It can really pay off to use sustainable, eco-friendly materials as packaging and most companies have already employed this to some degree. However, are you using all the tricks in the book to ensure that your packaging is as green as possible?
Not all sustainable packaging is eco-friendly and vice versa, so what do you need to do to ensure that you really are getting the best of both worlds?
Eco-Friendly Things to Think About
Who are your packaging suppliers? It isn’t just the energy and emissions used in creating the packaging that you need to think about. You also need to consider the carbon footprint of transporting that product from wherever it is in the world. Using local suppliers is a great way of cutting down your output, while helping the local economy and even reducing the waiting time for new stock.
Is all your packaging green? This is something that many companies neglect. Often the customer facing packaging will be biodegradable or made from sustainable materials, however the secondary and tertiary levels may be neglected here. Make sure that you are using green packaging at every level and you will notice huge reductions in your waste and carbon footprint which could turn into real world savings.
How are you printing? Just because the materials you are using are sustainable or biodegradable, if you’re using oil based inks then you can still be damaging the environment. There are lots of alternatives available to you, such as soy based ink, hybrid system ink, eco solvent ink and even water-based ink.
Too Much Packaging
Another thing that you need to look at is just how much packaging you’re using. It may be worth trying to cut down the amount of packaging you’re using and instead focus on containing your products in the most efficient way possible. This can help to reduce the overall bulk, allowing you to fit more units into the secondary and tertiary packaging – again reducing your transportation costs and lowering your carbon footprint.
Why not look into reusable packaging options at a tertiary level? Not only can this save you money in the long run, you can also use materials that offer greater protection than disposable units, and reduce your company’s waste products. Be careful that you don’t remove too much packaging however, as this can cause damage to your products and at a user level can look unattractive and therefore put potential customers off.
Biodegradable vs Recyclable vs Sustainable
There is no right answer for which material is better to use for your packaging requirements. Most biodegradable packaging will decompose into just CO2 and water, making it a great solution for the environment. Recyclable on the other hand allows the materials to be processed and reused again, reducing the amount of new material being needed to produce your packaging.
Unlike biodegradable or recyclable units, sustainable packaging focuses more on being responsibly sourced. This could be replacing a certain number of trees for each tree used or using fast growing materials like bamboo. There are some materials that combine all these factors to create the most eco-friendly packaging option there is, helping to save the planet one product at a time.