Friday, September 25, 2009

The Best Way to Recycle Packing Peanuts

Having recently moved from the West Coast and only just now completing my unpacking, it's been common to find my apartment as a mess of ripped-apart packing materials. Given the green guilt I feel triggered by stimuli as abstract as Moby, and my general quest to be more responsible about my own small stewardship of my community, it was hard to contemplate merely putting all this useful stuff out on the curb. Not moreover, but as an aside, it wasn't really convenient to do that either, since trash pickup is just once a week and leaving it out there any longer than a few of the late hours of Thursday night makes the neighborhood messy and I'm all about the appearance of high property value these days.

It occurred to me then that the very people who'd brought me this shit might still be interested in it. So I called the local UPS Store around the corner from my apartment and asked them how they felt about used cardboard boxes and packing peanuts.

They said they were thrilled about those things and would gratefully accept any leftovers I had to drop off. Done. After schlepping it all over, I quizzed the typically-hipster UPS clerk at the store about how many people do this very thing and he said 'a lot... we reuse it, it generally works out.'

And I've got say I see that. I got the convenience and the green self-image support I needed and UPS got packing perfectly usable packing materials gratis. So it also made me wonder why UPS isn't more active about promoting this virtuous readiness to accept and recycle used packing materials. It's clearly green and also convenient when you've got a lot of this material on your hands, plus writ large it isn't too hard to imagine this could do good things for UPS' bottom line.

And I supposed you could do the same at FedEx, or the US Postal Service, where I am not in product management or marketing, but maybe should be.

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