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The Upcoming Trend of Implementing and Offering Sustainable Custom Packaging Design

The packaging industry has grown tremendously over the years particularly in recent times and since the introduction of custom packaging. The packaging industry was estimated to be worth nearly 1,002.48 billion in 2021, with further growth and serving almost every sector with diverse needs.

Custom packaging is the best solution for small and medium-sized businesses, companies, and startup organizations. It can help them keep the products safe and increase their brand identity.

One can use custom packaging for a variety of retail products, cosmetics, food, beverages, and other consumer goods that require shipping, transportation, and display in the store. Packaging has many elements, from designing, developing, and packaging material to printing. The design of these boxes is the first stage. The next stage is the selection of packaging material based on the type of the product.

The traditional packaging materials such as plastic and glass were not deemed safe for the environment as, after usage, the boxes ended up in land waste. And they increased the carbon footprint as the packaging material is not biodegradable.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Sustainable Packaging Design?
  2. The Need for Sustainable Design?
  3. How Can Customers Play Their Part In Environmental Betterment?
  4. How Packaging Companies implement Eco-friendly Options
  5. Why the Future of Custom Packaging involves Sustainable Design?
  6. Steps Towards Sustainable Packaging Design
  7. Takeaway

What is Sustainable Packaging Design?

One aspect that has become a key in custom packaging apart from structural design and digital printing is environmental responsibility and developing packaging practices that fulfill sustainable requirements. 

For example, in the food industry, the packaging material is critical and regulating authorities verify if a particular material is safe and can be used for the intended shelf life period for the product or not.

One of the key challenges for numerous packaging companies is to develop product packaging design that integrates sustainability and environmental responsibility. Packaging significantly impacts the environment, and packaging companies are identifying every process from materials to processes.

According to research, packaged boxes are thrown away after usage and make up almost 24% of landfills every year, and it does not include the boxes thrown in rivers, roadways, and oceans. The complete life cycle of a packaged box is studied as a benchmark on which other designs and the development of other custom boxes are based. The life cycle assessment includes:

a) The packaging material, whether it is cardboard, fiberboard, corrugated, or Kraft

b) The packaging process

c) Aimed products

d) The logistics and delivery system; and

e) Waste management

The Need for Sustainable Design?

The packaging companies know the relevant regulations for packaging manufacturing, selling, and using for their products. The traditional R’s considered for sustainable design include ‘Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce.’ The most vital function of these boxes is for the safety and security of the contents. 

In contrast, digital printing applies a formal theme, company logo, color, artwork, and other necessary details on the packaging. If you do not use superior material quality, it can lead to the degradation and loss of contents, resulting in customer dissatisfaction.

Modern packaging companies are aware of the growing concern of climate change resulting in extreme weather patterns across the globe. The current global scenario calls for positive input along every stage of the packaging value chain, which includes:

a) Sourcing from responsible and credible sources

b) Converting the material into a form that is suitable for custom packaging

c) The packaging design that represents the specifications of the proposed custom boxes

d) The innovative digital and offset printing

e) End-of-life options such as reusability allow consumers to use the packaged box for other purposes such as storing household things.

How Can Customers Play Their Part In Environmental Betterment?

Apart from packaging providers, the consumers also should play a part and carry out their social responsibility. Consumers can reduce their packaging footprint by choosin6g a custom design that utilizes the packaging material that is eco-friendly, recyclable, and does not add to land waste. Experts say to consider the four below factors to determine the sustainability of a packaging solution;

Effective: Ensures protection of package contents and adds value

Cyclic: The materials used for packaging should be cycled multiple times to minimize degradation

Efficient: The machines and systems should utilize the packaging materials efficiently and provide a robust, durable, and flexible quality

Safe: The complete packaged box should not pose any risk to human health

Implementing lean technology is best for streamlining the packaging process, minimizing waste, and highlighting processes requiring fewer materials. The sustainable design improves the shelf life and enhances the longevity of the products.

How Packaging Companies implement Eco-friendly Options

Sustainable design is easily achievable by using modern practices, efficient resource designs, and recycled and renewable packaging materials.

Nowadays, it is easy for packaging companies to source renewable materials and incorporate them in custom designs. The recent trend is to buy packaging design and then use flexible packaging that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improving the value of the custom boxes and reducing overall cost, which is why many packaging companies offer wholesale rates on bulk orders.

Conventional packaging systems use up to 80% of the energy. Hence results in increased carbon emissions that are not good for the environment. The alternative and sustainable design can extend shelf life, prevent damage or leakage of the intended content or product, and allow consumers to save money.

Sustainable design is not an option but a necessity. The pillars of the eco-friendly environment always revolved around ‘reduce, recycle, and reuse’. And all the multinational companies and big corporations are taking steps to reflect sustainable values through their products and services.

Technological advancement has played an essential role in breakthroughs in eco-friendly designs and even experimenting with sophisticated and new styles. This allows brands and businesses to achieve diversification and a competitive edge.

Eco-friendly design is where the packaging material reduces its carbon footprint over time. And one can achieve eco-friendly packaging by considering three factors that are:

Materials: Make sure to use packaging material that is 100% renewable and natural

Process: Implementing lean methods throughout the value chain

Reusability: Allowing consumers the option to use the custom boxes for other purposes

Why the Future of Custom Packaging involves Sustainable Design?

Sustainable packaging design is a custom packaging process that emphasizes putting in as little negative impact on the environment as possible. Durable material such as Kraft ticks all the right boxes as it is sturdy, flexible, long-lasting, and recyclable. The flexibility in design allows companies and entrepreneurs to bring an intelligent and innovative design. Having unique packaging designs can enhance the brand appeal and entice customers to buy.

The reusability options increase brand loyalty as consumers want to associate with brands that follow social responsibilities and reflect them through their products and services. The smaller and medium consumer brands are focusing on sustainable options owing to limited budgets and want to achieve a competitive edge.

Cardboard is an evergreen packaging material that is organic, robust, and biodegradable. Corrugated material is another popular material known for its strength and stability. It is used for storing and shipping heavy objects.

A simple cardboard box is said to be over 80% recyclable. The main ingredient of cardboard comes from paper pulp and raw materials extracted from the trees.

Apart from the natural raw materials, bio-based plastics, more commonly called corn plastic, are made from organic compounds and are now used as packaging material.

Steps Towards Sustainable Packaging Design

The simple steps that a brand can take to move towards a sustainable design are

If, for example, your cosmetic brand has a long list of products such as lipstick, mascara, foundation, eye-liner, nail polish, cream, and perfume, then it is better first to test the sustainable design on one product. If the results are fantastic, revamp your branding and packaging for every other product.

It is better to ask for packaging samples that can give you a fair idea of the design, and you can also add modifications.

You must evaluate the total number of custom boxes required and the total cost. Many businesses think custom packaging is expensive. But on the contrary, recyclable materials and wholesale rates make these boxes economical.

An eco-friendly design sits well among your target audience as it reflects your brand's responsive social awareness.
A marketing campaign can simply rely on sustainable design

Climate change is very much real, and every individual and business company must play its part in saving and caring for the environment and leaving it in a better shape for our future generations. The sustainability in custom packaging is just beginning, but it will soon become a standard in the overall design of custom boxes.


Sustainable packaging is an undeniable reality. Brands or businesses that ignore it cannot survive in the market for so long. As the growing eco-consciousness can increase their charm for buyers. To stay competitive in the market, it has become essential to go for eco-friendly packaging solutions that do not leave any carbon footprints or negatively impact the environment.

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