Studies have shown that today’s consumer is more likely to support businesses that are more environmentally conscious. Companies that are actively trying to reduce their carbon footprint also tend to have a better brand image and a more loyal customer base.
Customers are calling for more sustainable and eco-friendly packaging, and companies are listening – businesses big and small are becoming increasingly aware that they need to rethink the packaging they use.
Here are six ways your business can get creative with packaging… and become more eco-friendly in the process.
1Use Cardboard Wherever You Can
One of the simplest ways to make your packaging more eco-friendly is to use cardboard wherever you can. Cardboard is reusable, biodegradable, and comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
Cardboard packaging products have a small impact on the environment because they break down easily – even when they end up in landfills, most will break down naturally within three months.
Double and triple-walled cardboard boxes and corrugated sheets are as sturdy as you can get, so you can rest easy knowing that your products will be safe. Cardboard is also a cost-effective option, especially if you purchase boxes and corrugated sheets wholesale.
If you want to get more creative with your cardboard packaging, custom printing on boxes is a great way to strengthen your brand identity – just be sure that the ink is water-based and eco-friendly.
Always choose the right packaging for your product’s dimensions and opt for the smallest box or mailer so that your product fits snugly inside. Ensuring that your product fits tightly will reduce the risk of breakage or damage – and you’ll need to use less filler, too.
When you use the wrong size box or packaging, you can damage your products because they will move freely in the box during transit.
Using the wrong packaging will also mean more filling material is needed to fill the space around your product, which will create more packaging waste. An enormous box filled with paper filler also costs more to send and create.
Not only does your packaging impact your product and the environment, but it can also affect your brand image. By making sure your products are packaged well, you can communicate your company’s commitment to creating less environmental waste.
3Make Your Packaging Reusable
One of the best ways to reduce packaging waste is to make your packaging reusable in some way. This is a great opportunity to get creative and offer your customers something unique.
For instance, if you sell sustainable fashion items, you could design a cardboard shipping box that transforms into a clothes hanger with a few folds.
A good example is Monday’s Child – a kid’s clothing company – whose packaging designers really thought out of the box when they designed a parcel that can also double as a toy!
4Use Packaging That Can Be Planted
Using seed paper that has seeds embedded into it is an excellent way to promote green living and add an enjoyable touch of surprise to your packaging. You can easily use seed paper for your tags, labels, small boxes, wrapping, and paper inserts.
Plantable packaging is a way to take the zero-waste concept to a whole new level – your customers can soak the seed paper in water, plant it, and contribute to improving the environment by growing more plants and trees.
Plants and trees draw harmful CO² from the atmosphere – so planting more of them is crucial. There are many seeds available for seed paper, but wildflowers are popular because they are easy to grow, beautiful to look at, and support pollinators.
5Consider Compostable Packaging
Using compostable packaging is another way to reduce your company’s packaging waste. Compostable packaging will degrade in the right conditions and break down into natural fertilizer.
Bear in mind though – compostable packaging will not degrade correctly if just left in nature, so be sure to include composting instructions so your customers know how to dispose of it.
6Offer a Returns Program for Empty Containers
Offering a bulk return program with discounts for empty bottles and containers provides customers with an incentive to reduce their waste and reduce their carbon footprint.
Returnly is a clever Shopify app that allows customers to return their empty containers to you via mail to get them sterilized and refilled. This will help reduce the impact of single-use or disposable culture – and offering a returns program will save you money on packaging, too.