As someone who does a lot of online commerce, non-sustainable packaging is one of the things that causes pain on both sides. Consumers would want their packages secure but also not have so much plastic packaging used. Sellers want to bring the best protection for the items to be delivered but are sometimes required to use plastic, particularly bubble wrap. If there were more sustainable but protective options out there, it would be a much better place for e-commerce and the world in general.
A startup from Estonia has come up with an alternative to bubble wrap which is sustainable and also saves a material that usually goes to waste. According to their research, 90% of the European sheep wool remains unused since it is too coarse to be used for yarn. Despite its coarseness, it is still useful for things other than what the textile industry currently needs. They were able to pair this waste wool with paper and create protective packaging that doesn’t use plastic.
They created some alternatives to the usual product packaging that we use to protect items. For example, the wool-padded mail envelopes can be used for documents, mailers, and other small items that can fit into these envelopes that need to be secured. They also created protective sleeves for glass bottles like for wine, water, and other bottled items that need a bit of cushioning. The top part is exposed though so we can’t say it’s fully protected.
The most crucial item they were able to create from this discarded wool is the Bubble Wool, an alternative to the ever-present but oh-so-unsustainable bubble wrap. They say that this will be able to protect items from being scratched and from breaking as effectively as the normal bubble wrap does. It comes in 100 cm x 130 cm sheets and is also water-repellant. More importantly, it is reusable and biodegradable so you really get sustainable protective packaging.