this way would therefore be wrong. It is better to put the paper cushions into the paper collection for recycling. They will then be recycled appropriately and used to manufacture new paper products.
What does the term “bioplastic” mean?
We have to make a distinction here between bio-based plastic, biodegradable plastic, and a mixture of the two. Bio-based plastic is made entirely or partially from biomass like corn, sugarcane, or cellulose. Compostable plastic is generally broken down into carbon dioxide and water under certain conditions. There are also “OXO-biodegradable plastics.” These are conventional plastics which have had metals added in order to make them biodegrade.
Why doesn’t Storopack use “OXO-biodegradable plastics”?
So-called OXO-biodegradable plastics should be avoided: many experts question whether the fragments (or microplastics, depending on the size) are truly fully biodegraded. Additionally, the additives in OXO-biodegradable plastics can have a negative impact on recycling.
For more information on bioplastics, see also: Article by the German Environment Agency (UBA) on bags made from bioplastic
How should protective packaging be disposed of correctly?
As a consumer in, for example, Germany or Austria, you can simply dispose of air cushions (ideally emptied of air) and loose fill in the “Gelber Sack” yellow bin bags or “Gelbe Tonne” yellow bins . They are then recycled or incinerated. Polyethylene is incidentally a very welcome source of energy at waste-to-energy plants because its calorific value is actually higher than that of oil. Alternatively, they can be disposed of in household trash. Paper cushions belong in the paper collection bin/in bundles for paper collection, while foam packaging should go in the household trash. The trade and industry sectors have their own disposal channels (industrial waste) via which foam packaging is also recycled.
How does Storopack contribute to protecting the environment?
As a rule, Storopack focuses on sustainability in accordance with the “4 Rs” principle of REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, and RENEW.
We pay attention to using limited resources and energy in the production of our protective packaging. This is why many of our products are made using recycling materials and can be recycled themselves after use. Our products which are branded as “Bio” are made from renewable resources, are biodegradable, and are certified by independent institutes (DIN CERTCO – www.dincertco.de and BPI – www.bpiworld.org). Wherever possible, the Storopack production plants use energy sourced from waste heat. We also manufacture without generating chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). And last, but not least, the low weight of our protective packaging plays a part in reducing fuel consumption during shipment.
Is protective packaging made from paper more environmentally friendly than plastic protective packaging?
Each material has its own manufacturing and disposal advantages and disadvantages. Paper has the advantage of being made out of the renewable resource wood. Meanwhile, PE film (polyethylene) production requires less energy and water than paper and can also be recycled with a lot less energy. All Storopack protective packaging can be reused and recycled.
Is the manufacture of protective packaging made from plastic harmful to the environment?
No. Neither unpleasant odors, nor toxic vapors and effluents are created during the manufacture and processing of the PE films used for our air cushions. Production of the PE films is chlorine- and sulfur-free, they do not contain any plasticizers or heavy metals, and they do not pollute groundwater.