Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Great Egg Carton Debate

A few days ago, I was shipping a breakable ceramic urn and used some Styrofoam egg cartons as packaging instead of packing peanuts. I took a photo and posted it in my Facebook group sharing the  creative packing technique with the statement, "Save egg cartons - great for packing breakables and less messy than Styrofoam peanuts." The intent here was to show others that egg cartons are a free, effective, and handy alternative to packing peanuts. Most everybody uses eggs, so this is a great way to recycle something in a useful way as well as save money on shipping supplies.

Now, this technique is a far cry from using soiled pizza boxes or flimsy cereal boxes for packaging. In the past I have cringed at some photos of recycled packaging that could have been bacteria-laden or just too flimsy to use as a shipping box. (Like in this article.)

I should have been more specific and stated that the egg cartons were clean and I assumed people understood the cartons were empty. But, as on many Facebook discussions, things took an interesting turn.

The photo received 511 likes and 90% of the comments were in favor of this packing technique.

There were 2 camps on this discussion:

Recyclers / green enthusiasts who thought the technique was a clever use of available in-home packaging.

The allergy advocates who claimed that putting egg cartons in a package could cause a person with egg allergies to have a severe reaction - that "egg allergies can be so severe that even residue of the shell can cause anaphalactic shock." (I have not verified this statement.)

The issue is, " If sensitivities are that extreme, and such great caution must be taken to exist in the world in general, I can't imagine someone buying items off the Internet from at-home sellers not knowing what the item has come in contact with. Any number of things could have been near the product and could result in a negative reaction."

So the burning question is, should eBay sellers use egg cartons as packaging?

Read the discussion here.

Related Articles:

eBay Seller Fail - Don't Misuse USPS Supplies

Pros and Cons of the eBay Global Shipping Program

How to Ship a Coffee Mug Sold on eBay
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