Sunday, 22 April 2012

Frugal Parcel Packaging: Cheap Alternatives!

Next time you need to post a parcel, stop and think before rushing out and buying a year's supply of bubble wrap and paper. Do you have anything that you could re-use for a frugal and green packaging solution?

Think of typical packaging materials. Boxes, brown paper, bubble wrap, bags? You can get free alternatives for all of these to save some serious money. The only thing you need to buy is parcel tape!

Boxes – NEVER BUY BOXES! You can pick up free boxes absolutely everywhere! Supermarkets are a top choice, local food halls, even restaurants will give you boxes if you approach them during the quiet period. Top tip: Fast food outlets like McDonald's have a huge variety of different sized boxes. If they don't have a size you want, cut them to fit and secure with parcel tape.

Brown paperUse paper that you would otherwise throw away. Keep paper bags around the same thickness as brown paper, from shops like Primark, your local greengrocer and gift shops. Another option is used printer paper. If you no longer need those directions to York or the joke you printed to show your friend, tape a few sheets together and wrap the parcel with these.

Bubble wrap – Bubble wrap can be very expensive. It can be as much as £4 a roll in the Post Office (although my village Post Office sells the same roll for £1.95, so it pays to shop around!). Why not use free alternatives? Plastic supermarket bags are terrible for the environment, so why not get one much use out of them before sending them to landfill. Scrunch them into a ball and package up your item. Newspaper balls also work well, but make sure that the ink cannot damage your items.

Clothes packaging Most people tend to package clothes in those thick plastic bags from the post office, but you can easily make your own from a thick bin liner with a few criss-crosses of parcel tape to prevent rips. Alternatively, wrap it in a bag to waterproof it then send it in a box.

If you often post parcels, make sure you keep any packaging that comes your way. Jiffy bags are incredibly handy for sending small objects (just stick your own label over the original address), even envelopes can be re-used several times!

What other environmentally-friendly packaging solutions do you use? I see it as a bit of a challenge every time I wrap something!!

6 comments:

Attila said...

I save pretty magazine pages and use them to wrap small presents, or to wrap around a bunch of flowers or a plant pot.

Frugal Living UK said...

I always keep the packaging that anything arrives in for use another time. Jiffy bags too, get opened carefully and re-used.

Wean said...

It really isn't that easy to get boxes these days, most of them are instantly flattened by the shop assistants for recycling, you'd think you were asking for the moon judging by their reactions when you ask for a box or two ! most of them say 'no'
I tried the local garden center once and was really embarrased when told to put the boxes back !!
Tesco just leave one sized box at the end of their tills, the best size for packing your shopping of course, but no good for posting smaller items unless you cut them down, I do this a lot and have the blisters on my thumbs to prove it. !
I don't buy bubble wrap - I shred paper - it's free provided you have a shredder of course.

kelley said...

I work in a hospital and the back hallways have stacks of empty boxes on stock day...when friends need boxes I can supply them with any size...so ask your friends if they get boxes where they work...

I hook rugs and end up with oodles of worms (strips of wool) from different projects...when posting packages to my pals I fill the box with worms (that they can use in their rugs)...

I save all the packing material I receive for reuse...

gotthisfar said...

When I buy shoes i ask to keep the box because not only do you get the box, (great for postal packaging), but the thin crepe paper/ rustic recycled packing paper makes great gift-wrap.

I was at a german wedding once, where I thought the way that they "packaged" gifts of money was very sweet and inventive. To just give an envelope on its own, I think is seen as a bit unthoughtful maybe.

For example, a small envelope hidden in a big silly jar of pasta shapes, or in a decorated egg carton, or in an origami bouquet.

Hope that helps!

gotthisfar said...

When I buy shoes i ask to keep the box because not only do you get the box, (great for postal packaging), but the thin crepe paper/ rustic recycled packing paper makes great gift-wrap.

I was at a german wedding once, where I thought the way that they "packaged" gifts of money was very sweet and inventive. To just give an envelope on its own, I think is seen as a bit unthoughtful maybe.

For example, a small envelope hidden in a big silly jar of pasta shapes, or in a decorated egg carton, or in an origami bouquet.

Hope that helps!