Running a business doesn’t just start and stop with your customers. Many companies have an unintentional impact on the environment as a direct result of their business.
One of the best ways to reduce your impact on the environment is to take advantage of eco-friendly packaging materials. Check out the following eight examples of eco-friendly packaging materials that can help the environment:
1. Cardboard Packaging Materials
Finding ways to incorporate cardboard into your packaging is an excellent way to contribute to the environment. Certain companies like GE are switching their traditional packaging to recycled cardboard instead of new materials.
Cardboard packaging is often simpler in terms of looks, but it can still be practical and protect your products during shipping. Manufacturers can produce cardboard in a variety of shapes, which makes it a flexible material that you can use to contribute to the condition of the environment.
2. Features That Encourage Reusability
One of the most practical ways to create eco friendly packaging materials is to find ways to make the packaging reusable. Packaging with reusable features is more likely to serve more than one purpose, which prevents it from being thrown away after a customer purchases your product.
Something as simple as adding a handle to your package or a resealable flap can encourage your customer to reuse your packaging in the future. Finding ways to prolong the useful lifespan of your packaging is a great way to reduce your company’s impact on the environment.
Even though reusable packaging is great for the environment, there also needs to be an emphasis on the usability aspect. The packaging should be useful, built sturdily, and contain no structural design flaws. For extra precautions, package integrity testing and leak testing should be performed to ensure the package is both usable and reusable.
3. Ecofriendly Product Dimensions
A lot of companies cause unnecessary waste by using too many materials in their product packaging. It’s common to purchase a product in a box far too big for the actual product. Simply choosing an appropriately sized box for your product will help you reduce unnecessary waste.
Consider how much packaging and padding your package actually needs in order to reach your customers safely. Customizing your packaging to your exact product dimensions is a great way to give your customers fewer materials to dispose of while helping your company reduce their environmental footprint.
4. Biodegradable Packing Accessories
Packaging accessories used for protection are the biggest culprits when it comes to unnecessary waste. Almost 100% of packing peanuts, plastic wrap, and bubble wrap end up getting thrown away as soon as a customer receives their package. There’s a very high chance that the packing accessories you include with your product will eventually end up in a landfill, which is toxic for the environment.
Switching to biodegradable shipping envelopes, biodegradable bubble wrap, and biodegradable packing peanuts is a smart way to decrease the amount of harmful waste created by your packages.
5. Use Recycled Materials Where Possible
Using recycled materials is one of the smartest ways your company can help keep the environment safe. Using boxes and packaging made from recycled content is a great way to diminish potential waste. Using recycled materials helps you cut down on the pollution caused by the pulp and paper industry. Using old newspapers as padding is a smart and cost-effective way you can incorporate recycled materials in your packaging.
You can contact local newspapers in your area and use old issues in your packaging, which is an excellent way to contribute to recycling in your community. Recycled carton tape, recycled corrugated bubble wrap, and boxes made from recycled materials are examples of how you can incorporate recycled materials in your packaging.
6. Create Packaging Unique To Your Product
Creating unique packaging requires a bit of upfront work, but it can save you money in the long term and help you protect the environment. Taking a minimalist approach to designing your product packaging is one of the more innovative techniques companies are using to reduce package waste.
Using a pouch design is a smart way to give your product protection while keeping the packaging size to a minimum. Packages with pouch designs require fewer structural elements, and in the event they end up in a landfill, they take up less space than traditional boxes.
7. Take Advantage Of Bioplastics
Another emerging trend in eco-friendly packaging materials is using bioplastics. Bioplastics are plastics made from plant-derived materials. Bioplastic packaging can be made from woodchips, recycled food waste, straw, and even certain types of mushrooms.
The production of bioplastic significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions when compared to creating traditional packaging materials. The only issue with bioplastics is there aren’t many recycling facilities equipped to process bioplastics.
8. Clearly Label Recycling Instructions
Clear labeling on your packages is a great way to encourage your customers to recycle. Printing easy to understand instructions on the outside of the box will tell people exactly how they can safely dispose of their packaging.
Using custom labeling for your products is a great way to maintain your transparency as well as let your customers know about your commitment to the environment.