Whether you are a business owner or you are curious about how you can help the environment, a great way to do your part to make the world a greener place is to look into sustainable packaging.
The type of packaging you use can have a real impact on the natural world. Discarded waste from packaging can hurt wildlife or clog up rivers or landscapes. That’s why it’s crucial that you make small changes in order to help the environment. You can start by using sustainable packaging.
What is the effect of unsustainable packaging?
Unfortunately, it is estimated that only around 17% of waste in the UK ends up being recycled. That means the rest either ends up in landfill or in the environment as waste.
Litter can look bad and leave residue or unwanted materials on the ground that can hurt animals and humans alike. For instance, packaging could conceal glass or sharp-edged metal that could cut your hand or cause further injuries. Animals may also swallow unwanted substances that could ultimately kill them.
Packaging that is left out as litter can catch fire, especially if it is cardboard. You’ll also find that packaging litter can create bacteria due to the amount of vermin that is attracted to it.
Packaging that has been left on the ground can also take up space in landfills. There is so little space in landfills that it was estimated that by 2020, there would only be around 50 landfill areas that would be available for use. That’s why it is important that you keep an eye on the type of packaging you use, thereby enabling you to make a real difference to the environment.
The Basics of Sustainable Packaging
Sustainable packaging solutions are crucial to use in order to help the environment. Most of the time, sustainable packaging is made from materials that are completely sustainable. These materials need to be based on four variables:
- Sustainability, which can consist of reusability, recyclability, and how well it can compost
- Sortability, which means how well materials can be recovered after they have been recycled
If you intend to create sustainable packaging, you need to make sure you are able to achieve all four of these variables at the same time. It can be difficult to do this, so most companies tend to try and mix and match the types of materials they use. However, with packaging, you can use a variety of sustainable materials to make an impact on the planet.
What materials can create sustainable packaging?
If you run your own business, you will need to think carefully about the types of packaging you are going to use. After all, they are going to have a major impact on your brand and how safely your merchandise is going to be able to travel to your customers. Not only do they need to be recyclable, but they could also potentially be reusable.
Some materials you may want to think about using include:
- Boxes with paper tape
- Printed boxes
- Poly mailers
- Paper mailers
- Tissue and butcher paper
- Compostable bags
If you want to create sustainable packaging that can help the environment, try and stick to simple, separated items that can make it easier to recycle.
Most customers want to help the environment, but they may find it harder to do so if the recycling or reusing process is difficult or inconvenient. That’s why it’s important that you use products that can be easily recycled or reused.
For instance, using a compostable bag means that it can be used for home composting. This keeps it simple for your customers while being completely environmentally friendly.
The benefits of sustainable packaging
The purpose of sustainable packaging from your organisation’s point of view will be to limit your effect on the environment and the amount of pollution you produce when you sell your products.
There is a wide range of benefits that come with using sustainable packaging. These are:
- Increasing the recyclability of your products
- Improving your company’s flexibility
- Lowering your business’s waste
- Reducing your carbon footprint
- Strengthening your company’s brand
- Appealing to your customers
It is important that you do your part to help create a sustainable world in the future. If you focus on creating sustainable packaging, you will find that your customers will enjoy supporting your business more.
Your customers will desire simplicity. So, if you offer boxes, paper, and bags, they will appreciate how easy it is to reuse these materials in the future. Therefore, you will be helping your clients to be greener, alongside your business. This should inspire your clients to continuously return to your company as you will be supporting the environment.
How can I use sustainable eco-friendly packaging?
Making the change to eco-friendly packaging does not have to be drastic. Instead, think carefully about your business and how you can make the packaging suit your brand.
First of all, focus on your brand and how you can incorporate your eco-friendly ideals into your website and overall message. You may want to dedicate a page to your sustainable packaging, or you could use a blog page to explain your overall mission.
With that said, start off by thinking about the packaging you use in general. Lightweight packaging can ensure there is no waste when it comes to your products. It can get frustrating when you order a small or medium product and then it comes in a giant box. That means there will be a lot more waste because there will be a number of wasted materials.
By using heavier packaging, you will also have to spend more money on it. Instead of this, focus on using cardboard. It is one of the best recyclable materials to use over and over again!
What other recycling materials do I need to think about?
Don’t forget that if you want to create reusable and recyclable products, there are many other packaging items you can choose to use. These include labels, adhesives, and closures.
Try and avoid plastics that can create contamination. You may also want to focus on papers, biomaterials, and reusable containers. There’s also compostable packaging you can use to make sure you can give back to the planet. That way, there will be no waste left behind.
Don’t forget about your packaging design!
The design of your sustainable packaging will also play a part in your efforts to be eco-friendly. The better your design is, the less likely it is that the items will get damaged. If your package is damaged, it may get sent back, therefore it will impact the environment.
If you are going to ever use non-recyclable products, try to reuse packaging instead, such as recycled materials. You also need to think about how long the life of the packaging of your product is going to be.
The more thought you put in, the easier it will be for your customers to use it in the future. So, optimise your brand’s packaging design to get the most out of it.
Are you ready to use sustainable packaging?
If you’re thinking about how you can improve your business, or at least make it a little eco-friendlier, the best thing you can do is start by taking small steps.
Using sustainable packaging is a small step in the right direction. Your customers will certainly approve of the changes you make that help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Once you have implemented your new packaging, think carefully about other things that can help you reduce the level of emissions you produce. The eco-friendlier you become, the more effective you can be in playing your part to safeguard our planet.