Green product packaging is no longer a trend; it has grown into an expectation of consumers. Whatever you call it: ecological, sustainable, natural, eco-friendly, or environmentally friendly, an increasing number of companies have realized the benefits of “going green” as regards product packaging.
As problems of climate change and global environmental stability became conspicuous, customer demand for eco-friendly products and product packaging increased significantly. Little wonder companies shifted their focus from just improving their brand image, product and customer experience to incorporating eco-friendly materials and constructions methods in their product packaging to reduce their environmental impact.
Let us examine some of the exciting and innovative ways companies have tackled sustainability in recent times, and the methods in which you as a manufacturer can implement natural packaging.
First things first! Make your product label as clear as possible.
Disposal method and clarification of any sustainability claims should be made crystal clear on the product packaging. The more transparent you are, the more informed your customers will be on the best recycling or disposal methods for the product packaging. This way, your customers become fully aware of what they are purchasing. For compostable plastic packaging, educate your customers on the exact requirements for it to decompose. Honesty goes a long way in green product packaging.
“Less is more,” they say! This concept of making product packaging smaller, lighter, and with fewer materials has become widespread. This poses various benefits:
- less material is needed to produce packages
- cost of manufacturing is reduced, passing the savings down to the consumers
- reduced environmental impact from transport
- reduced landfill waste
More recyclable materials
The easiest way of minimizing the environmental impact of your product packaging is by using recyclable materials in its manufacture. Such materials include, but are not limited to, paper, cardboard, and recyclable plastics. You can even use recycled materials for your product packaging. Consult your packaging manufacturer to know the various material options available within your requirements and budget before you start production
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could eat the packaging of the products you buy most often? This is one concept that has turned many heads. It is about eliminating the product packaging waste—a deliberate effort by several companies to minimize the overall paper and plastic waste. This innovation is mainly implemented in the food industry as food wrapped in food, disappearing packages, food packaged in an edible container, and a cup or container that can be eaten alongside its beverage.
As you must have imagined, this concept isn’t devoid of challenges. You must have imagined the issues with logistics, such as the packaging material breaking during transit, or the skepticism from potential consumers as to the hygienic status of the packaging.
Do you have a large package for a very small product? You are only increasing the disposable material. Most customers get upset after unwrapping a huge package only to find a tiny product inside. Customizing your packaging to save material and space is the new way to go! More and more companies are towing the path of minimalist packaging that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Do away with bulky product packaging, and soon your consumers will notice the greater value provided by your product.
As a rule of thumb, natural/green packaging can be summed up by an exciting 7-R formula:
REMOVE: the useless, dangerous and unnecessary materials from the product packaging.
REDUCE: Product packaging size should be reduced to the barest minimum or redesigned based on the type of material packaged.
REUSE: As much as possible, packaging materials should be made from reusable materials.
RENEW: The biodegradable materials should be used and renewed according to the global standards.
RECYCLE: Product packaging materials should be of highest recyclable contents for long-term recycling while maintaining the quality.
REVENUE: Manufacturing firms should bear in mind supply chain strategy and the economic stability of the packaging material to prevent financial disturbances.
READ: Product packaging firms should be informed and keep themselves updated of their role in green packaging.
Alternatively, these 7 R’s can be cut down to three: recycle, reuse and reduce, with the inclusion of a new term called rethink. The rethink focuses on encouraging the product packaging firms to consider and adopt smarter and improved sustainable methods for their product packaging as soon as they become available.