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Why It's The Right Time to Switch to Sustainable Packaging?

In the 21st century, we are exploring sustainability more than ever. As we continue to experience the effects of climate change, it's crucial to reduce the negative effects of our lifestyles on the environment. 

Many consumers now place a high value on issues like sustainability. As a company, it's your responsibility to recognize your clients' objectives and changes in their buying behaviors. 

Expressing your dedication to the environment is vital and simple. And starting with your packaging is a wise move. 

But how can you do that?  

Fortunately, businesses seek more sustainable packaging solutions; therefore, various options are available depending on the product type. 

In this article, we will review what sustainable packaging is, its materials, some of its problems, and some of the advantages of choosing it.  

We'll also look at several global approaches and strategies the top brands are pursuing. 

So, let's begin learning! 

What is Sustainable Packaging?  

Maintaining ecological balance and preventing the depletion of natural resources are the basis of sustainability.

sustainable packaging

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition's (SPC) list of requirements for sustainable packaging is as follows; 

1. Packaging should be produced from recyclable or renewable resources. 

2. It should be produced utilizing clean production methods and/or renewable energy. 

By adopting a sustainable approach for your product's packaging, you can assess the following facts:  

1. You will improve the environment and ensure that your brand meets consumer expectations. 

2. Whether recycled or used again, packaging has been given a new life. You can evaluate your packaging performance by assessing the life-cycle of its sustainable packaging materials.  

3. What are the actual costs involved in producing the item, and what effects will they have on the environment? 

The question is, why has the topic of sustainable packaging gained so much popularity? Let's see:  

Why is Sustainable Packaging Important?  

There are several reasons why sustainability is vital. Aside from the effects on the climate, customers now place a lot of emphasis on sustainability. Customers want brands and businesses to adopt environmentally friendly production practices. 

That is a major element to remember if you own a business. 

In a DotCom Distribution study, 57% of participants claimed that green packaging is essential to them, and 48% of those surveyed said that if a product they received featured unsustainable packaging, they would think about switching brands.  

Ugh. That is an easy way to lose clients. 

Sustainability is clearly in demand, and businesses that accomplish it frequently succeed. 

Businesses now place a high priority on using sustainable packaging materials as a result of rising consumer eco-consciousness. 

Read More: The Growing Trend of Implementing and Offering Sustainable Custom Packaging Design

Sustainable Packaging Solutions 

There are presently many eco-friendly sustainable packaging options available, and as the number of environmentally concerned consumers rises, this industry will continue to develop. 

In many aspects of our life today, sustainability has become the standard. This applies equally to packaging. 

To meet the demands of their customers and develop a powerful brand story, many firms are now choosing more environmentally friendly packaging options. 

1. Opt for Paper over Plastic  

Do you know what the primary suggestion is for quickly switching to sustainability? 

When possible, choose paper instead of plastic for your packaging. The preferable choice is paper because it is biodegradable and made from renewable resources. 

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which only awards certification to paper made from responsibly sourced wood fiber, should be consulted when choosing packaging paper. 

The grade of the paper is another consideration when choosing a paper packaging option. Paper packaging is commonly used in the food industry as sustainable food packaging. By choosing unbleached Kraft paper, you can preserve your goods from damage while ensuring that your packaging solutions are sustainable.  

2. Non-Toxic Safe Dyes 

Numerous components, including typography, artwork design, and other printed materials, will probably be included in your product packaging to help it stand out from competitors. 

Use secure, water-based dyes for your sustainable packaging design if you want to win the hearts of your buyers. To keep your packaging materials recyclable, try to stay away from bleach and chemical dyes. 

3. Composable and Recyclable Packaging 

It can be difficult to produce sustainable goods, especially when transportation and safety concerns are involved. 

Selecting recyclable packaging is a smart solution. The packaging can still be used again after the production and sale phases. 

Additionally, recyclable packaging contains boxes that can be put to different uses after being used once. 

For instance, custom sustainable packaging appears precious and of high quality, so customers are less likely to discard it. As a result, they end up using this packaging as storage containers and turning them into home decoration pieces. 

Read More: Compostable Packaging: The Next Big Thing in Consumerism?

Similar to recyclable packaging, compostable packaging may be broken down and composted back into the earth.  

Are you ready to choose sustainable packaging materials?  

Different Sustainable Packaging Materials

sustainable box packaging

These are a few of our top recommendations: 

1. Corrugated Cardboard and Kraft Folding Carton 

Corrugated cardboard and Kraft folding carton are the most popular sustainable packaging options if you are seeking recyclable packaging. 

These environmentally friendly boxes are often created using recycled and sustainable forestry-derived materials. 

Most people already recognize it as environmentally friendly, which makes it a fantastic sustainable alternative. 

