Lately I have been mailing a lot of parcels as I have been selling things on Trademe or sending birthday presents. I quickly realised it can be really confusing and sometimes costly if you are trying to post something with your own packaging. I used to use the NZ Post bags, however these are plastic & often get tossed straight in the bin afterwards! So what can we do to minimise the amount of plastic used in mail?
I have been posting parcels wrapped in wax paper & recycled brown paper bags, and taped using a plastic free tape, either the fancy clear tape pictured or standard paper tape. You need to be careful with this option as sometimes it can be more expensive than the pre-paid bags (??!) but usually it is significantly cheaper. Also one time the postal cashier tried to sell me a pre-paid bag to put my already brown paper bagged package in!
Present (chocolate) wrapped in an old brochure and brown paper
Plastic Free tape ($7)
During Plastic Free July I received a package in one of these postal bags. I opened it carefully and put it aside to re-use. I took the re-used postage bag confidently to the counter to pay for the postage:
Me- I'd like to pay for postage please
Cashier- Um... is that a re-used postal bag??
Cashier- *silence and typing* ... Uh... next time turn the bag inside out so it's not confusing..
Me- Ok that makes sense
Cashier- That will be $2.70.... At least you are reducing the amount of rubbish...
Me- *ding ding ding!* Yes that's it! This is a single use item and it does not need to be plastic!
Success! My re-using of the postage bag got the postal worker thinking about the wastefulness of these bags.
The bags are a plastic 4 and can be recycled- but this should always be the last step.