Sustainability and climate trends are increasingly becoming a top priority for both consumers and businesses. Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact that their purchasing decisions have on the environment, and are seeking out products and companies that are environmentally friendly. Businesses, in turn, are recognizing the benefits of sustainability, including cost savings from reducing waste and resource conservation, as well as the potential for increased sales as a result of customer demand for sustainable products.
Based on a survey conducted by Kearney on a total of 150 companies in different sectors, businesses with circular economy models performed significantly better than others — 32% of these companies experienced a revenue increase and 38% of them were able to save on costs and reported a 50% increase in customer loyalty and 70% higher brand recognition.
Brands can take a step closer to becoming responsible for their planet through sustainable packaging.
Sustainable packaging refers to the design and production of packaging materials and products that have a minimal impact on the environment. This type of packaging aims to reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and minimize pollution.
There are various factors that affect the sustainable packaging decision for companies; they include:
+ Functional and appearance characteristics
+ Availability of recycling centers
+ Costs in terms of production processes
+ Availability of material in the home-country
Next Up: Recyclable Materials!
There are several types of sustainable packaging that have been developed to meet these goals, including:
+ Recyclable packaging
This type of packaging is made from materials that can be reused or recycled after use. This helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, as well as conserve natural resources. Recyclable packaging includes aluminum cans, glass containers, and paperboard boxes.
Another Interesting example is Corrugated “bubble” wrap packaging. This is a perfect alternative for plastic bubble wraps to wrap in your valuable and fragile products. Corrugated wraps are 100% recyclable and biodegradable and made of cardboard.
+ Biodegradable packaging
This type of packaging is made from materials that can break down naturally in the environment. This helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and also minimizes the pollution that can be caused by plastic products.
+ Seaweed Packing
Not only is it natural, cheap, and biodegradable but also edible. Seaweed packaging is made of seaweed extract. It can dissolve in water which makes it an excellent packaging material option for food and herbal teas.
+ Mushroom-Based Packaging
A more sturdy, durable, and sustainable packaging material option that can easily substitute plastic and styrofoam. Mushroom-based packaging is made of mycelia* and other agricultural residues.
*Mycelia: the roots of the mushroom
+ Cornstarch Packaging
Cornstarch packaging is a great sustainable substitute for synthetic polymers. It is biodegradable and made of the fermented sugars that come from cornstarch and produce polylactic acid (PLA).
+ Compostable packaging
This type of packaging is made from materials that can be composted, which is the process of breaking down organic materials into nutrient-rich soil. Compostable packaging helps to reduce waste and conserve natural resources by providing a way to dispose of organic waste in an environmentally friendly manner. Examples of compostable packaging include paper and cardboard products, as well as certain types of biodegradable plastics.
So, how can you get started with your sustainable packaging?
+ Research, study, and know your area and its suppliers and resources.
+ Budget ahead and finance your sustainability implementation action plans carefully.
+ Partner with manufacturers that implement sustainable business practices.
+ Use as little material in designing your packaging as possible. (The whole point is decreasing your waste)
+ Actually use sustainable and recyclable material
By adopting sustainable packaging practices, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers, ultimately helping to create a more sustainable future for all.