In recent times, the worlds of retail and logistics have undergone major transformations. Now, we can order the products we want online, and have them delivered to the front door within hours. But it isn’t just home delivery that’s changed: improvements in logistics have also meant that brick-and-mortar shops have been able to bring in a greater variety of goods, at a greater volume than ever before.
All of this naturally conflicts with the great challenge of the day, which is to preserve the environment. If all of the consumer goods, groceries, and takeaway meals were to be delivered in non-sustainable packaging, then this would amount to a considerable burden on the nation’s landfills.
We can, actually, quantify the amount of damage inflicted by non-sustainable packaging. A United Nations report claims that consumption of domestic materials rose by around 65% over the decade leading up to 2020. In some cases, even the impact of recyclable materials isn’t enough – since we can’t always be sure that those materials will be properly disposed of, and not dumped in rivers and oceans.
Using sustainable materials
If you’re a business that’s worried about your public image in a world that’s increasingly environmentally conscious, then you might look to revise your packaging. The best approach, almost always, is to favor materials that are biodegradable. That means recyclable paper and cardboard products, as well as timber for larger items. Certain timbers, like bamboo, will grow extremely quickly, and can therefore be replaced. In this sense, they’re sustainable in a way that plastics and other timbers are not.
What is biodegradable packaging?
Biodegradable packaging is the sort that will naturally decay, in much the same way as plant and animal matter. You can actually think of it as three processes: biodeterioration, which sees the structure of the material naturally weaken, then breakdown by microorganisms, and then assimilation, which sees those materials finally digested by other kinds of microorganisms.
We should note that the term ‘biodegradable’ doesn’t really account for the harm inflicted by the process of degradation, nor the time it takes for that degradation to occur. A biodegradable shopping bag, for example, might take decades to degrade and release CO2 in the process.
Benefits of sustainable packaging
There are several notable benefits to this kind of packaging. Firstly, they’ll reduce your environmental impact. Second, they’ll help to win over customers and persuade them of your values. Finally, in many cases, they’ll actually work out cheaper than the alternatives.
In a world where consumers are becoming more aware of the natural world and their impact on it, it makes sense to position yourself as environmentally-savvy, and to do so proactively rather than waiting for the market to push you in that direction!