Product packaging constitutes 28.1% of the total generated solid waste every year, accounting to be approximately 83 million tons of waste annually. It sounds bad but the even worst thing is that it’s 4 times higher than in 1960! Moreover, with the increasing popularity of e-commerce, there is no chance of this packaging waste trend to slow down with time. In this alarming situation, it is important for businesses to not only think about how sustainable their products are but also implement them in their product packaging to make them more useful. Packaging is one-use material; it becomes a waste once it gets opened. Reducing waste and minimizing this impact should be your key objective to ensure environmental sustainability. Making changes to packaging strategy can make a big contribution in this regard. Let us have a look at 6 easy and helpful tips about eco-friendly packaging:
Tip 1: Use Recyclable or Organic Materials
Of course, the best way to be sustainable is to start using eco-friendly packaging material. Among several options, cardstock is the most preferred choice of businesses worldwide. It is a far better option than plastic that is a big threat for our planet. Cardstock and other paper packaging products are recyclable, durable, and easy to dispose of. You will find them with almost every packaging supplier. Recycling them can make you save a large amount of money and natural resources. In addition to it, there are few organic choices as well. Corn-starch is best for packaging and shipping a variety of goods due to its plastic-like properties. Mushroom packaging is another eco-friendly material you can look at. As it is made from organic waste, so when it biodegrades it provides no harm to the environment in any way.
Tip 2: Design a Right Sized Box for your Product
Refine the weight and size of a package is the most effective way to make it more sustainable. Such eco-friendly boxes generate less waste and create minimal impact. Recycling is an added advantage that helps you in saving natural resources. To design the right sized packaging you have to minimize the use of raw material. Important tactics to consider include:
- Eliminating the void space inside the package or within the product itself.
- Assess your packaging for non-value-added components.
- Investing more in lightweight sources while choosing a packaging material.
- Assessing where updating the graphic design of the package can reduce its size.
- Avoiding fillers as far as possible.
- Consider your product dimensions while designing a custom packaging box.
In general, large and heavy packages cost more to produce, ship, and store both. On the other hand, a right-sized package saves your manufacturing cost and proves to be more useful in the terms of fuel consumption and hence carbon footprints.
Tip 3: Create a Packaging with a Sleeker Look
Many businesses can get double benefits by switching towards eco-friendly packaging. All you have to do is to move towards simpler choices. If you have a look at the retail packaging sector, you will find an array of over-packaged products. In most of them, the outer layer of the packaging is made up of non-recyclable material, and often it is unnecessary. A better idea is to move towards a slimmer packaging solution. Strip back what is not required. In the case of many retail products, rectangular-shaped custom boxes with logos are an ideal choice. They give a sleek and more appealing look as compared to the packaging that occupies excessive space. Going for a large-sized box requires excessive raw material and sometimes fillers as well, all of which end up in waste. Redesigning your packaging and moving towards more elegant and sleeker options can make you move more towards sustainability.
Tip 4: Use Eco-Friendly Fillers if Needed
Bubble wrap is the most commonly used filler packaging these days but it is very dangerous to the environment as it does not dissolved. Fillers are usually used for fragile products that are prone more to damage.
In the case you have to use them, go for harmless options like wrapping products made from upcycled cardboard. Paper wrap, shredded paper, or corrugated paper rolls are some of the good options to consider, serving the same function as bubble wrap. Besides using Styrofoam peanuts and Expanded Polystyrene, biodegradable packaging peanuts work well. They are easy to use, recycle, and above all, they are best for the environment.
Tip 5: Avoid Over Packaging in the Supply Chain
When we talk about retail supply chains, the packaging material is abundant. The products are first bundled then bagged or baled before receiving and often a large amount of additional packaging boxes is utilized. If you want to ensure more sustainability across your supply chain it is better to keep analyze and optimize how your merchandise is moving. It will help you in reducing the use of packaging material and thus minimizing the overall waste. For this, make a good forecast demand to ensure that you are not overproducing or over-ordering. Consolidate the shipment to decrease the use of packaging material and above all encourage your supply chain to move towards more sustainable material.
Tip 6: Ship in Smaller Packages
Reducing the use of packaging material lessens your company’s ecological footprint. It means that is better to use smaller bags, containers, and custom eco-friendly boxes where possible. Such effort helps you in becoming more sustainable and cut down your shipping expense. To reduce the size of shipment you need to use less filler packaging. Play around the position and size of your products and find the ways how they can be accommodated in smaller packages.