Sustainability is no longer a buzzword, it’s now an indisputable trend. In times of environmental change people around the world are realizing the importance of keeping the planet healthy, firstly by transforming their own habits and secondly by taking actions to protect it. In response to customers’ expectations, brands are taking on more responsibility for the waste they produce and are attempting to lessen their carbon and environmental footprint.
Among the biggest outputs of waste in the industry is packaging and accessories. The global parcel volumes report by Pitney Bowes Parcel Volume Index proves this with findings that show the global parcel volume came in at 87 billion in 2018, a 17% increase from 2017, with the number expected to rise to 200 billion by 2025.
A large percent of these parcels still include non-eco-friendly materials like plastic. According to the European parliament research (2018) more than 40% of plastic is produced and used for shipping purposes. Needless to say, the production of plastic has grown exponentially in just a few decades, from 1.5 million tonnes in 1950 to 322 million tonnes in 2015 worldwide – and with it the amount of plastic waste.
But it is not just the material and parcel volume that are raising environmentally conscious eyebrows. One of the hottest topics among consumers is also excessive packaging. Small products that are shipped in boxes too large with their interior filled with air bubbles, usually plastic, or other kind of fillers to ensure the product is protected during transport. Retail companies can solve this with a more optimized packaging design or more simply – the right-sized box – which will decrease the amount of air in shipments and release more capacity in trucks, terminals and post offices.
It is the growing demand for sustainable production that has shifted brands towards environmentally friendly solutions offered by sustainable packaging companies. Packaging that is cost- and space-effective, and made from planet friendly materials. From recyclable plastic to biodegradable cardboard, eco-conscious brands can choose among eco-friendly packaging options in 2020 to find the most efficient and profitable solution.
What is eco-friendly packaging?
Environmentally friendly packaging is a form of packaging that is safe for individuals and the environment. It is made of recycled or renewable materials and is therefore sustainable in nature.
- produces little to no environmental waste
- safe for people and the environment
- made from reusable or biodegradable materials
- minimizes its footprint in terms of carbon, water, and chemical use, along with its overall waste.
Why use eco-friendly packaging?
Eco-friendly packaging benefits the environment, your business and your customers. Incorporating a green philosophy today gives you the green light to a successful tomorrow. Why?
- The production of sustainable packaging demands less energy resources, resulting in fewer carbon emissions and little to no waste.
- Eco-friendly packaging is in line with circular economy, since it is highly-biodegradable or recyclable and can therefore be reused or easily disposed of.
- Sustainable packaging is made out of organic and natural materials, so it’s not harmful to individuals or the environment.
- It’s cost-effective to go green. The manufacturing of sustainable packaging costs less than traditional packaging.
- It’s space-effective. Sustainable packaging options allow you to find packaging that is perfectly suited to the size of your product. Eliminating the need for air filters and lowering your shipping costs.
Opting for eco-friendly retail packaging improves your brand image and brand value, and can also increase your customer base.
How to start packing green?
Pack lightly. Most packaging designs use too many materials, shipping boxes are often too large for products, resulting in the need for fillers. This creates unnecessary environmental waste and business expenses. With eco-friendly shipping boxes that suit your product perfectly you can cut down on the number of materials used and your shipping costs.
- Use renewable materials. Taking into account the lifespan of materials in your packaging design maximizes the use of natural resources, since materials can either be reused by customers or disposed of with zero waste.
- Educate your customers. Using green packaging without your customers knowing about is pointless. Educate your customers about the ways they can reuse, recycle or dispose of your packaging design.
What are the best eco-friendly packaging options?
If you are a retail company, which ships products to your customer’s doors, you realize the value of good packaging. It must, at the end of the day, protect the product and ensure a safe delivery.
Green packaging makes good on this promise, since it enables you to deliver any product without damage. If you are searching for:
- eco-friendly packaging for clothing
- eco-friendly packaging for bottles
- eco-friendly packaging for jewellery
- eco-friendly packaging for glass products
- eco-friendly packaging for skincare products or any other
simply review examples of eco-friendly packaging options listed below to find which can best complement your product.
· Recycled and reusable packaging materials, such as recycled cardboard or wrapping sheets. Paper and cardboard are the most common packaging materials, which are already recyclable and biodegradable. The trickiest part is finding the right-sized box, so you do not waste material or space. Another alternative is recycled plastic or bioplastics, which are made from biological material instead of from fossil fuels.
· Biodegradable materials and fillers, such as biodegradable plastic that breaks down in sunlight or starch-based packaging peanuts, which are less harmful to the environment than polystyrene counterparts. With water they disintegrate within minutes and leave no waste behind.
· Protective materials converted from waste, such as cardboard boxes which can be shredded and reused as protective material.
· Organic materials and fabric, such as biodegradable, compostable leaf plates, which are toxin-free and durable. If your product is not sensitive, then you can even try wrapping it in cotton or burlap fabrics. Among natural options is also mushroom packaging, which is grown from fungi-types and decomposes in 30-90 days.
Green is the new brown.
Research shows consumers are willing to pay more for a product if it is guaranteed to be environmentally friendly. It is hugely important businesses react and adapt to these increasing demands. Choosing an environmentally friendly product packaging indicates your company is committed to customers and that it considers the community and the environment as a whole.
Thus, eco-friendly retail packaging is no longer considered optional. Luckily, there are many alternatives that are cost-effective and varied, so the switch to sustainability will not waste a lot of your resources. It will, however, demand careful consideration of which option is best suited to your product and production line. Large and small-scale businesses may need different approaches to adopt sustainable packaging, mostly because of cost, production volume and variety of products.
To ensure your shipping process is as green as it can be, you need to:
- evaluate your production process, costs and products
- reduce excessive packaging with a smart packaging design or the “right-sized box”
- choose the most suitable eco-friendly retail packaging made out of reusable or renewable materials, such as cardboard
- do some research to find the best provider that can design packaging that is flexible to every item you ship to your customers
- make a holistic transformation, that will benefit your business, consumers and the environment in the long-run
- educate and inform your consumers about the sustainable philosophy your company is undertaking.
See beyond financial goals and try to meet your environmental goals as well. There is certainly no better time to go as green as you possibly can with your packaging.