Plastics are constantly invading our oceans. Ecosystems and water sources are disrupted by the mass consumption of plastics that never leave this earth. Millions of pounds are also sitting in landfills. To ensure a brighter future for society and the earth, activists are finding solutions to give plastics new life in being reused. What if we could prevent needing to use plastics in the first place?
Alongside the tremendous work of a circular economy, there are initiatives that offer plastic alternatives and substitutes to prevent the addition of more plastic to manage. Avoiding plastic use is related to zero-waste, and this initiative is opening a new chance to continue the service-waste mindset in businesses. Typically, zero-waste is connected to personal care products or house items. For businesses, this initiative created a way to make shipping goods part of the zero-waste, non-plastic experience.
In this series, called ALL Ways, we’ll grow to know social enterprises by their charming points. We say “charming” to refer to branding and approaches that help us see another way to manage social entrepreneurship. We’ll also suggest ways to interact or use these charming points in our own involvements with social enterprise (personally and professionally).
This post is an outside observation of a company for inspiration in social enterprise interaction and engagement.
In today’s post, we look into the stylishly sustainable Hero Packaging carrying goods across the world. Hero Packaging is a company producing compostable shipping material to businesses wanting to add or maintain sustainable values.
Knowing the Company: Hero Packaging
Hero Packaging is Australia’s compostable mailers that reduce the need for plastic to ship goods. Instead of adding to the overwhelming amount of plastic already present in the environment, this initiative built an alternative solution that is easy for both businesses and consumers.
Hero Packaging offers two main options for the compostable mailers, which the company named HEROPACKs (shipping bags) or HEROBUBBLEs (padded shipping bags). These mailers are put together from plant-based materials, including PLA and a certified compostable material called PBAT. According to Hero Packaging, the names for these plant-based mailing materials are “some seriously fancy ways of saying corn starch and bonding agents.”
Consumers receiving goods from businesses using Hero Packaging can compost the mailers at home, or they also have an option to send the mailers to their local composting facilities. Mailers need to be properly broken down and composted for the full benefits of the social impact.
What Surprised Us
If you’re not new to composting at home you may know this, but for those who don’t: compostable materials aren’t meant for recycling bins. Hero Packaging states this fact on their How it Works page to prevent any of the mailers from being misplaced:
“Once the mailer has been used up, the last person to receive it can cut it up and put it in their home-compost bin (note, these can’t be placed in the recycling bin).”
In reality, there are quite a few special care instructions to make sure of the proper use and social impact of the initiative’s goods. Luckily, Hero Packaging walks people through the steps by providing the information beforehand, which helps everyone know what they are getting into. For example, on the official site, you can find information on the packaging’s shelf life or how the mailers are water-resistant but can break down if placed in water for a long period of time. Honestly, these traits could be seen as a positive or a setback. The important part is that if you know the information, you can choose how to manage these traits about the mailers.
Another very critical tidbit about the mailers is related to what happens when the packaging is not properly composted. It’s not critical to the point that it defeats the purpose of their sustainable packaging, but it does change the timeframe of the impact. On the FAQs page, the initiative mentions what happens if the mailers end up in the trash and go on o a landfill:
“Our products take about 2 years rather than 90 days to break down in landfill. In contrast, traditional plastic shipping mailers take 400 years or more to break down, and still release deadly methane gas into the atmosphere.”
As you can see, they reassure people that even if the mailers end in a landfill, that scenario would be preferable to the damage of plastics.
Perhaps, the only tidbit that people are absolutely excited to see is that Hero Packaging offers store credit called Hero Points. The more that businesses incorporate the initiative’s sustainable packaging into shipping goods, the more store credit the businesses can gain, which is more money saved.
What is the benefit for good
Hero Packaging is empowering companies to transition their shipping goods process into another sustainable aspect of the business. Informational tidbits provided by the company allow people to get the most out of the mailers, helps people receive the full benefits of the social impact and educates people on sustainable tools and approaches. Similar to a previous example, here is the tidbit Hero Packaging gives on their FAQs page about the difference between biodegradable and compostable products:
“In short, a biodegradable product simply breaks down into smaller micro-plastics which still contaminate the environment. Certified home-compostable products break down as if they were never there, and can also be safely eaten by worms. Therefore, a compostable product is always more preferable over a biodegradable product.”
With the mailers themselves, not only is the packaging reducing the amount of landfill-bound plastic, but they also act as fertilizer for gardens (home gardens, or possibly community gardens). Hero Packaging is creating an impact by providing a solution and educating the stakeholders on the most efficient way to interact with the solution.
We like to encourage actively participating with positive initiatives. Each person making their own choice to participate adds up! Whether you engage for fun, inspiration, or expression, here are our suggestions for engaging this initiative:
- Suggest Hero Packaging as an option for your favorite businesses and social entrepreneurs.
- Start your own small business using Hero Packaging mailers.
- Review your social enterprise and brainstorm the informational tidbits that can help your stakeholders engage with your initiative’s solution more efficiently.
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