Sustainable production is becoming a priority for businesses of every size and type, and they’re hoping the packaging industry can provide part of the solution. Packaging plays a major role in the manufacturing and transportation process for literally every product on our shelves, but we only recycle a small percentage overall.
Waste management has become a global problem. It is a problem that can only be resolved if people and industries reduce waste. It has been found that one-third of all waste is packaging material used by various industries, retailers, and consumers. The problem of waste has increased environmental problems and costs of waste management. As such, it is imperative that the waste being recycled be increased and reused as well.
One of the areas where significant progress can be made in waste reduction is in packaging. Working together, consumers, packaging manufacturers, and retailers can make a great contribution to the resolution of this particular problem. In order to do this, they must of necessity aggressively pursue the available waste reduction strategies. These include reusing, recycling, and waste prevention.
Recent research revealed that:
- 37% of American customers give consideration to sustainability while making purchases.
- Due to the pandemic, 51% of supply chain experts predict that the circular economy would gain more traction during the next two years.
- Thirty percent of customers are willing to pay more for products that live up to sustainability claims.
Many of us were taught to value “reduce, reuse, and recycle” from an early age. These ideals must still be reflected in your business today in order to increase brand loyalty among environmentally concerned consumers as well as to benefit the environment.
What is Sustainable Packaging?
Sustainable packaging is a term used to describe packaging that is created with environmental protection and resource conservation in mind. It can be defined as packaging that is designed, sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled in such a way that it has the smallest possible environmental impact. This type of packaging includes anything from reusable containers to biodegradable materials.
The goal of sustainable packaging is not just to reduce the amount of waste produced but also to create products that are both safe for the environment and cost-effective for businesses. Sustainable packaging often uses fewer resources than traditional methods while still providing adequate protection for its contents. Additionally, sustainable packaging utilizes renewable materials which can help minimize costs associated with production and transportation. Finally, by using renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind power during production processes, companies are further reducing their overall carbon footprint.
What is Sustainable Packaging Design?
Sustainable packaging design is an important part of the modern world. It strives to reduce the environmental impact of product packaging, while still maintaining its functional qualities. Sustainable packaging design can take many forms and be used in a variety of industries. From food products to cosmetics and apparel, sustainable packaging solutions are becoming increasingly popular across the globe.
At its core, sustainable packaging design focuses on reducing waste by using recyclable materials or biodegradable components. This type of design also ensures that material usage during manufacturing is as efficient as possible. Furthermore, sustainable designs promote reuse and re-purposing whenever possible to further reduce environmental impact and create a circular economy with minimal waste generation. Sustainable designs also often seek to use renewable energy sources whenever possible so that more resources are not used from non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels.
What are the Benefits of Sustainable Packaging?
Sustainable packaging has multiple benefits that are worth considering for businesses of all sizes.
One major benefit of sustainable packaging is reduced waste and environmental impact. This type of packaging uses fewer resources than traditional packaging solutions and often results in less waste ending up in landfills or oceans. Additionally, sustainable packaging can also help businesses save money by reducing their overall shipping costs since lighter materials generally require fewer resources to transport them from one location to another.
In addition to its environmental benefits, sustainable packaging also helps businesses build a positive image with their customers by showcasing their commitment to green practices.
Best Sustainable Packaging Strategies
Using Recyclable Glass Bottles
Plastic bottles are a major source of both landfill waste and ocean pollution, so we need to use more recyclable packaging materials such as glass instead. Not only is it possible to recycle glass into new bottles and jars, but also into building aggregate, fiberglass, and other products.
Recycling Aluminum and Plastic
Recycling aluminum takes a fraction of the energy and resources required for extracting and processing resources for fresh packaging. Plastic bottles can also be recycled into new bottles or jars, furniture, and even clothing, especially those made with PET.
Setting Up Recycling Banks
Proper collection is a key step towards effective recycling of materials such as glass, aluminum, paper, and plastic, so find out about local collection centers or consider setting one up. If you’re in the recycling business, there are government incentives available to help you out.
Using Sustainable Packaging Materials
Use recyclable glass or tin containers for milk, juices, and other drinks, as well as other liquids. Look for companies that offer packaging products made with recyclable materials like metal, paper, and glass instead of laminated foil, PVC plastic, and other non-recyclables.
Reducing Excess Packaging
This is the most important move manufacturers can make today. Make packaging as minimal as possible, without affecting product safety or hygiene. Offer products in bulk where you can, and design packaging so it’s easy for consumers to reuse as well.
Ship in a Smaller Package
This strategy involves replacing bulky packaging with smaller, more efficient options. It can help companies save money on shipping costs while also reducing their carbon footprint and limiting the amount of waste they create.
The benefits of this initiative extend beyond cost savings and environmental concerns. They enhance product safety during transit as there is less room for items to shift or break within the container. Additionally, these packages can be designed to fit through standard mail slots if door-to-door delivery is desired without incurring extra charges from couriers.
Use Recycled Packaging Materials
Recycled packaging materials can come from a variety of sources, from beverage containers and paperboard products to plastic bags and bubble wrap. Not only does using recycled materials instead of virgin resources save energy, but it can also help limit the amount of raw material used in production processes. Additionally, these types of materials are often more cost-effective than their non-recycled counterparts, making them an attractive choice for businesses looking to save money while still being environmentally conscious.
Use Plant-based Packaging
Plant-based packaging materials, such as paper and cardboard, bioplastics derived from starch or cellulose, and mushroom-based packaging offer an eco-friendly alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics.
