Over at Housefish, a great eco-friendly furniture store (FSC-certified wood, nontoxic varnishes, and are key points), the owner, Scott Bennett, ran up against this very problem; how did he ship his gorgeous furniture without marring it a bit (taking into consideration the vicissitudes of the major US shippers) AND maintain his eco-cred? He wrote, “Petroleum based foam is extremely hard to avoid. We really didn’t want to use any plastics anywhere in this product, but there are very few suitable alternatives to EPS (commonly known as Styrofoam) for heavy objects like furniture.” But with a little digging and a few months’ worth of research, Scott found a solution (what I like to call a happy eco-ending!).
“We are very pleased to announce we have just completed our switch to 100% paper-based internal packaging materials. Any Key modular storage orders shipped after today will be completely free of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS, e.g. Styrofoam) and Polyethylene (PE, e.g. foam wrap).They have been replaced by Hexacomb kraft paper honeycomb, and cellulose wadding (which is a bit like extra thick toilet paper). Both products are made from 100% recycled fiber, and are themselves recyclable with your normal household paper or cardboard.”