The Uncommon Life

Bursting the Bubble: Why We’re Ditching Inflated Plastic Packing Material

August 8, 2017

There are a lot of businesses that solely focus on profit… but we’re not one of them. Of course, we do need to make a profit to succeed as a business. But it’s also important to us that in everything we do, we use our business as a force for good. That means having a positive impact on people and our planet–and continuing to make the changes that will help us do more good. 

Thanks to your feedback and our partners at Emerald Brand, a company specializing in revolutionary eco-friendly products, we are officially ditching inflated plastic packing material. While those little air-filled plastic bubbles might be fun to pop, they’re not exactly environmentally friendly. We’re excited to announce that your goods will now be shipped using Emerald Brand paper-based packing material made with 80 percent post-consumer fibers, which is not only recyclable, but also compostable. 

According to Shao Li, a director of operations here at UncommonGoods, consumer demand for environmentally friendly initiatives are on the rise. “Emerald’s eco-friendly and cost effective solutions in the packaging category, [which use] recycled and compostable substances, provide UncommonGoods with a greener, healthier, plastic-free packaging solution,” he said.

We’ve been looking forward to this change for quite a while. On account of testing, data collecting, and final decision making, this transition has been nearly two years in the making. During this time, we monitored outgoing shipments packed with paper to ensure that our goods traveled from Brooklyn to your home in one piece. We also kept an eye on the health and safety within our own warehouse. Unlike other environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic, this packaging doesn’t compromise our warehouse team’s health through the use of dangerous blades or by putting an unhealthy amount of cardboard dust in the air. 


By improving our packaging, we’re Building for the Long-Term and using our business as a Force for Good, two of our Guiding Principles. Learn more about our company values here.

Thanks to the new material, we don’t have to choose between customer satisfaction, team member well-being, or what’s best for the planet, explained Sean Cullen, who leads UncommonGoods’ Sustainability Steering Committee: “After years of searching for a suitable alternative to plastic bubble, we are excited that this shipment packaging is a win-win-win situation.”

E-commerce is expected to create the strongest demand for protective packaging in the next five years. While we know there’s still work to do, we’re excited for a solution that is less taxing on the planet. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what a year without the plastic stuff will look like, according to our 2017 Annual Emerald Environmental Impact Statement:

Sources: US Energy Information Administration, US Environmental Protection Agency, and USGS Water Science School

Are you as excited about this new packaging as we are? Do you have other ideas on how our business can be a force for good? Your feedback helped us make this change and we want to hear your suggestions. Please reach out to us at

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  • Reply Rosanna August 9, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    We are so excited to have you as a partner!! Congratulations on ditching the plastic!! It is so nice to see that major retail companies like UncommonGoods are listening to their consumers and adopting more sustainable initiatives when it comes to packing materials.

  • Reply Bob August 17, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    How does switching to a paper based solution save water vs. plastic? Water consumption is one of the major concerns with paper manufacturing and recycling – not one of the concerns with plastic packaging, that I am aware of.

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