Not only do plant-based materials use fewer resources than their plastic counterparts, but they also break down faster in landfills. This makes them a better choice for both businesses looking to reduce their environmental impact and consumers seeking sustainable products.
Make use of Compostable and Biodegradable Plastic Alternatives
Compostable plastics are made from plant-based materials and can break down into natural components within a few months when disposed of in a commercial composting facility. Similarly, biodegradable plastics are made from renewable resources like corn starch or sugar cane and can decompose in the soil over time. These types of sustainable packaging materials provide an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics which can take centuries to decompose in landfills.
Avoid Over-packaging Throughout the Supply Chain
When it comes to sustainability and packaging, businesses have a responsibility to ensure that their practices are respectful of the environment. One way to do this is by avoiding over-packaging throughout the supply chain, which can cause both economic and environmental damage. To be sustainable in this regard, companies should consider the following strategies:
First, it’s important to assess product needs on an individual basis and identify if anything is being over-packaged. This could include using smaller boxes or fewer packing materials for items like clothing or electronics. Additionally, businesses should look for opportunities for lightweighting their packaging in order to reduce material waste during shipping. Finally, businesses should evaluate how much packaging they’re designing each product with – do customers really need that extra piece of plastic? By considering these steps, companies can significantly reduce their impact on the environment while still meeting customer needs and expectations.
Sustainable Packaging Ideas
Gift-giving has been a part of human culture for centuries, but with the planet under threat from plastic pollution and climate change, it has become even more important to choose sustainable packaging options when wrapping gifts. Sustainable packaging can not only reduce waste but also help to preserve natural resources and protect the environment.
When choosing sustainable gift wrap options, there are a few things to consider. Look for recyclable materials such as paper or cardboard that are produced from sustainably managed forests. Reusable fabrics like cotton fabric or sari silk can also be used multiple times without generating additional waste. Additionally, consider using secondhand items such as newspapers and magazines as an eco-friendly way of adding extra decoration to your gift wrap. For those looking for something unique, consider using natural objects found on nature walks such as leaves and twigs to create a truly special package.
Returnable packaging offers a great solution to combat waste created by single-use materials. This type of packaging involves using containers or wrappers that are made to be used multiple times, either returning them to manufacturers or other users who want to buy a product in bulk.
Returnable packages are typically made from durable materials such as aluminum, plastic, or cardboard, which can be reused many times without losing their initial strength and integrity. Furthermore, they can also be easily cleaned and sanitized between uses making them ideal for food products or medical supplies.
Upcycling is an important aspect of sustainable packaging. It involves turning used materials into new products with a higher value than the original product. With upcycling, businesses are able to reduce their environmental impact while generating revenue from selling the newly created products.
In order to implement an effective upcycling program, businesses must first identify potential uses for existing waste materials. There are many ways to do this, including reusing glass bottles or plastic containers in craft projects, or using cardboard boxes as storage bins. Additionally, businesses can look into using old shipping pallets and crates as planters or furniture pieces. Utilizing these items not only reduces waste but also adds character and style to any space.
Mono-Materials are single materials packaged together in order to reduce a product’s environmental impact. By using fewer resources and creating less waste, mono-material packaging can help to reduce pollution and emissions while simultaneously promoting sustainability.
Mono-materials can be made from anything ranging from paper to plastic, with each material having its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, paper is an excellent choice for packages that need to be lightweight because of its low weight-to-strength ratio; however, it also has a tendency to break down easily which could cause problems if not properly protected or handled.
Bioplastics are derived from natural, renewable resources such as plants and other organic materials. They have the same properties as traditional plastics but with one key difference – they’re biodegradable. This means that when disposed of correctly, bioplastics can break down in a matter of months instead of hundreds of years like traditional plastics.
Not only do bioplastics help reduce our impact on the environment but they also offer many additional benefits for businesses. For example, they can be used to create custom shapes and sizes which makes them perfect for product design or promotions.
Compostable bags are made from plant-based materials like corn starch or sugar cane, making them biodegradable and easily broken down by microorganisms into natural elements within the soil. This means they have virtually no negative impact on the environment and won’t contribute to toxic pollution or accumulate in landfills—unlike single-use plastic options.
Corrugated packaging is one of the most sustainable options available, offering many benefits over traditional plastic and tin containers. This type of packaging is made from a combination of fluted cardboard sheets which are sandwiched between two flat liners, making it strong yet lightweight and easy to recycle or reuse.
Corrugated packaging can be used for a variety of products, from food items to electronics and fragile objects. It also protects against knocks, drops, and bumps during transit, making it highly suitable for goods that need special care when shipping.
Sustainable Packaging Trends 2023
These are 5 common sustainable packaging trends we’re seeing today:
- Lightweight and less resource-intensive materials
- Use of recycled materials instead of virgin resources
- Using renewable sources for raw material
- More efficient logistics and packaging processes
- Proper waste reclamation and recycling programs
Waste management cannot be ignored. It is the responsibility of each and every manufacturer, retailer and consumer. If you are considering waste prevention and reduction, speak to us at Compactor Management Company, and let us talk about how we can help you achieve your goals in this area.
Compactor Management Company (former Northern California Compactors, Inc.) offers installation and support services for waste recycling equipment such as waste compactors, balers, shredders & conveyor systems. Established in 1981, it offers waste management solutions across the United States.