6 Eco-friendly, Sustainable Packaging Ideas for your Products

Source: Puma — ‘Clever Little Bag’

A number of consumers nowadays are environment-conscious and are demanding products delivered to them in eco-friendly and sustainable packages. As a result of the increasing consumer tastes, corporate demands, and potential government policies that may soon come into effect, environment-friendly packaging may not remain optional for a very long time. Streamlining your company’s packaging division with eco-friendly and sustainable packaging practices will not only help your company in reducing environmental footprint but also increase brand loyalty with today’s consumers as well.

1. Optimized usage of materials

Optimized usage of materials includes lower volume and mass (product to packaging ratio), the packaging layers reduced, the packaging itself reduced, and so on. With the help of softwares such as TOPS Pro and Cape Systems, you would be able to find out the optimal combination of the packaging material and the box size. Even if your products are of odd shapes and sizes, this software will be able to find out the combination with great accuracy. Now, you have to make sure that your product reaches the customers intact. Instead of using the traditional bubble wrap, you may use the latest air cushion rolls. They are cost-effective, and you will be able to save on storage space. Also, instead of using Styrofoam, which is bad for the environment, you may opt for new types of protective materials that are eco-friendly. These materials are crack resistant and have increased shock absorption capabilities.

2. Use materials that are recyclable and biodegradable

Materials such as cardboard, paperboard, and plastic can be reconstituted, and create new items. Both recyclable and recycled materials come from different sources, you can make them adapt to your packaging easily. Following are some of the materials that are biodegradable and recyclable.

  • Corn starch — Corn starch-made items are biodegradable. They are ideal for all types of food packaging. The package can be sent via post as well. Packages made out of corn starch have limited or no negative impact on the environment.
  • Cardboard and paper — They are biodegradable, recyclable, and reusable. Paperboards are lightweight, yet strong. They can be used to pack products ranging from medicines to frozen food to cosmetics. A pizza box constructed out of corrugated boards helps to retain the heat and freshness of the pizza for a short time.
  • Biodegradable plastic — When exposed to sunlight, the biodegradable plastic decomposes. It is also used to make envelopes that are usually used for bulk mailing. Biodegradable plastic is a viable and practical alternative to traditional plastics.
  • Bubble wrap — Bubble wrap made out of recycled polyethylene is fully degradable. They help to keep your product safe.

3. Use innovative and unique materials

If you cannot avoid pictures or texts on your packages, then use inks made from milk proteins or food instead of using any chemicals that can cause harm to the environment. Soy inks, for instance, are more sustainable. Unlike petroleum-based inks, they come from a renewable source. They release zero VOCs. Soy ink-printed papers can be deinked easily. This makes the recycling process much easier. Using unique materials such as biodegradable plastic and Corn starch-made items also helps to minimize any environmental impact.

4. Reduced usage of energy

Plastic packaging can help with sustainability. First of all, it takes only less energy to manufacture plastic, compared to glass or aluminum or steel. Plastic is lightweight. When your product is placed in the plastic package, the overall weight will not increase significantly. For example, 10 gallons of juice can be stored in a 2-pound plastic container. The weight increases with aluminum or steel or glass containers. Lighter packaging amounts to less fuel in shipping. This helps to save energy.

5. Minimalist packaging

Using a big box for a small item does not make sense. It is a total waste of space and materials. What you can do is create custom packaging boxes for your products. This will help you to save materials and space all through the entire distribution process. A significant amount of wastage like this occurs in the warehousing and retailer levels. A minimalist packaging will not only set you apart from your competition but will also be appealing to the eco-conscious consumers as well.

6. Increased reuse and less spoilage

Poly bags can be used again and again. So, instead of just throwing it away, you can take it with you the next time you visit the supermarket. Reusability of packaging can help with sustainable packaging. The usage of returnable packaging is encouraged by Auto manufacturers to move items from their vendors to their automobile factories. Reusable bottles for beer, soda, and milk also make for environmental consideration when it comes to packaging. Creating higher quality bags and boxes encourage re-use, rather than being tossed away shortly after opening your product. This helps your customers remember your brand and product every time your packaging is re-used.

A few examples of sustainable and eco-friendly packaging

  • The paint and the high energy required to manufacture colored cans can be eliminated with naked cans, cans devoid of any color but has the name, logo, and other information embossed on them. The water and air pollution that happens during the coloring process can be avoided. Also, during the recycling process, it takes a lot of effort and energy to remove the colors from the aluminum cans. With naked cans, this process can be eliminated.
  • Traditional CD/DVD cases can be replaced by sustainable ones. A continuous strip that is detachable, and has the ability to adapt to the number of CDs/DVDs to be packaged, made out of recyclable/recycled cardboard, devoid of any adhesive.
  • Biodegradable packaging for meat. Treating the paper with waterproof starch will help to prevent discoloration and any damp spots.
  • The bag introduced by Puma to pack their shoes is a prime example of sustainable and eco-friendly packaging. The company structured a cardboard sheet and made the bag. This helped them to save 65% of cardboard. The bag has no laminated printing. It weighs less, which is a plus in the energy saving department, and takes up only less space. Also, the need for another bag to carry the shoe box is eliminated in this scenario.

Remember that ensuring your product’s packaging is environmentally friendly not only shows your company’s commitment to the customer, but also indirectly shows your consideration to the your community and environment as a whole. Impress your customers with innovative custom packaging that not only grabs their attention, but also sets an example to others how minimal, eco-friendly options can be especially effective in inspiring interest.

You can find out more options for creating custom eco-friendly packaging with PakFactory, a leading online packaging manufacturer, providing short-run custom boxes and packaging for startups.