Poly mailers vs Boxes - Which Is Better For The Environment? - Darn Good Yarn

Poly mailers vs Boxes - Which Is Better For The Environment?

Written by Kate Curry

Every aspect of Darn Good Yarn is thoughtfully sourced, from our yarn down to how we pack our orders. We are always on the search for the best option for our community and for the planet. For years, we've been shipping our orders out in cardboard boxes. At the time, we thought it was the best option for us - colorful boxes that can be recycled? Sounds perfect for DGY! As we grew and learned a bit more about shipping options, we've found a better option that fits our ethos: 

Poly mailers!

A purple DGY polymailer, ready to be shipped out!
All of our orders are packed by hand

If you're never been a part of a warehouse crew or a mail carrier, you may have never heard of a poly mailers. Poly mailers are thin plastic bags that are used to ship orders. You might have gotten one of our super cute purple bags recently! They're the better option than boxes for so many reasons!

When we order our shipping materials, we pay attention to how we source them. When we order our poly mailers we can get a few thousand of them in a few small boxes which can be delivered by our friendly neighborhood mail carrier. For carboard boxes, they have to be shipped in large bulky pallets and need to be delivered by large shipping trucks. This means that it costs more and is worse for the environment to order cardboard pallets.

A pallet of green unfolded boxes are stacked up high on metal shelving
Pallets like this one can hold up to 1,000 boxes!

Another positive of polys are how easy they are to pack! This makes packing your order easier on our warehouse team and means that more orders can be packed every day. Every order at DGY is picked and packed by hand, so simple and easy packaging makes for a happier planet and a happier warehouse crew.

Our carriers come during the afternoons everyday to pick up the packages. These orders are given to our carriers in large containers called gaylords. Polys take up less space than bulky boxes, so we can fix more orders into a single gaylord. With packing time cut down and more polys in each gaylord, that means that your order is going to be processed and shipped out to you faster!

Looking inside a gaylord, piles of boxes and polymailers are ready to be shipped out to the carrier
We ship orders out daily!

Once your order is shipped, the poly will better protect your product from the elements. They are weatherproof, meaning you won't be getting soggy yarn or damp skirts in case your order gets rained or snowed on. There's also more security with using polys. No one will be able to open your order without you knowing, you'd see the tear in the bag. Whereas, with cardboard boxes anyone can open and re-tape it with you being none the wiser.

The last leg of the lifecycle is always the most important. These pretty purple bags are bio-degradable and are more eco-friendly than boxes. Boxes are recyclable, but they take more energy to create and more materials to produce. The polys are thin and can be recycled or biodegrade more quickly than a box.

A close up of a DGY polymailer. It says 'Oxo-Biodegradeable'
Being earth friendly is one of our top priorities

 One small change can mean all the difference for the planet. For our Yarn of the Month Club, we used to ship out about 4,000 boxes of yarn each month. That means 4,000 cardboard boxes have to be ordered, built, packed, and shipped. This takes a lot of energy, hours, and space. Using 4,000 poly mailers instead cuts that time down and makes our subscription faster and more Earth-friendly! 

Let us know how much you love to find one of our purple pouches outside your door!

Meet the Author

Profile picture of the author, Kate Curry, wearing a dark red Nanda Poncho sitting on concrete stairs in front of brick wall.

Kate has been on the Darn Good Yarn team since 2018.

They have their degree in Creative Art Therapy & Psychology - and like crafting and animals a little too much.