Reducing single use packaging is one of the easiest ways to make your business more environmentally friendly. And with the state of the climate crisis, implementing eco-friendly packaging in your brand’s operations is no longer an option - it’s a necessity.
And eco-friendly packaging not only means doing your bit for the environment, it’s also a big selling point for customers. If your customers are torn between purchasing a product from you or a competitor, having sustainable packaging could sway them in favour of your business. Read more on why sustainability is a key business strategy.
If you’ve found yourself here, you’re clearly ready to make the switch to eco friendly packaging - so let’s get into it!
What is Sustainable Packaging?
Sustainable packaging is material that, over time, reduces its environmental footprint. You can implement eco-friendly packaging in a number of ways:
- Using 100% recycled or raw materials
- Minimising the production process and supply chain
- Reusing packaging, extending its lifecycle and usability
It’s very easy to say that sustainable packaging is entirely about the environment, but it’s also important to think about economic and social factors.
Why is Sustainable Packaging Important?
Eco-friendly packaging isn’t a new idea anymore. Due to large corporations like Unilever putting pressure on the government to reduce plastic pollution, offering environmentally friendly options for customers is becoming much more standard. And it’s important because:
- Consumers want to associate with brands that are environmentally focused
- Large businesses are creating the initiative to help their brand image
- Smaller and medium brands will be forced to start using sustainable packaging
Sustainable packaging doesn’t mean you have to invest a lot of money, nor does it mean you have to compromise on quality or function.
Eco-friendly Packaging Ideas
1. Recyclable Materials
Here are some materials that are fantastic for eco-friendly packaging ideas:
Corn Starch - a biodegradable item that is ideal for all types of food packaging. Corn starch has no negative impact on the environment.
Cardboard and paper - Both recyclable and biodegradable. Paperboards are very versatile and can be used to pack products ranging from medicines to frozen food to cosmetics.
Bubble wrap - Bubble wrap is made out of recycled polyethylene and is fully degradable which helps to keep your products safe.
2. Unique Materials
Avoiding pictures and texts on your packages can make a huge difference. A better alternative would be to use inks made from milk proteins or food instead of using chemicals that cause harm to the environment.
For example, soy inks are more sustainable than petroleum-based inks. Using unique materials makes the recycling process a lot easier and ultimately helps to minimise any negative environmental impact.
3. Minimalist Packaging
When you package your items, you need to think logically. Using a big box for a small item doesn’t make sense - it’s a total waste of space and materials! This is a common theme in packaging wastage, especially at warehousing and retailer levels.
One option is to create custom-sized boxes to save you both materials and cost. Minimalist packaging will help you stand out from your competition and make you appealing to those eco-conscious consumers.
4. Plant-based Packaging
If you or your online business is looking to really stand out from your competition then we would suggest using bio-based plastics or corn plastic. These packaging solutions are made from an organic compound that will decompose over time in any environment.
Another suggestion is using polylactic acid (PLA), a plastic substitute that's made from fermented plant starch. With more and more countries banning plastic bags from grocery stores, PLA looks to become the next best option for single-use plastic bags.
Saving Money on Eco Friendly Packaging
At this stage, you might be considering how much sustainable packaging could cost you and your business. Price is an obvious factor you need to consider as well as certain materials that are feasible for your business.
Once you’ve done your research on which materials are best for you, your next step should be calculating how you can absorb the cost of packaging. That might involve increasing your product prices or shipping costs.
That’s where we come in.
As the UK’s largest parcel comparison website, you can save money on shipping with Parcel2Go. Starting at just £2.15 exc VAT, increasing your shipping costs to cover the price of sustainable packaging doesn’t mean absorbing all of those additional charges yourself. Get a free parcel quote today!
And we’re always looking for ways to make business parcel delivery even easier.
That’s why we created Smart Send, our free shipping management platform where you can manage business delivery across multiple marketplaces and websites all in one place. And our business accounts mean you could get even more discounts on our already competitive services.