What is Packshare?
Packshare is a new way of thinking about packaging.
With the rise of online shopping and mailorder, thousands of UK businesses are shipping products every day. These products need to be packaged to keep them safe, but as soon as they arrive at their destination – whether that’s another business or a consumer – the packaging is waste.
The result is that in every town in the UK, some businesses are buying in brand new packaging materials whilst others are paying to have the same materials taken away, and yet more households are putting their cardboard, jiffy bags and bubble wrap in their recycling and rubbish bins, while their next-door neighbours are selling things on eBay and having to buy the same materials in.
At Packshare we think that’s stupid. It’s bad business, it’s bad for the environment, and it’s ultimately depressing to think that we could sort it out if only we knew who needed what.
Packshare is a huge, searchable database of businesses around the UK who can reuse packaging. There’s a wide range of businesses, from independent high street shops, distributors, record labels, galleries, artists and craftspeople, Etsy stores, folksy sellers, eBayers, and online-only shops. This amazing community of businesses are actively reusing waste packaging from their local communities, and changing the way that the world thinks about packaging.
Registering your business is as easy as telling us who you are and what packaging you can use, and to donate packaging you just search by your postcode and what you have.
If you want to find out more about the ethos of Packshare, who we are and why we do what we do, take a look at our blog.
I’ve got packaging that I want to donate. What do I do?
You’ve come to the right place!
1. Enter your postcode and select the type of packaging you have on our Give Packaging page. Packshare will show you the closest businesses to you who are signed up to reuse it.
2. Select the business of your choice to find out more about them, where they are, what they do, and when they’re open.
3. Take your packaging down to them. Don’t be shy – they’ve signed up to Packshare because they want what you’ve got. It saves them money, its good for the environment and they’ll be pleased to see you.
If you want to find out more about some of the businesses that are signed up, check out our blog.
There are no businesses signed up near me. What can I do?
The great news is that you only need one business in your area to sign up to start a buzz about Packshare. If you know a business who you think could benefit, tell them about us. You know your local businesses better than we ever will, and although we’re constantly promoting Packshare, we rely on people like you to spread the word in your communities.
As well as face to face, we really appreciate any sharing on social media. You can use the links below to let people know about Packshare.
Posting about Packshare on your local zero waste/plastic free/sustainability Facebook groups helps to get like-minded people thinking and talking about Packshare, which also helps spread the word.
You can find some pre-made social media assets on our public Google drive.
You can also drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us on social media, we’re always happy to make contact with businesses on your behalf.
Have you heard about Packshare.org? You can find local businesses to reuse your waste mail-order packaging! https://youtu.be/u94dWxTPMxATweet
Do I have to pay to register my business on Packshare?
No, we want to make Packshare accessible for everyone, regardless of how small your business is.
We believe that small businesses give our towns character, and stop everywhere from becoming boring and homogenised. Using Packshare helps small businesses to be more competitive by working together, and creates a new way that your community can support the local businesses that they love.
However, Packshare should save your business money and if you think it’s a great idea and you want to support us, we welcome donations which we use to spread the word and develop the website. If you’re able to donate £1 or £2 a month, or make a one off donation, it would mean the world to us and help us keep doing what we’re doing.
I live outside the UK, can I use Packshare?
Currently Packshare is only available in the UK, but we’ve got big plans for the future.
For now, sign up to our mailing list and follow us on social media to keep track of what we’re doing, and one day we’ll be operating worldwide.
Eventually we think that every small business in the world will sign up to Packshare and share packaging as a matter of course.
If you’re interested in recreating Packshare in your own country, or if you’d like to use Packshare as a model for sharing other resources we’d love to hear from you.
My business has lots of packaging waste. Can I list what we have so people know they can collect it?
Yes you can! Just sign up your business as normal, and list the packaging you have in the relevant box.
People will be able to search Packshare by their postcode and find whatever it is you have.
Can I sign up to receive packaging even if I’m not a business?
Yes! Packshare is for everyone, with any packaging needs.
Whether you need boxes for a house move, tissue paper for an art project or bubble wrap for the stress relief of popping the bubbles you can sign up. Once you’ve received everything you need you can just log back in and change your preferences.
In 2019 we entered a local raft race with a raft built entirely from packaging that we sourced through Packshare. Read about it on our blog.
I can’t find the packaging that I have on Packshare. What can I do?
Let us know! We want Packshare to work for everyone, so if you’ve got packaging that you think is reusable we’re happy to talk about adding it to Packshare. Lets be honest, whatever it is that you’ve got, you’re probably not alone.
Something that we don’t list is moulded polystyrene – the kind of polystyrene that TVs and other electrical goods are often packaged in. Although this stuff is great to keep your brand new product safe, it’s inherently single use because it’s been moulded to fit a specific product and we think that it’s unacceptable when there’s other materials that can be used to do the same job.
If you’ve got some moulded polystyrene that you don’t want, we always recommend taking it back to where you got it from, and asking them to consider using something else in the future. We’ve seen how powerful this can be with food packaging in supermarkets, and telling distributors what we want is a great tool to change how they do business.
We think moulded cardboard or packing peanuts are a much better alternative. Cardboard is at least much easier to recycle or compost, and corn-starch or polystyrene packing peanuts can be reused again and again.
How does it work?
- What do you do with your waste packaging?
- Do you pay to have it taken away?
- Why not give it to a local business who can reuse it?