What’s the best and greenest way to ship glass tile?

July 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm Leave a comment

As a manufacturer and online retailer of glass tile, this is a question we’re always trying to answer.  After all, there’s no point in shipping gorgeous glass subway tile with sub-par packing material (sustainable or not) only to have it arrive in pieces. This fact was in evidence recently when we received a return from a customer who had ordered too much.  They shipped the tile back to us without the full amount of packing material and this is what we received:


While we’ve been using a combination of a revolutionary recyclable packing cardboard product called ExpanDos for years,  it is not enough and must be supplemented with a packing “peanut”.  Our manager of shipping Luis is dogged in his determination to ship green with no breakage.  The best peanut he could find, that actually did the job without flattening, was one of recycled and reusable but not recyclable material.  Until last week that is.  I want to share a timely email request we received and the response I was happily able to provide:

Packing Plea:

Hi,Someone I know ordered from you recently.  I helped unpack and got tasked with doing something with the cartons.
It was not easy  as there were styro’s mixed with the recyclable cardboard tabs.  Not much chance to have me separate  (I am a recycler and concious of our environment) the stryros from the cardboard tabs.  As a result the whole packing got sent to the landfill.This is a plea, nothing more nothing less to find better packing methods when shipping your product.  Your part to help our environment.
Thank you


Hello O,

I am the owner and founder of modwalls and am so thankful for your message. We have been dealing with this packing materials issue for a few years now. We are happy to have been one of the first companies to implement the ExpanDos recycled cardboard packing system, but dismayed that with just this solution our glass tile products were often breaking during shipping.

We then tried the older version of biodegradable corn starch made packing peanuts to no avail. This soft packing material easily degraded during shipment resulting in a higher than acceptable level of tile breakage.

It seemed that the only way to eliminate glass tile breakage (and costly double shipments- which we offset via a parntership with Carbon Fund by the way) was to use half  ExpanDos and half  recycled/reusable but nonbiodegradable and non-recycleable packing peanuts.  This is something I have hated every day. To know better and not have a way to do better is bad all around.

The good end to this story is that just about a week ago we finally found a biodegrable/recyclable green packing peanut. The green peanut is made of recycled material, will decompose in the environment and can also be recycled. This new peanut stands up to the weight of packed glass tile without smashing down as the former corn based product did, virtually eleminating tile breakage during shipment. 

I have attached some photos of this new packing peanut product in action.

Your friend  probably received one of the last shipments we sent with the old peanuts. I just want you to know that while I love it when our customers often praise our customer service and our extremely careful packaging, I appreciate it just as much when someone such as yourself takes the time to call us out when we are not doing things right.

Kindest regards,

Rebecca Lonergan

That’s right our packing supplier Uline has finally found the perfect recycled, biodegradable and recyclable packing peanut that stands up to the weight of a product like tile, and our shipping manager Luis bought it right away!

Here’s more information from uline.

And here is more information about ExpanDos  sustainable cardboard packing material from their own website:

ExpandOS is Environmentally Friendly and Non-Toxic. ExpandOS contains no toxic chemicals like many packaging solutions and no protective gear is required when using the ExpandOS system. The packaging elements are recyclable and biodegradable. (Not to mention they make fun building blocks for the kids!)

Also noted above,  at modwalls we offset the carbon emissions used in the  shipping of our products via a partnership with Carbonfund.  

For more information on Carbon Fund check out their website.

I meant what I said to “O” about appreciating his email on a part of our business he found lacking.  I think we’ve answered that issue now, but if anyone knows of an even better way to ship heavy products in a more sustainable way please let me know.

And by the way I did hear back from “O”. He responded to my email with thanks and wishes for much prosperity to modwalls in the future. He also noted that he was able to drop off the non-biodegradable packing material to a UPS store for re-use, instead of dropping it in the trash. A happy ending all around!

Entry filed under: Buying Tile Online, Glass Subway Tile, Glass Tile, How To, Mosaic Glass Tile, Shipping Tile. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Inspired By… Surf!!! (And just in time for Summer!) Need Some Eichler Inspiration?

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Rebecca Lonergan

Founder and Creative Director of Modwalls Tile Company. Since 2005 Rebecca has been designing Fresh Tile in Colors You Crave. Shop Online at Modwalls.com.

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