There is a tendency in the modern world to show interest in the use of sustainable packaging for many purposes. Not only is it something that companies are starting to see as relevant, but it has also become something consumers demand.
Understanding the reasons why this type of packaging has become so important is very relevant, but it is also ideal to understand what kind of options are available.
In this article, you'll be reading about exploring sustainable packaging and how it can be a great idea to switch to this kind of material for your business.
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What is sustainable packaging?
Any kind of packaging that is made out of materials that are reusable and increased life cycle inventory or that breaks down into organic compost is considered sustainable. This is one of the main reasons why it has become such a popular choice for environmentally conscious people.
The overall appeal of this kind of packaging comes from the environmental impact of the materials once they are discarded. There are many different types of sustainable packaging materials and we will briefly go over each of them in this post.
Why should you be using sustainable packaging?
There is a sizable group of environmentally conscious consumers out there. Increasing societal awareness of the damages that our planet is suffering has resulted in a higher level of awareness of environmental issues.
You also have the fact that sustainable packaging is usually going to have a much lower cost.
The reduction of carbon footprint also plays a major role here as it allows us to lower the number of greenhouse gases. This is very important as it causes a substantial level of environmental impact when you see it happening on a large scale.
The recyclable appeal of some types of sustainable packaging is also an important consideration and helps you enhance your products' overall brand value. It is important to remember that the modern consumer's view of sustainability is quite serious.
Sustainable Packaging: 9 Types of Eco-friendly Packaging for Your Business
1. biodegradable packaging peanuts
Biodegradable packaging peanuts are a sustainable alternative to traditional styrofoam packaging peanuts. Made from natural materials such as cornstarch, these packaging peanuts are designed to break down quickly and safely in both landfills and compost piles. Generally, biodegradable packaging peanuts can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to fully decompose in a landfill or compost pile. However, under certain conditions, such as exposure to moisture and sunlight, they can break down much faster. Unlike traditional styrofoam peanuts, which can take hundreds of years to decompose and can release harmful chemicals into the environment, biodegradable packaging peanuts offer a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative.
2. Biodegradable and compostable mailers
Biodegradable and compostable mailers are made from natural materials like cornstarch, bamboo, and sugarcane. These materials are eco-friendly and renewable, which means they can be grown and harvested without causing harm to the environment. Ecommerce businesses use these mailers for a variety of purposes, such as shipping clothes, books, and other non-perishable items. They provide the same level of protection as traditional plastic mailers but without the negative environmental impact.Unlike traditional plastic mailers, which cannot be recycled and often end up polluting landfills and oceans, biodegradable and compostable mailers are a more sustainable option. They can be recycled in some cases, or composted in industrial facilities or backyard compost piles, which turn them into valuable soil amendment, helping to improve soil quality and fertility.
3. BPA Free thermal paper
BPA-free thermal paper is a great eco-friendly option for e-commerce businesses that requireshipping labels, or product packaging labels. It is typically made of high-quality paper coated with a special heat-sensitive layer that reacts to a thermal printer. Unlike traditional thermal paper, BPA-free thermal paper does not contain harmful chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and human health. It is important to choose BPA-free thermal paper that has an FSC certification, which ensures that the paper is sourced from responsibly managed forests. While BPA-free thermal paper is not biodegradable or recyclable, it can still be disposed of responsibly, reducing the overall impact on the environment.
4. Inflatable Plastic Wrap
Inflatable plastic wrap, also known as air pillows, is commonly made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a type of plastic that is lightweight, flexible, and durable. The air-filled pockets in the plastic wrap act as a buffer, absorbing shocks and vibrations that can occur during transportation. This makes inflatable plastic wrap a popular choice for businesses that ship delicate or fragile items.In addition to providing protection, inflatable plastic wrap is also lightweight and flexible, which can help reduce shipping costs and make the packaging process more efficient.
5. Recycled Paper
Recycled paper is a popular packaging material that is used in a variety of ecommerce scenarios. It is made from post-consumer waste paper that has been collected, processed, and turned into new paper products. Recycled paper can be used to create boxes, mailers, envelopes, and other packaging materials, providing a versatile and eco-friendly solution for businesses.
Recycled cardboard is often used to create sturdy boxes and mailers for shipping, while kraft paper and honeycomb paper can be used to wrap and protect items inside the package. In addition to being environmentally friendly, these materials are also biodegradable and recyclable, meaning that they can break down naturally over time and be reused to make new paper products.
6. Mushroom packaging
Mushroom packaging is a unique and eco-friendly alternative to traditional packaging materials. It is made from agricultural waste and mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms. The mycelium grows around the waste material, binding it together to create a strong and durable material that can be molded into various shapes and sizes. Since it is a moldable material, it can be shaped to fit around the item, providing a customized and snug fit that will help prevent any damage during transit. This makes it an ideal option for businesses that need to ship fragile items, such as electronics, glassware, or ceramics. However, since mushroom packaging is a relatively new technology, it may not be suitable for all types of products or shipping scenarios.
Image source: Mushroom Packaging Company
7. Sustainable plastics
Biodegradable plastics are made from plant-based materials, such as cornstarch, that break down more easily in the environment than traditional plastic. Recycled plastics are made from post-consumer waste, such as plastic bottles or bags, that have been processed and repurposed into new packaging materials. These options are often used in ecommerce scenarios where traditional plastic packaging is not necessary or suitable. Both options cane be recycled and reused multiple times, but it is important to properly dispose of them in order to ensure they are recycled correctly.
8. Reusable cloth bags
These bags are typically made of natural fibers, such as cotton or jute, that can withstand multiple uses and are more durable than traditional plastic bags. Reusable cloth bags can last for years with proper care and can be washed and reused multiple times. Unlike single-use plastic bags, they do not contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution and can help reduce waste in landfills.
9.Eco Bubble Wrap
Eco bubble wrap is a type of eco-friendly packaging that is designed to provide excellent protection for delicate items during shipping. It is made of corrugated cardboard that is layered with air pockets to create a cushioning effect. In contrast, traditional bubble wrap is typically made of a type of plastic called polyethylene, which can take hundreds of years to decompose and is not easily recyclable. Eco bubble wrap can be used for a variety of ecommerce scenarios, such as shipping fragile items like glassware, electronics, and artwork.
10. Green cell foam
Green cell foam is a sustainable packaging material that is made from natural, renewable resources, such as cornstarch and potatoes. It is a popular choice for ecommerce businesses that want to reduce their environmental impact because it is biodegradable, compostable, and does not contain harmful chemicals or toxins. Green cell foam will break down naturally in a matter of weeks, leaving behind only water, carbon dioxide, and organic matter.
Image source: GREENCELLFOAM
Being able to approach your business with an environmentally friendly strategy is always a good idea. This is going to make it easier for you to appeal to a more conscious audience that is constantly growing.
Always remember that consistency is key in all aspects of your business. In this case, you have to be very careful not to switch to any non-environmentally friendly packaging at any time. You are also going to benefit greatly from the fact that you will contribute to helping save the planet by preserving the environment.
Now that you have a better idea of the types of sustainable packaging available, you can decide which ones are better suited for your business.