Seven Sustainable Packaging Trends Businesses Can’t Ignore
Sustainable packaging can’t be viewed as a passing hippie mindset, in fact, sustainability must be a priority for companies across the board including packaging.
Whether it is the rise in veganism or the push towards electric cars, it is almost impossible to look around these days without being reminded of the growing passion for living sustainably. And while individuals are increasingly choosing eco-friendly options at home, sometimes it is taking businesses a little longer to catch up.
However, the reality is that there are many things that companies can do to change their behavior and be kinder to the environment. Sustainable packaging is at the forefront of this. Customers prefer products that come in sustainable packaging, and there are now many trends that companies are adopting to meet that demand.
Here are seven sustainable packaging trends, collected from the best food and beverage branding agencies in the United States. These packaging trends your business can no longer afford to ignore.
1. Using recycled materials
One of the most important steps towards sustainable packaging is to choose recycled materials wherever possible. Businesses are able to integrate recycled plastic, paper, board, and even glass into new packaging.
If you are considering doing this, however, you should be aware of a few details. Firstly, recycled content will affect the quality of the material and you will generally need to use a denser material that weighs more in order to get the same level of quality that you would expect from non-recycled packaging.
2. Design with recycling in mind
It is a great idea to design your product packaging with the fact that it needs to be recycled in mind. Some products that come to customers could potentially be recycled, but due to poor design this becomes impossible. In order to be recycled, material has to fulfill a list of requirements – it should be separated for other materials, it should be clean, and it should be labelled.
Try to integrate these factors into the packaging that you use so that used packaging can be easily recycled by your customers.
3. Using biodegradable materials
Another popular option is to select materials that biodegrade over time. This can remove the need to recycle the product, as the packaging naturally breaks down after its useful lifespan is over. However, it is important to note some issues with biodegradable packaging.
Crucially you need to check that the material you are using actually biodegrades correctly. Some suppliers offer ‘biodegradable’ options that take ten years to break down. If that doesn’t sound so bad, be aware that others able to biodegrade in just 90 days.
4. Smaller packaging
Of course, one of the key ways that your packaging can be more environmentally friendly is if you simply use less of it. You might be surprised how often products are packaged in containers and materials that are simply much too big for them. Reduce the size of your packaging and you’ll be doing wonders for the environment by reducing the amount of transport it needs.
5. Opt for paper when possible
When it is possible, you should use paper. It is actually very surprising how often you can replace plastic packaging materials with paper without anyone noticing a difference in the quality of the material. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should blindly use paper – in some scenarios there is evidence to suggest that it is more environmentally friendly to use plastic. And you should check that the paper you use is sourced from sustainable forests.
6. Reduce packaging levels overall
Are there any elements of your packaging that you can ditch altogether? Many products simply contain packaging materials that are completely unnecessary. When you come to redesign you packaging, have a real think about whether the materials you are using genuinely serve a purpose.
7. Clearer labeling
It is absolutely essential that you not only use more sustainable forms of packaging, but that you also clearly label your packaging so that customers and recycling centres understand how to process it after it has been used. This clear labeling can even be a selling point for your product as yours will be preferred over products that don’t clearly state how to deal with the packaging.
There are many steps that any business can take towards more sustainable packaging – and these eco-trends represent not only a growing demand from customers, but also a desire from businesses to do the right thing for the environment. It could be time for your company to start looking into the various options to make your product packaging sustainable.