As customers increasingly look for brands that practice sustainability and business owners look for ways to meet that demand, it only makes sense to take a closer look at your packaging choices. That’s especially true now as the exponential rise of eCommerce has us sending and receiving more packages than ever before.
One small change can make a difference, but implementing several sustainable packaging best practices together can make a big dent. It’s also one of the most cost-efficient ways to make a pivot in comparison to other sustainability strategies for your business.
What Is Sustainable Packaging?
At the most basic level, packaging is sustainable when it works to lessen your brand’s carbon footprint. Here is a more sophisticated, comprehensive set of qualifications. Sustainable packaging:
- Is beneficial, safe, and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle
- Meets market criteria for performance and cost
- Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy
- Maximizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials
- Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices
- Is made from materials healthy in all probable end-of-life scenarios
- Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy
- Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial cradle-to-cradle cycles.
These qualifications are what’s computed into an equation that then becomes a life cycle assessment, or the analysis of the environmental impact of a product or service over its lifespan. Choose packaging types and strategies that prove to have a lower impact at the end of the assessment.
Types of Sustainable Packaging
Using the criteria above, there are several types of sustainable packaging material you can learn from.
Corrugated cardboard: This has long been the go-to packaging of choice for 90% of every product shipped. While it’s quite popular, it’s also highly sustainable: Cardboard can be recycled 25 times before it’s composted or thrown away.
Packing paper: Another gold standard, you can use packing paper to protect against products shifting or breaking on the way to the customer. Paper is also as recyclable and compostable as cardboard — something that can’t be said about bubble wrap.
Eco-friendly plastic: Innovation in plastic manufacturing has produced cutting-edge and durable materials that can work when plastic is absolutely necessary for packaging or shipping. Many plastics are now recycled and recyclable by default.
Biobased materials: Scientists are turning to plants to help create super sustainable, bio-based packaging from things like mushrooms, seaweed, and even cornstarch. These packaging materials can become even more sustainable when they’re made from agricultural waste.
Glass: Food and beverage packaging especially can benefit from the utilization of glass. It protects liquids and perishables, it’s more recyclable than plastics, and glass packaging can be cleaned and reused. A caveat: It’s on the expensive side.
Partner With the Professionals
Once you’ve done some research on sustainability in packaging and you have an idea of what you think you might want, it’s time to seek out a packaging vendor that can help maintain your sustainability efforts. Not only should they be able to offer design and fabrication guidance, but they’ll also have access to sustainable materials to create your custom packaging.
We operate our business with a commitment to sound environmental management, in compliance with all federal, state, and local standards. We operate our facilities in an environmentally sound manner and ensure the safe and responsible utilization and consumption of all input materials and by-products. Our processes also support conservation, recycling, and the reduction of wastes.
Finally: Spread the News
These days, opting for sustainability practices gives your brand or business a serious competitive edge, but you shouldn’t wait for people to notice when you make the big move. Sustainability is definitely something to brag about and it should be a part of your branding message. From social media to your website, and even any print marketing materials you have, make sure you include a point about your sustainable packaging.
Relentless attention to quality within and throughout our manufacturing processes and a firm commitment to serving our customers has fostered our strong and steady growth over the years and remains our focus today. Our breadth of in-house design and manufacturing capabilities position us to be a low-cost producer and effectively compete for your business. Ready to make a sustainable splash with your packaging? Get in touch with our team.