In light of the rapidly deteriorating plastic pollution in the world today, many eCommerce brands are making the deliberate switch to environmentally friendly packaging. The eco-friendly packaging has proven useful in helping our environment stay clean and healthy.
Due to the numerous benefits it offers, environmental-conscious customers are ensuring that the brands they patronize are sustainable.
Packaging is a huge part of our daily lives. This explains the need to employ healthier ways to prevent them from accumulating and constituting pollution.
Eco-friendly packaging not only fulfills the customers’ environmental obligation but boosts a brand’s image, sales, and lots more. In this article, you’ll get to understand what eco-friendly packaging is and the advantages it comes with.
What is Eco-Friendly Packaging?
You can also refer to eco-friendly as sustainable or green packaging. It uses manufacturing techniques to reduce energy usage and minimize the harmful effect on the environment.
It’s any safe packaging for people and the environment, easy to recycle, and made from recycled elements.
You may seek to go green but can’t quite wrap your head around what the ideal eco-friendly packaging should be. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition has put up some rules concerning sustainable packaging, they include:
- The resources must be healthy and safe for people and communities during their entire lifecycle.
- It should be gotten, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy.
- Meets market criteria for cost and performance
- Manufactured using the best practices and hygienic production technologies
- Optimizes the use of recycled or renewable source materials
- It’s designed to optimize energy and materials.
- Comprises materials that stay non-toxic throughout their life cycle
- Effectively utilized and recovered in industrial and or/ biological closed-loop cycles
Eco-friendly Packaging has a Wide Range of Benefits for your eCommerce Business
Eco-friendly packaging offers a lot of advantages to both the brand and environment- they include:
1. Reduces Carbon Footprint
Many customers are concerned about their impact on their environment, and it directly impacts the products and brands they are loyal to. By switching to eco-friendly packaging, you make a statement of how you market your products, and it helps you fulfill your corporate responsibility.
Your brand could also go beyond business reasons and consider the eco-friendly packaging process. By doing so, you reduce your company’s negative impact on the environment in the form of carbon footprints.
Your carbon footprint is the level of carbon dioxide you emit into the atmosphere when consuming fossil fuels. You can lower your CO2 emissions by reducing the amount of packaging for your finished products or using recyclable/ renewable items.
You are also to factor in the weight of your packaging as it impacts the energy you require to manufacture your product and deliver it to the end-users. You can therefore switch to lighter-weight materials to reduce your brand’s carbon footprint.
2. Eco-friendly packaging Allows for More Storage Space
Another amazing benefit that using sustainable packaging offers your brand is the availability of more storage space. The space includes the transport space that allows you to ship more goods than you would have while reducing freight costs.
It helps you reduce the number of transport rounds you have to make, thereby saving you costs in the long run. Also, with smaller finished goods, you require fewer spaces for storage, and the additional space presents you with many options like expanding your product line.
You can then begin to use the available space for goods you couldn’t have otherwise produced. When it comes to more creative displays, the additional shelf space allows you to be flexible in placing and showcasing your products.
3. It’s Toxin and Allergen Free
Many consumers are concerned with the nature of their packaging material and its effects on their health and well-being. Using allergen and toxin-free packaging materials for your products allows your customers to lead a healthy life.
There are few biodegradable options. However, the available ones are increasingly sufficient to make a smooth switch. Most of the options available can run on similar machines with traditional packaging materials. This makes them easily implementable and affordable.
The undesirable aspect of using traditional packaging materials is made from petrochemical resources like crude oil. It is extremely harmful to the environment regarding refinement, extraction, use, distribution, and disposal.
On the other hand, eco-friendly packaging does not have these harmful traits over its lifespan and as it degrades.
4. It Increases Sales for your Brand
By this point, you no doubt know that among the things that customers take into account when purchasing a product is sustainability. The steps your brand takes to reduce the damage that waste does to the environment should be taken in high regard.
It helps you focus on strategies to take while expanding your brand lines and therefore boosts sales as more people patronize you. Because of your reduced carbon footprints, you indirectly make your company attractive to buyers.
5. It Increases your Customer Base
The demand for environmentally friendly packaging is continually on the rise. In turn, it presents an opportunity for brands to push themselves forward.
As the awareness for sustainable packaging increases among customers, they’re making obvious shifts towards green packaging. It, therefore, increases your chance to attract more clients and secure a broad customer base.
6. Eco-friendly Packaging is Versatile
Sustainable packaging is versatile and can be repurposed and reused in major industries where they use traditional packaging. It is more beneficial than regular packaging as they’re not limited to the number of times manufacturers can use them.
With eco-friendly packaging, you get to work out creative designs and forms, unlike with traditional packaging. These can range from food products to cosmetics, electronic devices, and clothing. You have a wide variety of options available to you to meet your specific needs.
7. It Boosts your Brand Image
Nowadays, people seek ways to positively impact the environment without making drastic changes in their lifestyles.
Eco-friendly packaging gives a good impression of your brand. This is because it shows that you care about your environment and corporate responsibility.
