Learn how you can do your part for the environment by effectively recycling or reusing the packaging that Koala products are delivered in.
How to recycle and repurpose your Koala product packaging
In recent years, brands, businesses and individuals have placed a greater focus on sustainability and recycling, with a specific focus on plastic. Armed with the knowledge of how long plastic takes to break down in landfill (hint: a really, really long time), we’re constantly on the lookout for new ways to take responsibility for waste products, finding innovative and unusual methods to recycle or otherwise repurpose plastic.
What packaging do we use at Koala and what can you do with them afterwards?
If you’ve purchased a Koala product recently you’ll know first hand how we package our furniture to ensure that it arrives safely and in perfect condition.
The materials we use are:
- Cardboard – sturdy and completely recyclable, cardboard makes up for the bulk of our packaging to transport each product.
- Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE) – better known as ‘soft plastic’, LDPE is the wrapping that keeps your mattress airtight and compact, and your furniture fresh and free of dust whilst in transit.
- Silica Gel Packets – these are the little packets that you would’ve seen in a variety of other products like vitamin bottles and shoeboxes. Silica Gel packets absorb moisture and ensure that your furniture stays dry and free from mould when transported.
- Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) – EPS are the thin, foam sheets that are more often used in packaging furniture like couches and armchairs to add extra padding to the product whilst in transit and help avoid damaging the items as you’re unpacking.
The cardboard we use for our product packaging is 100% recyclable, without any wax or plastic coatings. This means you can fold it up and put it in your paper bin for regular collection – make sure to remove any staples or glue first though. Alternatively, keep your Koala furniture boxes stashed away for the next time you or a mate moves house.
Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE)
This material is crucial to the compact packaging we employ for our products, making it faster and more efficient for us to get your furniture delivered to your doorstep. LDPE can be identified by the number 4 inside the recycling symbol, located at various points on the plastic.
Some councils allow LDPE to go in their plastics recycling bin but please note that the majority of Australian councils do not allow this. Fortunately, with the help of REDcycle it’s becoming even easier to access recycling locations for LDPE.
REDcycle is a recycling organisation that has developed and implemented a recovery initiative for post-consumer soft plastic, including LDPE. They’ve partnered with Coles and Woolworths to ensure that there’s a soft-plastic deposit bin at every store nationwide. So make sure you remember to take the LDPE packaging from your Koala product with you (along with your reusable shopping bag) when you next go to the shops.
Silica Gel Packets
Silica Gel Packets are useful in our packaging due to their moisture-absorbing quality, ensuring your product stays dry and mold-free in transit.
What you may not realise though, is that there are a myriad of ways to reuse these packets in your own personal habitat:
- Store them in your closet in leather goods such as coats and shoes, and even handbags, to help your belongings survive life in storage.
- Store them in camera bags and with film. Silica gel will absorb moisture to keep your lens from fogging or streaking, especially after you’ve been snapping photos in cold or wet conditions.
- Leave a couple packs in your tool box to prevent rusting.
- Keep some in window sills at home and a few in your car, especially on your dashboard. This will help maintain clear windows and leave it less foggy during times of high humidity.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)
EPS is a form of styrofoam that’s thin, durable, lightweight and effective as a cushioning material for products in transit. Similar to LDPE, EPS can’t be disposed of with your everyday kerbside plastics bin. Instead, there are a number of facilities around Australia dedicated to recycling EPS – find your nearest EPS recycler here.
We understand that sourcing a specific recycling location to dispose of the EPS used in Koala product packaging isn’t always convenient or in some cases, possible, so we’ve collated a list of ways that you can repurpose EPS around the home:
- Insulate beer and wine bottles – No stubby holder? No worries. EPS is an excellent insulator so wrap your beverage in a couple layers of the white foam and you’ll keep your beer (but not your hand) frosty.
- Drainage for potted plants – tear up the white foam and place it in the bottom of your pot plant before adding the soil. The space that the EPS provides at the bottom of the pot plant allows water to freely drain out the bottom, avoiding moldy soil and rotting roots.
- Pillow stuffing – try your hand at crafting some couch cushions, EPS foam makes for a great alternative to regular pillow stuffing. Although if you’re looking at your old bed pillows thinking that they could use a makeover, we’d recommend you try these instead.
- Fix sliding carpets – if your rug slides all over the place when you tread on it, cut out a sheet of the white packing foam the same size and place it between the rug and the floor. This will stop it sliding around and give a little extra cushioning for your feet.
- Save it for packing – that’s what it’s made for, right? Save the foam for the next time that you move house. The foam is great for wrapping plates and glassware so they don’t break in transit.
I’ve just bought a Koala mattress, what do I do with my old one?
We’re glad you asked! In selected areas of Sydney and Melbourne we’ve partnered with Soft Landing, a mattress recycling social enterprise, to remove and recycle your old mattress for FREE. They will also collect the packaging from your new Koala mattress for recycling if you let them know when booking your mattress pick-up.