As consumers become more conscious of environmental impacts, many brands are shifting their approach to packaging to court this eco-friendly demographic. There are multiple ways companies can incorporate sustainability into their packaging, such as using recycled materials, resizing packaging to cut down on wasted materials, using natural materials, and limiting the use of dyes. Combining these elements, brands can create more environmentally friendly packaging.
With billions of tons of packaging waste infiltrating landfills across the planet, more companies are realizing to the importance of sustainability in product packaging. Many brands and manufacturers are searching for ways to incorporate materials and construction methods that make less of an impact on the planet.
Besides preserving the environment we all share, eco-friendly initiatives also offer additional benefits such as allowing companies to build positive reputations and connect with likeminded customers.
Four Ideas for Sustainable Packaging
Fortunately, there are many options for businesses wishing to adopt more sustainable packaging practices. Innovative packaging methods that help the planet include:
- Use recyclable materials.
Plastic, paperboard, cardboard and other materials can be repurposed to make new items. Consult a packaging manufacturer to find out which materials are the best match for your budget, needs, and values. Both recycled and recyclable materials come from a wide range of sources and can be easily customized to fit your packaging. Many paperboards can be recycled, so it’s important to point this out on the package.
Here are a few other ideas for switching out commonly used packaging materials eco-friendly and recyclable ones:
- Bamboo: This quick-growing plant seems to appear almost anywhere—paper products, countertops, floors, blinds—in the past few years, but it’s also being used as a packaging material. For example, Dell uses bamboo to protect and cushion lightweight products like laptops.
- Paperboard: When choosing packaging, opt for paperboard or materials that are made from post-consumer waste (PCW) material.
- Eliminate excess material.
A large portion of packaging waste happens at the warehouse and retailer environments. Find out if your packaging manufacturer can create custom packaging boxes with specialized folding cartons to preserve space and materials throughout the distribution process.
Simple packaging also creates a clean aesthetic that will attract consumers, while differentiating you from heavier-packaged competition. If you’re placing less emphasis on bulky packaging, eco-conscious consumers may gravitate toward your product thinking it provides a better value as well.
- Go natural.
Packages made from natural materials like recycled, virgin or dye-free paper present a lesser burden on the environment because they require fewer manufacturing processes. Packaging that isn’t as processed may be easier to recycle.
Sustainable packaging has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Consumers want to ensure they aren’t buying wasteful products, and caring about the environment has shifted from a niche to a mainstream interest.
- Eliminate unnecessary chemicals & dyes.
Many dyes contain harmful chemicals that have negative impacts on the environment and some types of ink from papers even have the potential to affect consumers’ health. Limiting the use of excessive dyes ensures toxic chemicals don’t enter the environment or interfere with consumers’ health. Some chemicals can get into the soil or water.
Using natural dyes instead of synthetic inks can prevent harmful chemicals from ending up in the environment.
Rethink Your Packaging
While not all items can benefit from different materials or being dye-free, many brands may be able to reduce the size or change the shape of their packaging designs to curb wasted material. There are many different ways to change the amount of packaging used without compromising product quality, including condensing liquid formulas, incorporating packaging into the product, or rearranging products in cartons.