If you’re an ecommerce business, you may be wondering how you can package your products in a cost effective way that’s better for the environment. Environmentally sustainable packaging is highly rated by your customers, with 64% of consumers more likely to buy from businesses who provide packaging that’s better for the planet. Keep reading to find out what sustainable packaging is and how it can benefit your business.
What is sustainable packaging?
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) defines sustainable packaging as the following:
- Beneficial, safe & healthy for people throughout its life cycle.
- Achieves performance criteria and is cost effective.
- Uses only renewable energy.
- Made from renewable or recycled materials
- Manufactured using clean technologies and best practices
- Designed to optimise materials and energy.
- Is part of a closed loop cycle.
The Benefits of Sustainable Packaging
Sustainable packaging does right by people and planet. It’s the best way to get your products to your customers without causing any harm. But that’s not the only benefit to your business.
1. Benefit the environment
Eco friendly packaging is better for the environment, helping you to reduce your carbon emissions and cut waste. Choose to reuse cardboard boxes to save trees, water, energy and carbon.
2. Benefit people
Packaging that is better for the planet is also better for people. Sustainable packaging produces less carbon emissions and uses less resources, providing a better world for us all.
3. Save money
If you currently pack your products in plastic, you might be aware of The Plastic Packaging Tax, due to come into force on the 1st of April 2022. Designed to be an ‘environmental tax’, it aims to reduce the amount of single use plastic we use by making new plastic more expensive. Save money by moving away from new or single use plastic.
4. Enhance your brand reputation
According to Nielson, 73% of consumers would change their shopping habits to help the environment. Eco friendly packaging will turn your customers into raving fans, getting you repeat orders and more engagement on social media.
5. Protect Your Products
Planet friendly packaging is often designed for more than one use. This makes it extra strong and durable compared to single use packaging that is often used only once before ending up in landfill.
The Waste Hierarchy & Sustainable Packaging
The Waste Hierarchy ranks waste management options according to what is best for the environment. Keeping products in use for longer and preventing waste is most preferable. Many people see ‘recycling’ as a sustainable practice but it is ranked low on the waste hierarchy. This is due to the value lost in the recycling process and the resources required. Consider plastic waste. Only 9% of all plastic ever produced globally has been recycled. Even in the UK we are struggling to cope with our plastic waste. According to Greenpeace, the UK dumps the equivalent of 3 and a half Olympic size swimming pools of rubbish every single day in countries that have no hope of being able to process it.
If businesses are to truly embrace sustainable packaging, they must start using packaging that is reusable and not destined for the recycling or waste streams. Luckily, a number of more planet friendly packaging options have been developed.
Our Recommended Sustainable Packaging Options
There is a huge range of sustainable packaging options to choose from and this is not an exhaustive list. It’s a good idea to discuss the options with a Sustainable Packaging Specialist to help you find the most suitable type for your product.
Reusable Cardboard Boxes
Manufacturers of cardboard boxes have seen a huge growth in demand over the last 2 years. Cardboard is easy to recycle and biodegradable, making it an easy choice for many. It also has excellent protective qualities. However, let’s not forget that cardboard boxes are still costly to produce and recycle and cardboard itself cannot be recycled infinitely. Reuseabox rescue Once Used Cardboard Boxes from the waste stream and make them available as low cost, super sustainable packaging options. Pack your products in once used boxes for an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. Choose from a Range of Sizes & Designs.
Manufactured from natural alternatives such as sugar cane, potato starch or mushrooms, compostable packaging is designed to structurally break down and decompose after a few months. This process works best in industrial composting facilities but can also work in home composting bins. Look for packaging that meets the EU compostability standard EN13432. We’d recommend investigating compostable bags if you currently use plastic bags. However, be aware that compostable polythene bags are usually more expensive and may take a lot longer to break down if they are not disposed of properly. Polybags has a great range of compostable packaging to choose from.
Reusable Tote Bags
Cotton tote bags make a great sustainable alternative to plastic bags. They can be reused multiple times and can be easily washed in the washing machine. Bag It Don’t Bin It are specialist manufacturers of organic and fairtrade certified cotton bags. They can even print the bags with your preferred design.
Eco-Friendly Void Fill
There’s nothing worse than receiving a damaged product. That’s why many businesses invest money in protective void fill to cushion their products during transit. There are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to non-recyclable plastic bubble wrap. Hexcel do a great paper based bubble wrap for more delicate items. Or try wrapping your products in recyclable, biodegradable paper. Shredded cardboard makes a great low cost alternative and will provide plenty of soft cushioning for your products.
The sustainable packaging revolution is here to stay. It’s time to embrace more circular options, with reusable packaging being top of the list. Not only will this help you to significantly reduce your carbon footprint, you will also turn your customers into raving fans! Check out our range of Reusable Cardboard Boxes or discuss your requirements with one of our Packaging Specialists.