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9 Sustainable Packaging Ideas That You Must Implement

SolutionsIt’s the 21st century, and climate change is for real. With high carbon footprints and massive waste generation, industries are almost always first in the line of fire.

As a business owner, you must do your bit by adopting certain sustainable packaging practices.

You may ask why only packaging? The end goal is to make your entire business a sustainable one. Changing your approach towards packaging material seems like an excellent place to start. After all, the packaging sector is notorious for generating lots of non-biodegradable waste. In the US, nearly 30,000 tons of packaging waste ended in landfills across the country. 

The problem is now being addressed by B2C giants like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Nestle. They have gone beyond lightweight measures to increase the packaging material’s longevity.

Here are few other reasons for going the sustainable packaging way.

  • Driving up sales from eco-conscious consumers
  • Saving costs with methods like naked product packaging
  • Environmental brownie points

So, where do we start? While the areas for overhaul are plenty, we have handpicked the nine best packaging ideas. Read on without further ado.

Returnable and Reusable 

As cliché as it sounds, reusing packing material is the best way to start your sustainability journey. Look around for cardboard boxes, stationery, and filling material that you can re-use. Ensure that none of them end up in a landfill.

Recycled material can be pretty handy too. Bubble wraps made from cardboard waste and bags made from hemp are good examples. There’s an endless list of other innovative packaging methods you could try.

Remember the time when vendors used to deliver milk in returnable glass bottles?

The ‘return packaging material’ option could be another gamechanger. Offer incentives to encourage consumers to return their packaging material.

Minimal Packaging 

It’s time for your team to wear the product designer hat. You can create a strong brand identity by investing in minimal yet attractive package designs. 

That brings us to naked product packaging. Although the term isn’t defined, it broadly refers to minimal packaging to keep the product safe and secure. 

It’s in fashion these days because of the reduced costs, environmental benefits, and slick design. Many cosmetics and food companies have already hopped on the naked product packaging bandwagon. There’s a strong indication that more industries will be joining them soon.

Using Sustainable Raw Materials

Recycled material can be pretty handy. 

Bubble wraps made from cardboard waste and bags made from hemp are good examples. There’s an endless list of other innovative packaging methods you could try. Many organizations are turning to forests to source materials like wood, fiber, cotton, etc. 

Plant-based packaging that uses mushrooms and seaweeds seems to be catching attention these days.

If none of these suit your needs, you can always turn to bioplastics. They’re more flexible and sturdier when compared to the other environment-friendly options. But do keep in mind that not all bioplastics are biodegradable

Using an Industrial Shredder

You might already have one as a part of your setup. You can utilize it for shredding all the used cardboard and waste paper. 

The shredded material can be used for filling or cushioning while shipping. You're killing two birds with one stone - use of biodegradable filling and paper waste management.

Using Stretch Wrappers 

Only those in the packaging business know-how essential stretch wrappers are. 

They can compactly pack your product and keep it free from contamination. Instead of boxing the bare product, you can pack stretch-wrapped ones. 

There are three benefits - space optimization, reduced energy costs, and better longevity.

Training the Personnel

There needs to be a culture of sustainability in the organization. Ensure that the staff members are following best practices when it comes to productivity and waste management.

Along with good product handling, it's effective communication that leads to optimal use of resources.

Getting the Size Right Size

It might sound like a no-brainer, but mismatched packaging can be quite the menace. They’re harder to transport, occupy more space, and create unnecessary waste.

Ensure that the packaging designs are optimized down to the T. Besides saving costs, they provide a much better user experience. 

Imagine what would happen if Apple doubles the size of its retail-ready packaging? We guess they’d be shipping a fewer number of iPhones. 

Embracing Automation

It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? You become more efficient by using machines instead of manual workers.

You can scale robotic packaging automation units depending on the demand. Moreover, they’re easy to operate, reduce employees’ carbon footprint, and promise higher accuracy. 

Leveraging Technology 

We live in the age of hi-tech solutions and data. They need to be put to good use for achieving our sustainability goals.

Using machine learning techniques or even industry-standard interfaces can point out weak areas. 

PackML is one such standard that was introduced in 2003. Among others, it provides the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) data. This information can assess the performance. 

Wrapping It Up (Sustainably!)

We know your company is made up of many cogs, and any significant change could take time. But every little effort matters when it has to do with the environment. 

You don’t have to change the entire packaging line today. 

Start with the small things like reducing wastage, using the machines efficiently, and reusing material. Eventually, you can scale things up and make sustainability a part of your grand vision.

So, what are you waiting for? Gather your folks and tell them about your new idea.

In case you need naked product packaging solutions or optimal packaging design for your secondary packaging ,our team is spread across the globe and will be happy to help wherever you are.

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