Smart sustainable packaging is a phrase we hear often but its definition might surprise you. Some believe that packaging made from eco-friendly materials fits the bill. The other point of view involves the production methods used in manufacturing and it’s ultimate impact on the planet. Turns out, both are in fact, true.
The definition of sustainable packaging includes the following truths:
- Safe for people and the planet
- Reduces environmental impact
- Does not negatively effect the eco-system
- Is recoverable for reuse or recyclability
That might seem like a pretty tall order. Careful and thoughtful planning during the packaging development process makes it easier to achieve sustainability status, adding to the potential of enhancing your brand and finished product.
The good news is, any extra effort and costs that you put into your package design and production will pay off. A recent NYU Stern School of Business study found that consumer packaged goods with a sustainable focus increased sales by more than 50% between 2013 and 2018. Who is driving this movement? Millennials are leading the charge with 61% agreeing that they would pay more for eco-friendly products.
Make Good Choices
A large part of sustainable packaging is choosing the right materials. Current trends sound like something out of sci-fiction. For example, Mushroom packaging is a growing trend and can be created in just 7 days. Did you know that Algae ink is being touted as the world’s most sustainable ink for its versatility and eco-driven properties? The list of alternative packaging materials is growing but when in doubt highly recyclable paperboard sourced from environmentally responsible manufacturers is the smart bet.
Biodegradable vs Compostable
You have probably been to a summer festival or community event and saw three distinct refuse bins – garbage, recyclables and compost. The difference between biodegradable materials and compostable materials is the process in which they break down after disposal. Biodegradable items break down over time without any outside forces needed to assist in the process. The composting process is organic and more involved. The outcome is a rich substance that can be used as a fertilizer substitute.
Most of us are aware of the flat pack furniture giant, IKEA. They are known for their unique product design aesthetic. They are also some of the best at packaging their goods in smart, efficient ways in order to maximize space. Consider all the elements of your packaging and decide if there is any superfluous space or materials that should be eliminated. This will have a two-fold benefit in that it reduces the amount of materials used, allows a higher volume per case and reduces shipping costs over all.
As early in the design process as possible, consider whether your packaging could have a second life. Reusability is a trend that many e-commerce retailers are finding builds loyalty with their customers. One example is Dropps, the green laundry detergent company. They print a reminder directly on their packaging that it has many uses beyond the recycling bin.
B&B Print Source has decades of experience in the print and packaging world. Let us help you make smart choices in choosing sustainable packaging materials and design.