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Temple & Webster shopper enraged by 'unnecessary' styrofoam packaging

A Temple & Webster spokesperson told Yahoo it is 'working towards using more recycled content'.

A Temple & Webster customer has hit out at the Australian company for the large amount of styrofoam used to pack a recent purchase.

The man complained on Thursday that the “completely unnecessary” amount of styrofoam, aka polystyrene foam, was “enough to fill four large bin liners and half of the outdoor bin”.

“Styrofoam takes [roughly] 500 years to decompose,” he said. “The lack of consideration of this fact enrages me. Australian companies need to do better…”

The Temple & Webster styrofoam packaging in black plastic bags and two bins.
Temple & Webster has responded to a customer's complaint about the use of styrofoam in its packaging. Source: Reddit

Along with his gripe, the Aussie also posted photos on Reddit of the thick sheets of polystyrene broken up into smaller pieces and shoved into multiple black garbage bags and a garbage bin.

Polystyrene packaging, specifically expanded polystyrene (EPS), is still widely used for various reasons despite calls to ban the single use plastic due to its well-documented negative effects on the environment.

Annually, Australia consumes 71,000 tonnes, according to Stydrocycle — a group of polystyrene manufacturers who are working to reduce the tonnes off polystyrene waste sent to landfills.

Almost 50,000 tonnes are manufactured in Australia, with 70 per cent used in building and packaging. In 2021, the Australian Government announced a National Plastics Plan with the goal of making 100 per cent of packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

The bins and black plastic bags filled with styrofoam.
Despite the Temple & Webster’s customer’s obvious annoyance, not everyone shared his sentiments. Source: Reddit

Styrofoam post sparks debate

Despite the Temple & Webster’s customer’s obvious annoyance over the use of the material, others didn’t appear to share his sentiments, with Reddit users arguing that he should have instead not purchased “mass produced” furniture. Others said the shopper would have been “whinging” if their “bed frame arrived all banged up”.

“Flat packed furniture shipped around the world and delivered to your door needs protection otherwise it would arrive damaged. It is necessary,” one person responded. “Do you honestly think a company would spend the time and money putting styrofoam in for no reason?

“Buy second-hand furniture if you care about the environment and avoid places like Ikea or Temple & Webster,” they added.

Others suggested the man look at places nearby where he can recycle the material, agreeing that it “would be better if it wasn’t used at all.”

Temple & Webster responds

A spokesperson for the popular Aussie online furniture and homewares retailer told Yahoo News Australia the company “uses a range of packaging solutions including styrofoam” to “ensure the secure delivery of furniture to our customers”.

“Styrofoam is chosen for its lightweight, collapsible and strong protective qualities for delicate items during transit,” they continued. “Reducing packaging waste is a top priority for us, and we acknowledge it is equally important to our customers. We are at the beginning of our packaging sustainability journey and we acknowledge that we still have work to do.”

Reads 'What on Earth? Our rapid growth in plastic use means there are an estimated 171 trillion pieces in the ocean.' with a collage of plastic floating in water and a fish made out of rubbish.
Discover more of our environment coverage.

Temple & Webster said it is “working towards using more recycled content and phasing out unnecessary single use plastic packaging” as part of its commitment to meeting Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.

“We encourage the responsible disposal of styrofoam to minimise its environmental impact. You can find out more about our sustainability commitments including our Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) Action Plan here.”

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