Monthly Archives: March 2016

Keep pets and wildlife happy by reusing packaging in 5 ways

Our Animal Protector Awards may be all wrapped up for this year, but our passion for protection is always there.

For over 60 years, our teams at the RAJA Group have been developing and sourcing new ways to keep valuable products safe during transit. For the last two years we’ve used our winter campaign to pass this protection on to animals rather than products. In 2014, we helped Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital protect hedgehogs in our Home Safe Home campaign, raising over £350 and donating £200 worth of stationery to their offices.

With spring officially here (meteorologically speaking), we can all start doing our bit to protect wildlife in our gardens and enrich the lives of our pets, simply by re-purposing Rajapack products at home.

Hedgehog house from a cardboard box

All year round, these little creatures need a safe place to feed and get out of the rain and cold. The Co-op suggest getting a thick cardboard box about 30cm wide, 45cm deep and 30cm tall and cutting a 12cm wide hole in the box. You can attach a 30cm long entrance tunnel made from 10-13cm diameter drain pipe and put some air vent holes in the top of the box.

Then put dry leaves, straw or shredded newspaper inside and cover the top of the box with a bin bag that you’ve cut down each side or roof felting. Then tuck the box near a hedge or wall and cover the whole thing with leaves and soil. If possible, put the entrance facing south to keep cold northerly winds out.

In spring the hedgehogs will come out of hibernation hungry, so you can see if there are sources of slugs, grubs and worms near to your hedgehog house. You can also leave them water, dry cat biscuits, tinned cat or dog food, or dried mealworms. Do not leave milk and bread for them as this can make them very ill.

Bird nest box from a broken pallet

If you have a broken wooden pallet or off-cuts from another project, the deck boards across the top of a pallet are ideal for making a nest box. By following the design below you will make a safe nest for a declining species called house sparrows and you can help the British Trust for Ornithology track these birds by registering your nest box.

Birds nest

Design and tips courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk/breathingplaces/nest_box/

Remember:

  • Drainage holes are important for draining away liquid waste and rainwater
  • Don’t be tempted to add a perch. Predators may intimidate the birds and force the adult birds to leave
  • A coat of linseed oil will stop the wood drying out but is not essential. Wood preservatives are best avoided as some are poisonous. Don’t paint the box
  • A hinged lid allows you to clean the box easily but make sure it is fastened securely to stop magpies and squirrels raiding the nest.

Cardboard boxes for rabbits

Any spare cardboard boxes are ideal for your rabbit’s hutch. They love being protected so creating a small house (with a window and door for them to see out at all times) from a cardboard box and putting it inside your hutch gives them a good place to hide. Please remember that the ‘3 hop rule’ still applies and you shouldn’t put a cardboard box in the hutch that is too big. If they have a larger space to run around in the garden, leave some made-up cardboard boxes in different places; your rabbits love finding new places to feel safe in!

Shredded paper for gerbils, guinea pigs and hamsters

If you run out of straw or hay for your pet’s bedding, you can reuse shredded paper that’s left over from packaging or food hampers. It’s absorbent, warm and free! You can also tear up waste paper like used envelopes and newspaper, but make sure to use rough paper. Paper with a smooth coating may not offer enough insulation.

Postal tubes

Postal tubes from posters and certificates make great toys for cats, small dogs, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits and many more small animals. Simply cut them up with scissors or a small hacksaw and your pets will love running through them or chewing on them.Scratching post

You could also get crafty and create a scratching post for your cat. You’ll need a small piece of wood for the base, rope or thick string to wrap around the outside of the postal tube and a few tools.

 

The evolution of postal packaging

The UK postal service has undergone many changes since it was first established an astonishing 500 years ago. And at the same time, postal packaging has evolved too. Materials, transportation, and the way we shop have all had their impact, and the future promises even more changes.

