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Sustainable packaging

5 ways your company can switch to sustainable packaging

Sustainable packaging is something every company should be taking seriously if they want to project themselves as environmentally friendly.

In fairness, it is easier said than done.

Making the switch to more sustainable packaging can be expensive, filled with trial and error, and you could still encounter problems. That’s why we’ve listed these five ways your brand can make the switch to sustainable packaging.

What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging isn’t simply something that can be thrown in the recycling bin once you open it.

The idea encompasses the entire life cycle of the package, from design to end of life. From sourcing the materials to repurposing them after their use.

Sustainable packaging fits into the circular economy ethos, namely that all materials and products in society are used and circulated among people for as long as possible, in an environmentally safe, effective, and fair manner.

Ideally, you want packaging that doesn’t harm the Earth to make, utilize or dispose of and lasts for as long as possible.

Recycled cardboard and paper

Ok, let’s start with the obvious ones.

The majority of items are stored, transported, and sold in cardboard boxes. Everything from cereal to tissues to laptops.

And even though cardboard and paper are organic and will biodegrade, it’s their beginnings that are the problem. If they are not sourced using sustainable methods, then they can have a terrible impact on the environment.

Luckily paper and cardboard are some of the easiest materials to recycle, and as such, they are cheap to source for your brand.

paper and cardboard recycling

Biodegradable packing peanuts

Packing peanuts are very versatile and are used for packages of every size but they become a real nuisance once your package is opened, making a mess and clinging to clothes. What’s worse is they are made of Styrofoam, which doesn’t decompose, and can end up in a landfill or floating around the ocean for many years to come.

But fear not! New, biodegradable packing peanuts are here!

Made from natural, non-toxic sources, such as wheat and corn starch, they dissolve in water and can be thrown into compost piles after a single use.

On top of that, they don’t carry an electrostatic charge, meaning they will not stick to clothes – handy in the apparel industry!

Air pillows made of recycled materials

Air pillows are handy little bags of air inside the packaging that is a great alternative to Styrofoam or bubble wrap. They work by filling the empty space in a box, protecting the item from bouncing around, cushioning during transport.

Because they are filled with air, they use fewer materials than other forms of packaging and are lighter, cutting down on transportation costs.

If you use air pillows that are 100% made from recycled materials, then you are going a long way to sustainable packaging.

More eco-friendly plastics

Ok, there’s no getting around it – plastic is great.

It’s tough, waterproof, cheap to make and can be shaped into practically anything we want. That’s the problem with plastic, it’s too good.

But if you need to use plastic in your packaging, then there are ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

By using only recycled plastic you can at least stop new plastics from being made. A step further would be to start using biodegradable plastics which are engineered to break down more quickly.

recycling plastics

Reusable and returnable packaging

Remember the good old days when your milkman would leave a bottle on your doorstep and then you would return it to be used again?

Well, the idea of “reusing things” instead of throwing them away is making a comeback, and packaging might be a way to implement this.

Hasbro, for example, is partnering with Amazon to create packaging for toys that become part of the toy once opened.

In the Netherlands, restaurants are signing up for a new pilot scheme called Sharepack which provides reusable delivery containers, eliminating single-use takeaway containers. Customers simply drop off their old take-out cartons at drop-off locations and the participating restaurants can wash and reuse them.

We can help you make the switch to sustainable packaging

With the world becoming more environmentally aware, how items are stored, transported, and sold is at the forefront of a green revolution.

Sustainable packaging is now one of the key areas where companies are looking to improve their carbon footprint and relate to a more environmentally aware consumer.

If you would like to make the move to more eco-friendly packaging, then have a chat with us.

We have helped hundreds of companies to grow and change with the times over the years, adapting to the small and big things (and everything in between) that can make or break a company.

There are big changes ahead on the road to a circular economy, and sustainable packaging is just a small part of it.

If you would like our guidance in this complex area, please do not hesitate to contact us and have a chat with one of our friendly experts.