January 03, 2023 | Packaging
The growth in e-commerce during the pandemic has led to unprecedented demand for packaging materials. The result is a shortage of raw materials – plastic polymers, paper and paper-based products, metal, glass, wood and foam. That shortage is forcing more and more organizations to switch to sustainable packaging and embrace the 3R model—reduce, reuse and recycle.
Sustainable design in packaging ensures little to no damage to the environment while creating new product packaging. It further reduces its own environmental footprint, if any, over time. Below are a few ways that companies can adopt eco-friendly packaging:
Where a packaging vendor has a contract for sustainable packaging, businesses should ensure the packages supplied align with their sustainability requirements and policies. Just because packaging has eco-friendly labeling doesn't mean it is sustainable. Sustainably designed packaging that doesn’t harm the planet will be a value-add to the customer and the brand.
Eco-friendly measures are no longer just 'good to have.' Consumers are demanding them more and more, forcing brands to explore innovative ways to go greener.
The following trends may be seen in the sustainable packaging space.
Laws on extended producer responsibility (EPR), truth in labeling for recyclable materials and getting toxins out of packaging are being legislated across the US. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a law requiring a 25% reduction in the sale of plastic packaging by 2032. The EU is currently implementing similar rules on single-use plastics to accelerate the shift to a circular economy and reduce the impact of plastic packaging on the environment.
The Oregon DEQ commissioned research on Popular Packaging Attributes to understand the impact of recyclable and non-recyclable packaging. The analysis revealed that recyclable packaging had higher lifecycle impacts than the non-recyclable packaging only 50% of the time.
Thus, just because packaging is recyclable, does not mean it is sustainable. A new tool or scorecard is under beta testing, which will evaluate a sustainable package's impact.
These are becoming more popular by the hour, encouraging packaging-free trials to be implemented across supermarkets.
Edible packaging is becoming popular in sectors other than food—for example, water in edible bubble-like packaging that is biodegradable in 4 to 6 weeks is quite famous.
Sustainable packaging benefits the business, employees and, most importantly, the environment. It does so by:
The advantage of adopting environmentally friendly packaging is that it may be reused by the consumer again and again. For example, bags made out of recycled cloth. A few other examples include:
Research carried out by various agencies has shown a complete shift in the consumer's minds concerning sustainability. They are more than willing to pay extra for sustainable products and services.
Businesswire states that 85% of consumers have shifted their preference to shop for sustainable products in the last five years.
According to the UN, 93% of the world's 250 largest companies are now reporting on sustainability.
This is the best time for companies, big or small, to act to profit and save the planet at the same time. Making sustainability part of their core values enables businesses to future-proof themselves against disruption.