When customers can trust your brand with sustaining the environment, they tend to chop from you and recommend you to family and friends. As a brand owner, you should be concerned about incorporating sustainable materials into your packaging and transparency about your product lifecycle management.
Eco-friendly Packaging Alternatives for Your Product’s Shipping
The increase in demand for eco-friendly packages has led to many innovations arising from manufacturers to meet these demands. Here are some packaging alternatives your brand can consider for shipping;
1. Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
Traditional material companies include in their packaging Styrofoam. It’s commonly used for loose-fill packages and takeaway cartons.
Otherwise known as expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), it’s neither economically recyclable nor biodegradable.
They can be harmful as they often find their way into the marine bodies and cause pollution. A good alternative for this packaging material is biodegradable packing peanuts which serve the same purpose of cushioning shock and preventing movement.
They work in the same way as their styrofoam counterparts except for causing pollution and are quite inexpensive.
2. Air Pillows Made from Recycled Materials
Inflatable air pillows are an effective, eco-, and cost-saving alternative to bubble wraps and Styrofoam. They come in various sizes and are ideal for filling up spaces in boxes and cushioning packed items.
Air pillows are small bags that get inflated and consist mainly of air when used for packaging. Using this alternative helps your brand to cut down on the amount of plastic you use in production.
It also implies that you can ship your goods with less packaging when compared to other traditional cushioning materials. The amazing fact about air pillows is that they’re recyclable, reusable, and biodegradable.
When buying air pillows, ensure that they consist of 100% recycled materials that emphasize their biodegradable traits.
3. Corrugated Bubble Wraps
Over the years, companies have used traditional bubble wraps to help protect their fragile goods while shipping. However, as useful as it is, it isn’t the most eco-friendly option out there for brands in this age of sustainability.
An alternative to bubble wraps is a wrap made from up-cycled corrugated cardboard. Instead of throwing away or recycling post-consumer paper waste, you get the chance of reusing it as a cushioning material.
The bubble wraps consist of small cuts in the cardboard to create a concertina-type effect that helps protect items against shocks. The only sad part is that you get to miss out on the popping fun afterward, but then you did your planet a big one.
4. Mushroom Packaging
Talk about nature’s twist! An innovative, eco-friendly, and cheap packaging alternative that you can use to support smaller goods is from mushrooms.
It comprises ground and clean agricultural waste that gets fused by a combination of mushroom roots that is also called mycelium.
Agricultural waste cannot be used as a food source for animals or humans; hence, manufacturers put them into innovative packaging. The raw material gets molded into whatever shape the manufacturer desires, then dries, and is used for packaging.
It avoids petroleum and food sources for its raw materials, but it also degrades at a fast rate. Mushroom packaging is highly compostable at home and can break down into organic and non-toxic matter.
5. Cornstarch Packaging
Cornstarch packaging is an organic resource that manufacturers have begun to use rapidly as an alternative to regular materials. It is obtained from the maize or corn plant and has plastic-like traits that can be used in brands that have previously relied on traditional resources.
They have been used to aid packaging in the form of loose-fill or molded forms. Although cornstarch packaging provides a sustainable solution to eCommerce shipping, it has its glaring limitations.
It unavoidably reduces the availability of food supply for animals and humans, thereby raising their prices. When considering this alternative for your brand, you should weigh its pros and cons for your company location.
6. Recycled Paper and Cardboard
As creative as the abovementioned fillers are, you need to house your products in equally eco-friendly packaging.
Cardboard boxes are the widely acceptable packaging materials in this regard. This is because they excel in making shipping less cumbersome and sustainable.
Cardboard and paper are among the most recyclable materials and are harnessed to prevent waste pollution in the environment. While trying to ensure a high eco-friendly packaging outcome for your brand, ensure to source for post-industrial or post-consumer recycled cardboard and paper.
Alternatively, resources marked as FSC-certified are sourced from sustainably managed forests and serve as a better choice in given circumstances.
7. Organic Fabrics
The use of plastic bags goes back to countless years of manufacturing and distribution in the commerce world. Many businesses, including eCommerce stores, use plastic bags for packaging and end up contributing to pollution.
A good alternative for them is organic fabrics for reusable bags. Various organic fabrics are currently in the market, including organic or recycled cotton, hemp, palm leaves, tapioca, etc.
All these materials can degrade within 100 days even when you dispose of them. Additionally, they offer you opportunities to get creative with your designs.
8. Eco-friendly Plastic and Recycled Plastics
There’s no doubt that some products require strong and reliable materials that can’t break and can support heavy parcels. We see how many eco-friendly filler materials come in handy; however, there are some situations that plastics can come in handy.
The security of your shipped deliveries is now guaranteed as there are materials made from 100% recycled plastic you could use. They range from spill trays to drums and spill control pallets; with all these, you have a wide option open for your shipping needs.
The lack of concern concerning pollution caused by our waste accumulation has been an aspect of concern recently. Due to this reason, most cities are imposing bans on fossil fuel resources, causing the tide to turn on plastic materials.
As eco-friendly packaging is becoming the most lucrative marketing strategy, many brands join the sustainable bandwagon daily.