no Styrofoam packaging - Risk Management

Subject: Request for No Styrofoam Packaging
I just opened my shipment from [insert sales order/invoice #] and was disappointed to see
Styrofoam packaging material included.
The University of British Columbia (UBC) and my department/lab are deeply concerned
about the excessive usage of Styrofoam. Styrofoam takes over 500 years to degrade in a
landfill and is harmful to the environment, both in disposal and in the chemicals and
processes used to create it. At UBC, we take the three Rs of sustainability – Reduce, Re-use,
Recycle – seriously and have a pilot program in place to recycle Styrofoam at our own
We have two ways of accomplishing Styrofoam reduction at UBC: take packaging choices
into account when choosing supplier companies; and ask our suppliers to use more
sustainable materials.
Where temperature sensitivity is not an issue, please consider using a more sustainable
packaging material. Many of our suppliers (Fisher and VWR, among others) have made the
switch to recycled paper padding, inflated plastic pillows (not ideal, but at least easier to
recycle), or starch-based chips. We have had no complaints about product quality on arrival
due to the alternative packaging materials.
Please note that starch-based chips mixed with Styrofoam chips are not acceptable for
Perhaps you would also consider accepting returns of Styrofoam boxes at your expense for
re-use, as several of our suppliers do (NEB, Stemcell, and Roche, for instance).
Thank you.
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