2. Packing Paper 

One of the most popular methods for protecting the components from damage is packing paper, which is fortunately also environmentally friendly. 

Paper packaging is recyclable and compostable, whether you need to wrap fragile items or add stuffing. 

As Kraft paper, which is used to make packaging paper, is already environmentally friendly, you can utilize it for sustainable initiatives as long as it isn't bleached. 

3. Reusable Packaging  

If companies can incorporate reusable packaging with their products, it is generally considered a very environmentally beneficial alternative to sustainable packaging. 

Glass bottles, kegs, pallets, etc., are just a few examples of appropriate sustainable cannabis packaging frequently employed in the food or CBD industry. 

This type of packing can be used by small, local businesses and shipping applications. 

Reusable tote bags and premium packaging are two of the best examples of reusable packaging because they can be used for many applications besides just product packaging. 

Reusable Plastic Totes 

Reusable plastic totes can be used for transportation, but they are not a packaging solution for every firm. Community Supported Agriculture Programs employ plastic totes and have had great success with their initiatives. 

They can be reused rather than recycled. So, plastic totes are an environmentally friendly substitute for cardboard boxes in some situations. You can easily get these materials from a professional, sustainable packaging company.  

Reusable plastic totes are most advantageous to the apparel business, particularly with the rise of e-commerce during the pandemic. 

Reusable plastic totes make it simple for customers to return items, which makes online shopping more convenient than ever and, most importantly, sustainable! 

4. Plant-Based Packaging  

A lot of new plant-based packaging materials are being developed, which is encouraging for the future of sustainable packaging. 

Despite being relatively new to the market, plant-based packaging is gaining popularity in the packaging sector. 

Let's look at some future instances that would become more common in the future: 

Mushroom Packaging 

More research and development are expected into this sort of packaging as it is still a developing choice in green sustainable packaging. The mushroom's mycelium, or root system, transforms into a mold and is used in mushroom packaging. After that, it is baked to create a safe packaging cushioning. 

Major firms like Ikea are presently attempting to introduce mushroom packaging into their supply chains to employ more environmentally friendly packaging materials for their products. 

Cornstarch Packaging 

Cornstarch packaging is another natural, eco-friendly option quickly gaining popularity. It is a good option for businesses looking for sustainable box materials for their food products.  

Cornstarch packaging, which comes from maize plants, is more like plastic and is a great substitute when additional security is required to keep things inside the box. This packaging is a very adaptable kind of sustainable packaging since it is simple to convert into various shapes. 

Cornstarch packaging is used more frequently for takeout cartons in the restaurant business. 

Seaweed Packaging 

Another developing sustainable packaging material that has many applications in seaweed packaging. 

Instead of actual seaweed, agar, a gelatinous material found in seaweed and algae, is used to make seaweed packaging. 

Watch out for more packaging from this abundant material since it is now widely used! 

Plantable Packaging 

One of the more creative forms of sustainable packaging is plantable packaging, which gives your clients the impression that they are supporting a greater environmental cause. 

Plantable packaging, as you might have guessed, is a type of packaging that contains seeds. Customers can plant the packaging and watch it grow after they've used it. 

It produces stunning packaging with a deeper meaning. Moreover, it gives the best unwrapping experience and works best for lightweight items like jewelry and cosmetics. 

Cosmetics and jewelry industries are now frequently employing plantable packaging as sustainable jewelry packaging and sustainable cosmetic packaging. The main reason is it holds the products gracefully and casts a spell with its appealing customized designs.  

6. Edible Packaging 

Edible packaging is a delicious and useful choice made from plant-based materials, and it tastes good enough to eat! 

Being a distinctive and one of the best sustainable materials that surprises and delights customers, it's one of the best environmentally friendly food packaging solutions. 

The restaurant sector may soon switch to edible packaging as a viable plastic replacement, employing ingredients derived from algae, natural sugars, and natural colors from fruit and vegetable skin to make beautiful and edible food packaging.  

Read More: Edible Packaging: A Remarkable Approach Towards A Healthy Environment

7. Dissolvable Packaging 

Dissolvable packaging is a new type of environmentally friendly solution that is water-soluble. 

Once more, this is being explored as a potential plastic substitute. 

Laundry pods and dishwasher pods are two examples of how this form of packaging has already become widespread. Not only does it eliminate single-use plastic wrappers, but it also improves customer convenience.  

Dissolvable packaging includes laundry bags, garment bags, and shopping bags that decompose in hot water and have similar advantages to single-use plastics. 

8. Compostable Mailers and Packaging Peanuts 

Compostable mailers make an excellent substitute for smaller products when a sustainable packaging box might not be appropriate. 

