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  • Ditching Plastic: Campfire Treats Goes 100% Biodegradable and Recyclable With Shipping Materials

    by Marko Wittich December 14, 2021 4 min read 0 Comments

    Biodegradable Shipping Materials | Landfill Full of Plastic Waste

    With our growing business, we became increasingly frustrated about the amount of packaging waste we were producing. We’re therefore excited to announce that Campfire Treats has completed the transition to plastic-free, 100% biodegradable and fully recyclable shipping materials.

    Why we oppose the unnecessary use of plastic

    Plastic is incredibly useful and practical. Our modern life depends on it. Everything from cars to medical devices would be impossible without plastic. As useful as plastic is, we use far too much of it and don’t manage plastic waste effectively. Shockingly, less than 10% of all plastic is recycled¹, making it one of the most widespread pollutants on our planet. Plastic waste is polluting our oceans, our land and increasingly entering our food chain in the form of micro and nano particles.²

    Less than 10% of all plastic gets recycled

    We believe that the use of plastic should be strictly limited to areas where no suitable alternatives are available. This simply isn’t the case with most shipping materials. There is no good reason why shipping and packing materials (especially for small, lightweight items like dog treats) should contain plastic, non-biodegradable or non-recyclable materials.

    However, both inside and outside our industry, most companies are still using wasteful plastic (like bubble wrap or plastic sealing tape) out of complacency or ignorance. By doing so, these firms are contributing to the long-term pollution of our planet.

    Every little step counts

    Campfire Treats is only a small player within the $40+ billion U.S. pet food industry, which is dominated by large conglomerates. Still, we are expecting to send around 10,000 deliveries to our customers in 2022.

    This means

    • 10,000 shipping boxes
    • 10,000 sets of cushioning and void fill material (to protect the treats and chews inside the boxes)
    • 10,000 packaging slips (listing the content of the orders)
    • 10,000 address labels
    • Several miles of tape to securely seal the boxes

    We wanted to ensure that absolutely nothing in these shipping materials will contribute to the pollution of our planet. So we methodically revamped our packaging process, gradually replacing individual components with more sustainable alternatives over time.

    The shipping materials we use

    Today, absolutely all shipping materials we use are made of environmentally friendly paper products, and do not contain any plastic or other non-biodegradable or non-recyclable materials.

    Shipping boxes Unbleached corrugated cardboard
    Cushioning and void filling material Kraft and tissue paper
    Packing slips 100% recycled paper
    Tape Kraft tape without reinforcement (made with water-activated, starch-based and biodegradable glue)
    Shipping labels Liners made of 100% recycled paper without silicone coating; recyclable adhesive; label made of uncoated paper


    What you can do

    Reuse, if possible

    Even the most eco-friendly materials require raw materials and energy to be produced in the first place. The more something gets reused, the smaller the impact on the environment. Therefore, please reuse or repurpose the boxes and cushioning materials you receive from us.

    Here are a few ideas for repurposing your packing materials:

    • Recycled paper is great for crafts, both as drawing surface and as a protective layer under messy painting projects.
    • Use recycled paper to catch apple, potato or carrot peels before tossing into the compost (if your local green waste service allows food scraps). You can also line the bottom of your countertop compost pail.
    • Reuse shipping boxes and tissue paper for gifts and shipping out your own packages or returns.

    Recycle, if you can

    If you are living in a part of the country where paper waste is collected for recycling, you can add the shipping materials you receive from us (which you don’t want to reuse) to your recycling bin. This way, the materials will get repurposed into new cardboard and paper products.

    Don’t worry if you can’t reuse or recycle

    In case you are living in an area where paper is not collected for recycling, or you have difficulty getting your shipping material to a collection point, please don’t feel bad. Our 100% plastic-free shipping materials will fully decompose – whether they end up in an industrial composting facility, a landfill or are accidentally thrown away outdoors.

    Hold other vendors accountable, please

    Nothing in our transition to environmentally friendly shipping materials demanded the skillset of a rocket scientist. All that was required on our side was the awareness that we generated unnecessary waste and the willingness to change to sustainable materials.

    • Our new shipping materials are no compromise. Their cushioning and product protection characteristics are outstanding.
    • All the materials and equipment we use to pack the shipping boxes are commercially available.
    • Environmentally friendly packaging materials are not more expensive than the materials polluting our nature.

    If we, as a small family business, can make this change happen, every other company can do so as well. Please reach out to the businesses you order from and ask them to transition to plastic-free, biodegradable and recyclable packaging materials, too.

    What’s next?

    We've identified several other areas where we can do better and are fully committed to further reduce the use of plastics and to increase the use of biodegradable and recyclable materials.