Let’s banish styrofoam!

One of my big goals in recent times is to lead the way in making our production processes and materials as environmentally friendly as possible.

Whilst snow globes themselves are made from resin and glass, the packaging they are shipped in is just as important, because they’re so fragile.

Traditional Styrofoam – an awfully toxic product for the environment.

Until recently, the main method of protecting snow globes during shipping was traditional styrofoam, a very lightweight and insulating material that does a great job in protecting each and every globe during shipping. It’s relatively inexpensive and most snow globes have been packed in this material for many years.

However, styrofoam is literally one of the very worst polluting products – it’s not recyclable and it doesn’t break down. What’s more, styrofoam in landfill releases methane gases that have over 20 times the ozone destroying potency as CO2. And if that wasn’t enough to convince you that styrofoam is evil, Styrene (a component of polystyrene) is a harmful chemical that can leech into food and drink. Styrene is classified as a carcinogen to humans according to the National Research Council. In 1986, a study by the EPA detected Styrene in 100% of human tissue and breast milk samples.

This was the very first and most urgent issue for me to target when thinking about how I could take more responsibility for my impact on the world. Together with my factory we researched several options, keeping in mind how much protection each snow globe needs. The product we found is a relatively new material called “Pearl Cotton” foam.

Pearl Cotton – recyclable protective foam

Expandable Polyethylene, also known as pearl cotton, is a high foam product composed of numerous independent bubbles. These are produced by physical foaming of a low-density polyethylene grease. Pearl Cotton has many advantages over traditional fragile styrofoam, such as being waterproof and shockproof in addition to the fact that it is completely recyclable and environmentally friendly. It’s also a much more sturdy material than traditional styrofoam and doesn’t leave little white bits everywhere on unpacking!

Traditional styrofoam (top) in comparison to Pearl Cotton (bottom). Well, actually, there’s no comparison at all is there!

Commencing with 50% of our 2019 projects and expanding to use with all projects from January 2020 onwards, Queen Of Snow Globes has elected to use Pearl Cotton for all projects, at no additional cost to clients from now on.

We have also elected to increase the outer carton thickness for all shipments as an added protective mechanism during shipping. This is also offered by default with all projects, at no additional cost to clients.

I’m extremely passionate about taking responsibility for how I impact on the world around me, and this is a small way I can improve what we do and how we treat the earth and its resources. In 2020 it’s my goal to research and fund other ways to reduce the impact we have on the earth and climate.

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