Posted on July 13, 2010 by Dennis Salazar

Sustainable Packaging Question: 100% Recycled Content versus 100% Biodegradable

One thing we have learned about supplying “green” packaging products to eco minded customers, is that they tend to have a wide range and very intense variety of opinions on what is good and what is not. One of those great debates is often found in the area of packaging material composition and whether it is better to reuse a product that has already been manufactured and only used once, to prevent it from becoming trash or using a product that will biodegrade as quickly as possible, in the event it does wind up in a land fill.

Complex Question with No Easy Answers

It is important to note that within this question there are various other questions that need to be asked and answered before anyone with an open mind can possibly respond accurately for any given application and customer.

Are we talking about post consumer recycled content or pre-consumer (post production) recycled content? That makes a huge difference and I think most people will agree recycling is always a good thing, but the closer it gets to the waste stream, the better. Diverting any product from the consumer to the landfill is the ideal solution in my mind but in many areas such as plastic, finding post consumer plastic waste that can be processed and re-manufactured efficiently can be challenging.

On any biodegradable product, one of the many questions that has to be asked is under what conditions is it biodegradable? There are many forms of biodegradability including oxo, hydro and thermal or a combination of all of the above. If we think about biodegradability as the last resort in sustainability, is it still able to be recycled? That is the primary problem I have with some green solutions is that they promote or require a specific process such industrial or municipal composting, but do not admit that few areas of this country have that capability and resource at this time.

Globe Guard Provides Multiple Green Packaging Alternatives

It is not always possible in all product areas but when the products are available we like to give our customers the option of what works best for them, their application and their immediate environment. We do not pretend to know it all and we understand that everyone’s needs are slightly different for any number of reasons. Pictured are two good examples of products being offered in both 100% recycled and 100% biodegradable composition:

Globe Guard Eco Friendly Bubble Packaging

Even though our oxo-biodegradable bubble packaging has been a big hit, we understand there are customers who prefer a recycled product. It is not yet a stock item but we do have a 100% recycled plastic product that will soon be available. When? It comes down to customer demand.

Globe Guard Eco Friendly Inflatable Void Fill Pillows

We stock and sell both our biodegradable version as well as our 100% recycled content formulation. Both are light weight and perform extremely well and are usually reused multiple times before they are ultimately recycled again.

In either grade, it is one of our favorite products because it is among the most economical void fill products available from a shipping inbound and outbound perspective.

Our Most Versatile Green Product?

No question – it is our Globe Guard 100% PCW shipping boxes. They are biodegradable, made of recycled content, can be recycled again and if no other option is available, you can even compost a Globe Guard box. Though we really hope you will reuse it once or twice before you do that.
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