Packaging expertise, Solutions, Insights & Blogs

ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING: How a sustainable strategy is smart for the environment and for efficiency

27 Apr 2021 —
Print
eco-friendly packaging

In today's world, environmental sustainability is key. It's a rising demand from consumers, and a global issue where we all have a role to play. Eco-friendly packaging has to be easy to recycle, be safe for the environment, and ideally made from recycled materials.

Packaging, when created with sustainability in mind, plays a key role in helping to preserve the environment. This is now more important than ever with natural resources being depleted at a rapid rate, and unrecycled plastic polluting the planet.

In today's world, environmental sustainability is key. It's a rising demand from consumers, and a global issue where we all have a role to play. Eco-friendly packaging has to be easy to recycle, be safe for the environment, and ideally made from recycled materials.

Packaging, when created with sustainability in mind, plays a key role in helping to preserve the environment. This is now more important than ever with natural resources being depleted at a rapid rate, and unrecycled plastic polluting the planet.

Pressure is rising from consumers and governments alike, increasing the need for strong corporate social responsibility practices to be applied across packaging operations. With accountability growing, so are new opportunities in the global sustainable packaging market, which is expected to reach nearly $413 billion in 2027 with a compound annual growth rate of over 6% from 2018 to 2027 (Global Sustainable Packaging Market Outlook by Research Nester, 2019). 

Being part of an eco-friendly solution also means streamlining packaging and logistics with sustainable practices that cut out unnecessary components or processes, therefore driving efficiency and delivering a win-win for both the planet and cost savings.

What is Eco-Friendly Packaging?

Eco-friendly packaging involves many factors, but essentially it's about having a mindset that takes the environment into consideration. For example:

  • Providing recyclable packaging
  • Reusing materials
  • Using less materials in packaging
  • Making toxic free packaging that is safe for workers and the environment
  • Using recycled or responsible base materials
  • Using manufacturing methods that consume less energy

 

In a nutshell, eco-friendly packaging considers the sustainability and recyclability of all packaging materials used.

What consumers want

Selecting eco-friendly packaging made from natural materials eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, making it safer for the public and the environment which can positively influence buying behaviors. A recent survey shows 57% of consumers will pay more for eco-friendly packaging (Sustainable Packaging Unwrapped, GlobalWebIndex, 2019). Another 42% consider packaging made from recycled or sustainable materials as crucial to their everyday purchasing habits.

Competitive advantages

On top of this, adopting a sustainable packaging strategy offers a competitive advantage that will improve brand image, attract partnerships, increase client loyalty, reduce risk and support human resources.

Responsible base materials

Eco-friendly packaging starts with sourcing responsible base supplies such as flexible and/or mono-materials, plant-based and other green alternatives. These can be integrated into a circular supply chain and reduce energy consumption.

Here are a few reliable and innovative options:

Wood can be converted into paper and cardboard for a variety of packaging solutions that are biodegradable and easy to recycle. Durable one-piece corrugated cardboard options can be delivered flat-packed and assembled in a single motion for added efficiency.

Cornstarch is an organic material with qualities similar to plastic. It is ideal for products with limited use, such as takeaway food, and can also be used for moulded forms, bottles, bags and loose-fill packaging.

Mushroom roots mixed with agricultural waste produce organic packaging that offers a cost-effective alternative to support smaller items.

Bagasse paper is a sugarcane fibre pulp created from juice extraction, and is a good replacement for paper packaging in the food industry. It decomposes much more quickly than plastic.

Bamboo grows quickly and is highly renewable. It is protective thanks to its strength and durability, and can be used as a substitute for corrugated board, foams and moulded paper fibre materials.

Seaweed, an abundant raw material, is gaining popularity as a packaging medium, notably in the food sector because it is organic and environmentally friendly.

Organic fabrics, such as hemp, cotton, tapioca and palm leaves, can be used to make reusable bags that decompose quicker than plastic.

Biodegradable plastics and bioplastics are good substitutes for plastic when sturdiness is required. They are recyclable and recycled materials that can be used for strapping bands, testliners, stretch films, pallet covering films, bags and more.

blog-post-eco-friendly-packaging-2-960x400.png

The 3Rs: less is more… efficient

Sustainable packaging improves efficiency because it achieves more with less by respecting the three 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

 

Reduce

Packaging is designed using the exact amount of material required to effectively protect the product while optimising size, weight, storage space and logistics. It is made from tougher, thinner substances than traditional packaging supplies, protecting products effectively while using less material. For example, Multilayer stretch film is a tough and thin plastic film that protects products effectively while using less material.  Not only does this cut the amount of waste, it also reduces the carbon footprint of the packaging.

 

Reuse

Packaging has a short lifecycle, but it is possible to extend its use by opting for versatile renewable base materials that support a circular supply chain. By selecting packaging that can be returned and reused time and time again, waste is significantly reduced and productivity is improved.

 

Recycle

Choosing packaging products and solutions that are made from recycled materials or can be easily recycled, is key to reducing your impact on the environment and meeting strict environmental regulations. Eco-friendly packaging can be broken down and used in other products to get maximum value out of the original material.

 

Good For The Planet, Good For Consumers

The move to sustainability requires the entire value chain and packaging life cycle to be optimised, but the benefits are worth it: as a logistic manager, going eco-friendly means less materials, and a better use of them.

Eco-friendly packaging brings great value to the supply chain because it is not only good for the planet, it is also positively received by consumers, who are expecting brands to pay more attention to the environment. This is why now is the ideal time to adopt proactive sustainability practices!

white paper banner