Plastic packaging has been used for almost a century for good reason- it’s durable, lightweight, and cost-effective. However, it has come at a very high cost to the environment and has become one of the greatest issues we’re facing today.
The problem with plastic packaging is that it’s made from non-renewable resources (natural gas and petroleum) and it can take hundreds of years to break down. Plastic also ends up in the oceans, in rivers and lakes, poisoning wildlife and marine life.
It’s clear we must rethink our approach to packaging to protect our planet.
As a business owner, you can make a positive change by making your packaging more sustainable. Not only to help the environment, but also to appeal to like-minded consumers.
Making your packaging more sustainable doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It’s all about maximizing your budget and making the right choices for your business and your customers.
In this article, we will give you 9 tips that can help you make packaging more sustainable.
- Use less packaging
How many pieces of packaging do you usewhen shipping your products? Do they all serve a purpose? Many brands are guilty of excessive packaging. It’s not only costly for the business in terms of resources and shipping; it puts the onus on the customer to dispose of it.
To create the most eco-friendly unboxing experience, invest in an attractive but minimalistic packaging design that uses the least amount of packaging you can to ship your product safely.
- Choose sustainable materials
To ensure that none of your packaging material ends up in landfill, ditch plastic altogether and choose sustainable materials to serve your packaging needs.
The most sustainable materials are easy to recycle, reuse, or compost.
Eco Time offers a variety of plant-based sustainable packaging options for online retailers, including recycled and compostable shopping and courier bags. Our durable and high quality designs are a great way to show your brand’s commitment to sustainability.
- Avoid mixed materials
Packaging made from multiple types of materials such as paper and plastic is difficult to recycle because the layers can't be separated during sorting.
If possible, choose packaging pieces made entirely of paper or recycled plastic but you may be able to recycle each component, if you separate them first.
- Choose easy recyclable materials
Curbside recycling regulations can vary from city to city, so it’s important to use materials that your customers can recycle in most places. If you’re not sure which material is suitable then paper packaging is the safest bet — nearly every curbside recycling facility accepts paper.
- Opt for FSC certified paper
If you’re using paper packaging, make sure it’s FSC- certified. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a global NGO devoted to stopping deforestation through sustainable forest management.
FSC gives customers the option of paper packaging that has been sourced in a way that serves the needs of people and the health of forest.
When you choose FSC certified paper, you know that you’re looking out for the earth’s biodiversity.
- Communicate sustainability
The key to supporting a full circle of sustainability is to engage customers who are in the final stage of the product lifecycle.
For example, if your packaging is compostable, make sure it has a compostable logo for materials to indicate to your customers that it should go to the recycled bin.
If it’s recyclable, give clear instructions on how to prepare the item for disposal.
- Source locally
Getting your packaging from a local supplier can benefit your business in a big way. It’s less costly, convenient and much better for the environment as it lowers your carbon footprint. It also supports local businesses which is great for the economy.
- Ship in a smaller package
When your box is too spacious for the product to be shipped, you’ll end up stashing empty space between the product and the box with fillers which only adds to the plastic trash. Trimming your packaging size can cut down on your shipping costs, material costs, resources, and emissions en route to your customers.
- Work with sustainable suppliers
Sustainable packaging is not just about the materials, it’s also about the sourcing and the processing. Do your research and find out how your potential supplier manufacturers their product and what they’re doing to minimize their carbon footprint.
With New Zealand landfills brimming with billions of plastic waste, an increasing number of businesses are acknowledging the importance of sustainability in product packaging
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to ensure that your packaging is more sustainable, from using less packaging to choosing plant-based materials. Consider adopting some of these packaging methods to save the planet.