A brief history of post

This year, the UK postal service celebrates 500 years since Henry VIII first established postal towns across the country to build a formal postal network. Just over 100 years later, the first public postal service was established by Charles I in 1635.

It wasn’t until the 19th Century that reforms put forward by Rowland Hill transformed the post into something we recognise today. He introduced the Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive stamp which made all mail a uniform price.

Penny Black

In 1883, under Postmaster General Henry Fawcett, the Parcel Post Service started for the first time. Previously, people could only send packages privately via stagecoach or rail.

Now that people could send parcels cheaper and have them delivered by an official Postman, the need for parcel packaging grew and with it, an industry was born.

Transportation and package protection

The Royal Mail was always looking for faster and more efficient ways of delivering mail. Transportation played a key role, so as technology progressed delivery methods could evolve too.

Horse driven coaches were initially used, replaced by bicycles in the late Victorian age when the numbers of local Postmen grew. The 1830s saw the first mail railway services, and in 1850 Royal Mail ships were commissioned to deliver post by sea. But a true international mail service began with the arrival of air freight which became dominate in the mid 20s.

Horse and Carriage

All this change had an effect on protective packaging protection, as goods travelling longer distances needed better packaging to protect the products for the journey ahead.

Kraft paper was invented in 1879 and to this day continues to be a cost-effective form of protection, providing an internal cushion for products being sent.

By the mid-20th Century foam structures became increasingly used, with the use of lightweight and tear-resistant polyurethane foam. Today, it comes in a range of options for packaging of all shapes and sizes.

Bubble Wrap is a trademark of Sealed Air Corporation, which first used it in packaging in 1961. Three years later, padded mailers began to be manufactured by Jiffy Packaging. They have been so effective that they’re still going strong 55 years later.

 Going the distance

The first Royal Mail Airmail service began in 1919, flying between London and Paris. The service was quickly extended to Holland, Belgium and Morocco. But it wasn’t until after WW2, that Airmail really took off with the rapid growth in commercial aviation.

Air mail

With long-distance mail delivery now possible, packaging needed to adapt again for global travel. The need for security, element-proofing and durability was the driving force behind the development of plastic mailing bags made of polythene, the same material as carrier bags but significantly stronger. Available in a range of thicknesses to package heavyweight or sharp objects without risk of breaking, they have been developed with seal strips for security and are waterproof. And with the rise of ecommerce, they are perfect for international shipping.

The impact of ecommerce

The rate of change online has helped the growth of mail order and ecommerce and has been the biggest recent catalyst for postal packaging changes.

In Europe, ecommerce transactions are expected to reach £185 billion this year with the rise of mobile purchases increasing by 37.5%. With such huge increases, retail postal packaging is having to adapt quickly.

One of the challenges postal packaging has needed to address is custom packaging. Studies in America have shown 66% of customers believe the packaging represents how much the retailer cares about their order and nearly half believe the better the packaging the better the product inside.

First impressions matter. With the huge growth in “unboxing” videos (where users record themselves opening a package) on YouTube – up 871% since 2010 – postal packaging is the first opinion-forming part of a brand that customers see. Custom packaging available to businesses is fast becoming a major catalyst for packaging development.

Greener post

Fuelled by customer demand, there is a global drive by businesses to become more environmentally conscious. Postal packaging is no exception. Today, there are many options available to businesses to provide packaging made from recycled and biodegradable materials.

Rajapack is currently running Action Programme for Women & the Environment, a campaign to raise awareness of recyclable and renewable resourced packaging products.

Biodegradeable packagingThe next 500 years?

We have seen huge changes in postal packaging since the first postal service was introduced. The next 500 will no doubt prove to be any different. With such revolutionary ideas such as Amazon’s drone-based delivery service, postal packaging will continue to evolve.

Announcing our top 10 Animal Protectors

Whilst our nominators have been crossing their fingers, hoping that their good cause would be one of our incredible winners, our judges have been reading through entry after entry. It’s been an emotional week for them, reading heart-warming stories about selfless people and organisations.

