The vast majority of our whole house fans are shipped to the customer by UPS. Now they are a wonderful company, full of energetic 🙂 employees, who find that the best exercise is at work. Translated out of politically correct speak, it means that they throw our stuff as far as they can.
Faced with this athletic problem, we have developed and tested some great packing solutions. What drives us nuts, is that this typically means packaging our WHF’s in wonderful, resilient, polyethylene foam. Not only is the polyethylene foam expensive (it’s worth it), but more importantly it either goes straight to the landfill or at best is ground up and recycled.
Our goal was to go one step better and re-use the packaging foam. Each time that we re-used the plastic foam, that would be less plasic in the landfill. If we were lucky, maybe we could save some money along the way :-).
Since we ship our whole house fans throughtout North America, our first concern was the cost and inconvenience involved in shipping the foam back to us.
We decided that if we had to provide another box to ship the foam back in that would be counter-productive. However the foam has to be assembled into something resembling a package. What we came up with is to send a small roll of packaging tape. There is some inconvenience for the customer. They have to tape the foam together, attach the return label, and drop the “package” at a UPS store or truck. It will be interesting to see how customers react to this. This is what the returned polyethylene foam looks like after being returned to us.