We all have to do our bit to protect the environment moving forward into the future. The changes we need to make in order to protect the environment can range massively in size and importance. For instance, you can help to protect the environment by minimizing your energy usage or choosing to take public transport instead of driving your own car.
But there are also bigger changes we can make as a collective society. We can choose to replace certain things with more environmentally friendly alternatives, such as exchanging plastic bags for paper bags. Governments may even impart outright bans on specific materials or products for the betterment of the environment. Think about those paper straws you’ve been seeing more of lately. Sure, they might fall apart more easily, but this keeps sea-life from swallowing wasted plastic straws!
It can be surprising what various things in our lives can be exchanged for more environmental alternatives. With the massive role that online businesses such as Amazon play in our lives, it is important for these companies to ship their products in a sustainable manner. Towards this end, many have chosen to opt for compostable mailers. But what exactly are they? What are they made of? Let’s take a look!
What are Compostable Mailers?
Compostable mailers are a very environmentally friendly alternative to standard packing that you would ordinarily expect to receive your online orders in. These mailers are designed to decay easily once thrown away so that they don’t spend years in landfills once you are through with them.
Compostable mailers can be used within your gardening, should you choose to use them as such. Compostable mailers will turn to very fertile soil if left within your backyard, so you can grow amazingly beautiful flowers and other plants. Despite this, compostable mailers are still very durable and waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about your packages being damaged by the elements in the postage process!
Compostable mailers are also very flexible, so they can perfectly protect any products you order online, or that you send to another person.
What are Compostable Mailers Made From?
Compostable mailers are made from entirely natural materials that are also very sustainable. They are most commonly made from starch, which is a bi-product that is made from vegetables. When used to make compostable mailers, the starch provides the durability that is needed, while also being flexible enough to accommodate different products and objects. The use of starch also means that the packages degrade very naturally, over a period of time. This means that they won’t clutter up streets, if littered, and will soon turn to soil. This also helps to keep landfills down.
How Quickly Do Compostable Mailers Degrade?
Compostable mailers generally take around six months to fully degrade. This means that any packaged item has plenty of time to make it to its target destination safely before the packaging loses its quality.
Within more commercial composting settings, compostable mailers can take as few as 90 days to degrade.
With all of this amazing evidence, it’s no surprise that compostable mailers are proving to be the perfect solution to our ecological woes. They can allow us to still access the convenience of online shopping, without having to create excessive waste that will pile up in landfills.
Unfortunately, compostable mailers do cost quite a large amount of money, both to produce and to purchase for use. This is because there is a considerable process needed to create the materials for the mailers, as well as a considerable effort necessary to create the finished product.
Thus the production costs per mailer are quite a bit higher than standard mailers, and thus much of this cost is covered by the user, who may have to pay quite a premium to access them.
Unfortunately, it is unclear, yet, whether compostable mailers will become the standard across the world, especially for massive retailers such as Amazon, who depend on mailers and other forms of packaging.
Are There any Downsides to Compostable Mailers?
Yes. Though compostable mailers offer some serious benefits to our continued wellbeing, there are certain downsides to them. One of the most noteworthy downsides is that compostable mailers are not marine biodegradable. By this, we mean that compostable mailers will not naturally degrade over time when in bodies of water like the ocean.
As well as this, unlike some standard paper mailers, compostable mailers are non-recyclable in many cases, so you may need to find other ways to dispose of them in an environmentally friendly manner. Luckily, as we have noted, you can use them effectively in your backyard, as they will degrade quicker than standard plastic mailers.
To Wrap Up
Compostable mailers are a true innovation of modern environmentally conscious design and engineering. They can degrade very quickly and very naturally in the right conditions, which means that they won’t be cluttering up landfills for generations to come. As well as this, compostable mailers are still incredibly durable and waterproof, so they can still do their job perfectly, without any nasty consequences.
However, for every few good innovations made with compostable mailers, there are a number of problems, such as how they cannot degrade in aquatic environments, or how expensive and troublesome they can be to produce. It is unlikely that our current compostable mailers will become an industry standard, but who knows what the future will hold. For now, this is a great first step.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Compostable mailers help to completely avoid cluttering up landfills, as they will naturally degrade within a few months. However, as of yet, they are expensive to make and use, so they have yet to prove a full replacement for standard shipping methods.
Unfortunately, because of its biodegradable nature, compostable packaging cannot be placed amongst recycling. You should aim to place your compostable packaging within your general waste.
Items that are compostable will naturally degrade over time, often quite quickly, and will leave non-toxic elements behind. These elements will be all-natural, and, as such, can be used within soil to make it more fertile or healthy!