Reducing packaging waste is a strong trend among cubicle manufacturers. Reusing shipping pallets is a long standing practice. So is incorporating pre and post-consumer recycled materials into packing components. Unloading products at their destination and reclaiming the boxes is a somewhat newer concept. However, Steelcase has recently taken the game to a whole new level with a biodegradable packaging material. The manufacturer is now using a Styrofoam substitute comprised of cottonseed and buckwheat hulls held together in a mushroom root matrix.
These “peanuts” were developed by a company called Ecovative Design. Not only do these packing peanuts degrade within 4-6 weeks when placed in the soil, they require 85% less energy to produce since the ingredients are natural agriculture byproducts. These organic packing materials are sterilized to make sure they don’t ‘mushroom’ out of control once they are put to use.