You've planned your gift giving, unpacked all your purchases, and stashed them under the bed for wrapping later. All that's left now is to throw the empty boxes and packing material into the wheelie bin.
Except, did you know that you could do so much more with your packaging? As Giftonomy UK moves towards a more and more eco-friendly way of packing orders, hopefully you'll start to see less waste even if you don't follow our handy guide below. We endeavour to use the right size box for your order so you aren't saddled with receiving a box full of air, and the packing peanuts we use are biodegradable and 100% water soluble. If you find other packing materials in your box, they'll be ones we've re-used from our deliveries.
What can I do with the cardboard box?
If you have cats or children, they'll be sad to see you chuck out that box straight away. Cats love exploring cardboard boxes, and kids love climbing into them too! If you don't need to re-use the box for that eBay item you keep meaning to send out, you could turn it over to your little ones to colour in and turn into a house, shop, television, rocket or fairy castle. Small boxes make great doll cots, toy car garages and pretend shopping baskets. With a little imagination, it could be anything!
Turn your cardboard box into a DIY art project - perhaps you could make a trio of hanging photo frames, or Christmas tree decorations. Better yet, poke holes all over a small box, fill with potting soil and use as a biodegradable planter. Our favourite idea is to turn your cardboard boxes into Christmas gift boxes and place them under your tree this year.
What can I do with the packing peanuts?
Our packing peanuts are 100% water soluble and completely biodegradable. In fact, they're also non-toxic, which means you don't need to worry about your pets or children putting them in their mouths. We certainly wouldn't recommend topping your morning cereal with them though!
More serious suggestions include chucking them on your compost heap as they're made from cornstarch as opposed to polystyrene. You can also have artsy fun with them before you compost them. Using water sparingly, wet the ends of the peanuts and stick them to paper to create clouds, fluffy sheep and snowmen. Similarly, you can carefully wet the peanuts and use them to build sculptures.
If your kids are less artsy and more science orientated, why not use the peanuts in a dissolving experiment? You can even turn them into goo for your kids to play with - let them add water and squish the peanuts in their hands until they become slimy and malleable. This can provide hours of entertainment, just make sure you wash it down the sink with plenty of water and get cleaned up afterwards!
What can I do with bubble wrap?
Occasionally, we need to wrap parts of your order in bubble wrap, especially if your package contains any ceramic items. Some places seem to think bubble wrap is recyclable, and some don't, so check with your local collection service before you chuck it in either bin. Whilst the best idea is to roll the bubble wrap up and store it somewhere for use later - perhaps during a house move or sending a gift through the post to a friend - there are more things you could do before you throw it away.
Yes, you guessed it! You could make art with bubble wrap as well. Add it to a range of sensory items for a collage, or dip it in paint and pat the bubbles onto paper to make a colourful circular pattern. We've done this in purple, blue and green to make scales on a mermaid's tail!
Popping bubble wrap can be a great stress reliever too, or a great tool in playing practical jokes. Pop it out of sight when your roommate is least expecting it, or leave it by your partner's side of the bed so when they get up in the morning, the sound of popping will take them by surprise.
Bubble wrap also has insulating properties, even when it has already been popped. Wrap your plant pots to protect them from frost in Winter, or create a simple bubble wrap covering or tent over your plants in the ground to insulate them. You can also use bubble wrap to insulate your frozen food on your way home from the shops in the hotter months.
Whatever you do with your packing materials, recycle and re-use responsibly. We would love to hear your ideas in the comments!