These are often produced from sustainable plant materials like corn husks and straw, while other mailers are manufactured from recycled paper. 

Compostable mailers, which are biodegradable and compostable, are a fantastic ecological packaging option for smaller or less fragile items. 

Compostable packaging peanuts, like compostable mailers, are created from renewable plant materials like corn starch and grain sorghum. These packing peanuts are biodegradable and dissolve in water.

Read More: Compostable Packaging: The Next Big Thing in Consumerism? 

9. Bioplastics 

In essence, bioplastics are bio-based polymers produced from the sugars in sugarcane, corn starch, and cassava. 

This biodegradable plastic is becoming increasingly popular as a substitute for petroleum-based plastic. 

Although it is largely employed in the food and beverage sector, the goal is to broaden its application to become a viable plastic substitute in various sectors. 

Sustainable Packaging Issues 

Sustainable packaging has its own set of problems. Some can be readily avoided, while others should be considered from the branding standpoint.

sustainable packaging boxes

Using environmentally friendly packing materials is a big step. To achieve a comprehensive sustainable approach, you must examine your total packaging materials and how the product is distributed and promoted. 

1. Excessive Packaging 

In sustainability, wastage is an extremely important factor to consider. 

Waste is waste, no matter how environmentally friendly. 

The material should be considered when making your packaging more environmentally friendly. There are probably other materials inside the container for cushioning and protection that could work against your sustainable initiative, whether for sustainable food packaging or cosmetics packaging. 

How much of those materials are required, and what can be taken out without risk of harm? 

Is your product's packaging subject to any limitations or rules? 

Some of it is unavoidable for businesses. 

Currently, it is not possible to avoid the need for cushioning or protection for transported products. These components ensure that your products are safe for your customers and are there for a good reason. 

However, cutting back on the major part of these materials and using only necessary items is already a step toward a more sustainable packaging method. 

2. Non-recyclable, Non-biodegradable Materials 

It can be difficult to find water- and tear-resistant sustainable packaging materials. Firms are left wondering what strategy would be ideal in this situation to ensure that their items are delivered to their clients. 

Finding non-plastic, water- and tear-resistant material might be challenging. 

Even recycled plastic comes with obstacles, such as using fossil fuels during recycling, which increases the problem.  

3. Greenwashing  

Although it may not be a well-known term, it must be considered. 

Packaging is not as sustainable as it is represented to be in this situation, which is effectively a sort of deceptive advertising. 

Sustainability claims may be made to get more attention to the rapidly growing sustainable buying trend. 

For instance, it's not always simple to differentiate non-biodegradable polymers from biodegradable plastics. 

Read More: Biodegradable Packaging: The Need Of The Hour

Advertising plastic packaging as biodegradable when it is not is very common because who can truly tell the difference in any case? 

4. Sustainability and Shipping 

Even if you select the most environmentally friendly packaging, you still need to consider how the products will be transported to your clients. 

Most traditional shipping methods have a substantial carbon footprint, particularly when goods need to travel across extended distances. 

It's important to consider how you can reduce the carbon footprint left behind or, at the very least, if you can convert to carbon-neutral solutions because this can make your total packaging and branding less environmentally friendly. 

For example, choosing ground or sea transport over air freight may be better when evaluating your sustainable shipping packaging. 

Benefits of Sustainable Packaging

1. Marketing Value 

Sustainable packaging is quite beneficial in terms of marketing. It helps you create authentic customer relationships and develop your brand story. 

Sustainable packaging boxes, when done right, demonstrate that you care about your customers and, as a company, you are aware of your responsibility to save planet earth.  

It's a method of brand uniqueness that can significantly boost your profitability. 

For instance, H&M has worked to increase the sustainability of all of its operations, and one of the first ways they demonstrated this dedication to their customers was through their packaging. 

2. Design and Material Optimization 

Once you put your production line to the test for sustainability, you'll discover various ways to maximize your sustainable packaging to reduce waste and save expenses overall. 

It also enables you to assess the materials employed to determine whether more affordable solutions can be more environmentally friendly or not. 

3. Reducing Negative Impacts 

In general, sustainable packaging results in a less negative impact on your company, the environment, and consumers. 

If you can design eco-friendly, lightweight packaging to replace some of your larger and heavier items, you'll probably experience decreased shipping costs on the commercial side. 

By doing this, your company will lessen its carbon impact, and as fewer resources will be required to ship your shipment, this will also affect your shipping operations.

eco friendly packaging 

It is a continuous effort that is effective. Sustainable packaging conveys a message about your brand standards. Customers who know you care about the environment will appreciate this quality and go out of their way to seek your products to support this cause. 

For the world and you, it's a win-win situation! 

Read More: Pros and Cons of Eco-Friendly Packaging