Proto-Pic Packaging - What is it made of?
At Proto-Pic we aim to promote environmentally conscious design!
Recently we've had quite a few people reach out to express concern about the environmental impact of the plastic boxes we use as packaging. Hopefully this blog will clear up some eco-myths around plastic and motivate you not to throw our packaging in the bin with some of the cool possibilities for them you'll read about below.
The three R's - reduce, reuse, recycle - is a good slogan to go by to live more sustainably. You should aim to reduce the amount of waste you generate, reuse items before buying replacements and recycle as much as possible. While we ultimately can't control what you do with our packaging we would like to encourage you to take your time and see what options are available to you before you decide what to do with our boxes.
Plastic vs Paper - Not so simple
When we think about recent environmentally friendly changes by society, a lot of these have to do with single use plastic packaging - plastic straws, carrier bags and other packaging is being replaced with alternative materials while some businesses are creating initiatives to reuse containers. However, the impact that this has is not as simple as plastic bad - paper good. Some paper and cardboard require up to four times more energy to produce as well as causing water pollution problems and being less durable.
This isn't to say that the move towards paper is bad but rather that the issue of plastic vs paper packaging has some nuance to it and is not always simple. The worst culprits are single use plastics and consumer culture which contribute to ever growing landfills and waste. We aim to tackle this challenge by promoting the reuse of our packaging as we believe this to be an effective method to contribute towards a greener society. It is also important to note that not all applications are the same and when considering shipping, plastic packaging is noticeably lighter and more compact than cardboard meaning it requires less trips and less energy to ship items packed using plastic.
Re-Use to Reduce
The main assets we want to promote are the versatility and durability of the plastic boxes we ship our products in. They can be cut to size, drilled and filed easily to make them suitable for a range of applications. They have good strength and stiffness and one of our favourite uses for them is as a housing for an electronics projects. On the right you can see how we shaped a container to be a housing for an audio controller project that we made. They can easily be cut using even just a simple handsaw as well as a manner of other tools.
They are also great to be used as, well, a box - radical new idea I know. You can use them to store your cool new components that you just bought from Proto-Pic letting you save money you might have had to spend on buying separate storage containers otherwise. It is also possible to use re-use them exactly as we do to ship things to friends and family or to safely returned unwanted items.
By reusing the container that you receive your components in you can reduce the amount of waste being produced and this is better than simply recycling a carboard one. We also love to see what cool ideas you come up with on Twitter or Instagram - simply tag us in your post showing off your design!
The plastic used to make the shipping box is polypropylene which is 100% recyclable. It can be turned into useful items like bottle caps, battery containers, medical components and loads more! While we want to really highlight the versatility of the boxes as they are we do feel it is important to encourage you to recycle them should you choose to throw them away rather than reuse.