Cat in packaging

Our 10 Animal Protectors have now been selected for their unwavering commitment to protecting vulnerable animals and for the huge difference their work makes. They have been told the good news and have chosen what they would like in their Reward Boxes.

Meet our remarkable Rajapack Animal Protectors

Ros Karamanth (Stepping Stones Rescue Centre)

Ros specialises in rescuing and rehoming pregnant cats and their kittens. Her nomination caught our attention because she has made a difference to so many cats and never turns away an animal in need! Well done Ros, keep up the great work!

Labrador Retriever Rescue Southern England (LRRSE)

This charity unites pure bred and Labrador Retriever crosses with loving new homes across the South of England. LRRSE does not have a rescue centre, kennelling facilities or offices. What’s more, they are self-funded and staffed entirely by volunteers who juggle their day jobs with rescue work. It was this commitment and passion for protecting Labradors that really impressed our judges. We hope their Reward Box goes some way to helping the volunteers continue their work.

Lakeland Trailhound Welfare (LTW)

Trailhounds (the ‘cross-country runners of dog racing’) have historically been deemed unsuitable as pets if no longer racing, or injured. Since the charity was set up 20 years ago, they have found new homes for over 1000 hounds and, through feedback from adoptive owners, have created a shift in the mind-set of the hound-trailing community, who are able to see their old hound settled and happy in their new home. Injured, retired and problem dogs are now referred to LTW, who work hard to find homes all over the UK. Our judges were most impressed by LTW’s education programme to prove that there is life after racing for ex working dogs.

Milnthorpe Kennels and Cattery

Started as a kennels and cattery, within 18 months they were approached by a local animal rescue charity to help them care for rescue dogs. With the policy that all dogs go home neutered, microchipped and vaccinated, over 600 dogs have been re-homed. The team also educate children in the area about animal welfare, microchipping and raise awareness of that fact that most animal crises are accompanied by a human crisis. Again, it was the educational work this organisation do that really stood out to our judges. By acting now they are preventing suffering in the future.

Gloria Muir (Hogles wood Hedgehog home)

Gloria nurses and cares for hedgehogs before releasing them back into the wild. Through her enduring enthusiasm and ‘super smile’, this amazing lady has inspired other people locally and internationally to take care of this declining species. We really admire this personal approach to protection, especially for an endangered species such as hedgehogs.

Dogs for Good

Through intensive training, Dogs for Good provide assistance dogs to help adults and children with physical disabilities and families with an autistic child. This support really does change lives and gives people their confidence and zest for life back. Well done Dogs for Good, and we hope your Reward Box helps you keep up the great work.

Alley Cats

This is a very small organisation that rescues abandoned kittens. They have just a handful of carers who foster the kittens until they are well enough to be adopted. Our judges really liked the fact that this charity not only protects kittens and changes their lives, they also bring joy to the lives of the carers.

HULA Animal Rescue

This small registered charity has rehomed thousands of unwanted domestic animals since it was founded in 1972. HULA relies on volunteers to help relieve suffering and distress by providing refuge and care until permanent homes can be found. It also provides advice to owners who are unable to cope due to a change in circumstances. This wonderful charity works tirelessly to make sure no animal is left homeless or in distress.

The Fox Project

This small charity works hard to care for foxes who have been injured or are unwell. They completely depend on the good will of animal lovers and look after the sick animal in their hospital before releasing it back to its natural habitats. Our judges were impressed by The Fox Project’s dedication to caring for these creatures.

 National Animal Welfare Trust Trindledown Farm

This organisation is dedicated exclusively to caring for animals ‘enjoying the twilight years of their lives’. Older animals make great companions, but often find themselves in a rescue centre because they have lost their elderly companion. NAWT care for these animals until a new home is found and really caught the eye of our judges because most of their fundraising is done by a dedicated crew of volunteers.

(Picture credit to Nicola Romagna)