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Composting Christmas

This morning, Amazon made me very happy by announcing, Amazon's Frustration-Free Packaging. In their own words, they are "working with leading manufacturers to deliver products inside smaller easy-to-open recyclable cardboard boxes with less packaging material (and no frustrating plastic clamshells or wire ties)."

Now you're probably saying, what could this possible have to do with composting or gardening? Well, actually it's quite relevant but you'll have to bear with me for a moment.

One of my pet peeves on Christmas morning is all of the garbage that's left over. Have you tried to open up an action figure or really just about any toy lately? If you don't have wire cutters and a box knife, it takes literally 15 minutes to liberate a toy from it's package. Or how about batteries or small electronics? Those things could take a voyage to the bottom of the sea and return completely dry because of those crazy plastic clamshells. Now thanks to Amazon, all of that packaging can be composted.

These non-frustrating packages that Amazon is going to start using are recyclable. That means, that I'll be able to flatten the boxes and use them in the garden. Cardboard is great for stopping weeds. Just place it in between your raised garden beds and cover with mulch and you've got a weed free path. And if I'm all out of weeds (yeah right), I can just compost the boxes.

Here's a trick that I use for pizza boxes that would work great for regular cardboard boxes too. I fill a 5 gallon pail up with water and stuff the box in there. Then just leave it in there for a while or even overnight. The next day, the cardboard is mush and ready for the bin. No need to cut it into strips or anything, mush breaks down much faster than strips anyway.

So thanks for making my day Amazon. Since there's only a few products that come in frustration free packaging so far, my dream of composting Christmas is still a ways off. But that day is coming and that's great news.


  1. Susy said...
    I saw this as well and was super happy about it.

    I'll have to give that box in a bucket a try. I usually use mine for weed barrier.
    cityslipper said...
    Terrific news. It has always puzzled me why manufacturers spend so much money on packaging that delays access to their products. I once designed packaging for a product for retail sale. The packaging alone cost as much to produce as the product cost wholesale!

    More importantly: I like your use of cardboard in your garden.
    Anthony said...
    Hi Susy,
    The bucket of water works great on pizza boxes. Much easier than cutting them up into small pieces.

    Hi cityslipper,
    I'm not surprised that the packaging sometimes costs as much as the product. That's just sad. Cardboard works great at killing grass that you want to turn into a flower bed too. Lay it out and them cover with compost and or mulch. Thanks for visiting!
    tina said...
    Thanks for adding our blog to your blog community Compost Man. I will add your link in my sidebar. I am not familiar with the blog log all that well so was stunned to find you here. Thanks! Tune in Friday to In the Garden for some funnnnnnnnn on compost. It will be a belly laugh for sure-I promise you.
    Red Icculus said...
    Pizza boxes have been a source of frustration in my compost pile. Thanks for the great tip!
    Rejin/Urban Botany said...
    Do we worry about the ink on the pizza boxes? I've been wondering about that with newspapers, too. Even where inks are soy based, aren't there still solvents mixed in?
    Anthony said...
    Hi Red,
    Yes, pizza boxes have frustrated me too. I forgot where I read about soaking them first but it works nicely. Give it a shot.

    Hi Rejin,
    Yes, good point. I just discovered that the industry standard for soy based inks is that they are allowed to include 30% VOC and still call it soy ink. I'll do some more research into this and let you know what I find out. Feel free to share any information you have on the topic.
    Lane said...
    You guys are giving me the creeps about the copper in the water and ink in the ground from pizza boxes. We are looking for a safe product to apply to concrete planter walls between the soil and concrete. This waterproofing material we are looking for has to be safe and not leech out. We are growing food here and hope not to poisen ourselves.
    Daisy said...
    The cardboard mush idea -- why didn't I think of that? I am forever tearing apart pizza boxes for compost. I can recycle the clean pieces, but how much of a pizza box is really clean?
    JGH said...
    I especially like this because my pizza boxes never seem to fit in the town recycling bins.

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