Sustainable packaging is becoming more important to business than it has ever been. Not only is a company’s eco-consciousness an important part of its brand, but more and more, customers are demanding not only sustainable products but sustainable packaging as well.
What makes packaging sustainable?
Packaging can be made sustainable or more sustainable in many different ways ranging from using less material, to using more ecologically friendly material to innovative design ideas and zero waste options.
Typically, sustainable packaging materials come from recyclable, biodegradable, or renewable sources. There are even packaging technologies that help prevent waste of the product itself by increasing shelf-life.
Generally speaking though, sustainable packaging should follow four basic principles:
- Effective – protects the product as it travels through the supply chain to the end-user.
- Efficient – packaging materials are used as efficiently as possible to avoid waste.
- Cyclic – packaging materials are cycled through systems to minimize degradation or the need to use additives.
- Safe – packaging does not pose a danger to human health or the environment.
The impact of unsustainable packaging
The packaging industry as a whole has had a negative impact on our planet, contributing to more than 23% of the waste that ends up in our landfills every year.[i] And this does not include the packaging materials that are thrown away as litter and end up along roadways and in our lakes, rivers, and oceans.
Chemicals commonly used to produce certain packaging materials such as Bisphenol-A (BPA)[ii], and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)[iii], have been linked to a plethora of health problems including infertility and cancer.
Considering the harmful impact that conventional packaging has had, it is no wonder there is such a push now to make packaging more sustainable!
How your company can benefit from sustainable packaging
In this article, we have already discussed the growing demographic that of environmentally conscious consumers that would prefer to do business with like-minded companies. To be frank, if you are not already starting to invest in sustainable packaging practices, you are already behind your competition.
Sustainable packaging can help you improve your bottom line in the future with the acquisition of more customers, but it can also help you improve your bottom line right now. Large companies such as Coca-Cola have adopted more resource-efficient designs and they are using more renewable and recycled materials. As a result of their investing in sustainability, the company reports saving approximately $180 million per year.[iv]
Sourcing sustainable packaging for your company
While it might seem like a daunting tasking, sourcing sustainable packaging materials is easier than you think. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
- Consider switching to flexible packaging which reduces weight (and therefore fuel) during transport.
- Work with suppliers that specialize in sustainable packaging and that avoid the use of toxic chemicals in their packaging.
- Avoid over-packaging your products.
- Use environmentally friendly links for printing.
There are many options for businesses when it comes to sustainable packaging, but with a little research and creativity, you can find the option that works best for your brand.
Supply Chain, we pride ourselves on helping your product move through all parts
of the supply chain. If you require advice or assistance reducing your carbon
footprint through the use of sustainable packaging, contact us today.