Sending food items through the mail is an ideal way to treat a loved one with an extra special gift. When putting together a thoughtful food package, don’t forget to consider the packing material. Green-friendly packaging items are gentle on the environment as well as a non-toxic alternative for food items. Look for eco friendly packing materials at your local packing stores, specialty shops or via the internet.

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Recycled Containers

Sending a food parcel to a friend usually requires some sort of basket, box or tin to hold the food items in. When choosing a container for packaging, look for recycled products. Recycled paper bags are made of recycled paper products, including newspaper and old grocery bags. These recycled bags come in all shapes and sizes and can even be printed on, if you’re shipping food for commercial purposes. Also, foods can be wrapped in recycled tissue paper then placed in the bag, adding an extra decorative touch.

Compostable Food Packaging

Compostable food packaging is a new brand of packaging that is biodegradable. These pieces are usually a tan color and are made of plant fiber, sugar cane, cornstarch and other recycled parts. These packaging products include take out containers and packing supplies, with bowls, plates, cups and a multitude of other options available. The beauty of compostable food packaging is it can be thrown out, recycled or placed in a compost bin when finished. If placed in a compost bin, the material will biodegrade and turn into beneficial soil nutrients for your garden.

Find compostable food packaging at specialty stores, restaurant depots or online. Just run a basic internet search using the key terms “compostable food packaging,” and a number of responses should turn up.

Recycled Boxes

Once you’ve got the food parcel bundled together, you’ll need an eco friendly box to send the item off. Consider using recycled boxes to add one more green touch to the packing process. Recycled boxes are made entirely from consumer recycled products, like newspaper, plastics, old bags and even old cardboard packing boxes. These recycled boxes are often corrugated just like traditional packing boxes and hold up against even the farthest of recipient addresses. The boxes come in a myriad of sizes, for even more convenience. Look for these boxes at your local packing store or purchase your own online.

Filler Material

It’s a good idea to place some filler material around the packaged food item once it’s placed in the packing box. This will keep the food item from jostling around in the box and getting ruined. Even here, it’s possible to think green. Use recycled shredded paper or recycled tissue paper from specialty stores. You can even use recycled newspaper balled up to create filler material. The important issue here is to skip using Styrofoam peanuts, which have long been a traditional filler material for packaging. These peanuts are a hazard to the ecosystem, and using recycled filler instead goes a long way to helping the environment.

Recycled Gift Wrap

If the food parcel is meant to be a holiday or birthday gift, use some recycled gift wrap to finish the package off. You can find recycled gift wrap, which is made of recycled paper products, at specialty stores and gift stores. Just check the label to be sure. Use the recycled gift wrap to wrap the outside of the cardboard box you’ve packaged the food parcel in, if it’s not being sent through the mail. If the item is shipping through the mail, wrap the food parcel itself in the gift wrap, then package it inside the main box.

Whatever packing material you choose, make sure it's the appropriate size and fit for your food parcel. This will ensure the item arrives all in one piece at its final destination. And remember, a thoughtful note to the recipient acts as a perfect final touch, especially if it's written on a recycled notecard.