Cardboard is used to ship 90 percent of all products in the U.S. Recycling 1 ton of cardboard saves 9 cubic yards of landfill space and 46 gallons of oil. (

By creating an alternative to cardboard packaging for smaller items, PodPaks shipping system reduces cardboard waste, allows for lighter shipments resulting in less fuel consumption, and provides reusable materials for businesses and individuals.

Sea Heart’s journey of thousands of miles

Now, how are PodPaks really going to survive and thrive when it comes down to it? Just as the Sea Heart makes a journey of thousands of miles in it’s native pod shell from the branch of a tree to countries across oceans, the PodPak’s life is impressive (if I do say so myself – or at least I imagine it to be impressive when fully developed). By using hte Life’s Principles checklist, we can take a look at all of the aspects of functionality and successful possibilities for this product. The checklist (outlined below) can help to highlight improvements that can be made as well as what is already working.

1. Adapting and Evolving
a. Locally Attuned and Responsive
b. Integrates Cyclic Processes
c. Resilient
2. Creating Conditions Conducive to Life
a. Optimizing rather than Maximizing
b. Benign Manufacturing
c. Leveraging Interdependence

Biodegradable Pot made from Natural Fibers.  (

PodPaks are resourceful in that they use natural fibers – like that of a biodegradable garden pot, sturdy, but also soft. It also uses a natural resin to provide a coating for the package. Several shapes are offered and all of the shapes are conducive to being hung on the clips inside the delivery truck. They are all basically envelopes, so they can clip easily into the pre-arranged clips. The design is simple – just fiber, resin, and closure, and uses natural materials that are readily available and renewable within a reasonable amount of time.

Specifically designed for reuse, the PodPaks allow ease of label removal (no scraping sticky paper off and using sharpies to cover up old labels!) and also are biodegradable which means there is no disassembly neecessary. It encourages reuse as anyone can reuse it up to ten times and it can be passed around from shipper to recipient without destruction beyond regular wear and tear.

The hanging system in the back of the shipping trucks – based off of the hanging Sea Heart pod chains in the trees, allow the PodPaks to be transported without touching one another – preventing the wear and tear that usually occurs when boxes are stacked and piled in delivery trucks. the key is for the delivery person to take care in placing the package at the recipient’s location. (i.e. they can’t just toss it from the truck onto a front porch!)

PodPak Envelope System showing Resin-coated
and Un-coated envelope shapes available.
Sea Heart Hanging Pod Chain

The PodPaks will need to be manufactured by creation of the fiber material, coating of the resin on the outside, trimming to the various sizes as well as application of the closure. Well-managed, FSC certified forests will need to be developed and maintained to provide the fibrous material content from a local area. The manufacturing process will need to set up so that possible the outer material can grow itself – this would be ideal, but may not be realistic for the supply and demand.

Less resistance is used in the delivery of the packages to the consumer as more packages can fit on trucks and the packaging itself is much lighter than standard cardboard packaging. This saves on fuel as well as costs in shipping as all of the packages basically “carpool” together in a truck.

Most of the Life’s Principles are on track for this with the exception the manufacturing process that is still really loosely planned out. It can also be improved for growth – such as what if people need larger PodPaks – will the outer material be strong enough for larger items? Right now, though, starting one step at a time with the small package shipping market can still make a big difference!

April 28, 2011

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