Sustainable Packaging [Eco-Friendly] For Better Business & Environment

Written by Robin Brown on December 16, 2021
A sustainable environment ensures health and wellbeing for present and future generations by conserving natural resources and protecting global ecosystems. This leads to brands and their customers being more concerned about sustainable packaging than ever before. Whether you prefer recycled materials, want to reduce your carbon footprint, or lighten your packaging, there are a number of ways to make a business more environmentally conscious. Major companies are adopting sustainable packaging. The term 'eco-friendly packaging' clearly signifies more than just a trendy term. In fact, including eco-friendly packaging into your brand's services is no longer an option; it is a requirement.

In this post, we will learn about what sustainable packaging is, why it is so important, and ways to get sustainable packaging.

What is sustainable packaging?

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The sourcing, development, and usage of packaging solutions with a low environmental impact and footprint is referred to as sustainable packaging. In short, this packaging system is environmentally friendly and does not deplete natural resources. 

We can be more sustainable if we consume fewer natural resources. For example, instead of driving, you could ride a bike, which uses less oil. Sustainability means meeting our own demands without compromising future generations' ability to meet their own. This is similar to taking fewer sweets from the jar.

Today, almost every company is talking about "becoming green" and improving their practices to reduce their environmental impact. Green initiatives are becoming more important to both consumer packaged goods firms and consumers. According to Nielsen, 75% of Millennials are willing to change their habits to lessen their environmental effect, and 90% are willing to pay more for products containing environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients.
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Difference between eco-friendly and sustainable packaging

When we hear the words eco friendly and sustainable, a lot of us think these are the same word with the same meaning. Well, it is not. Even though they share the same concept, they don’t carry the same meaning. It's not uncommon for individuals to confuse the terms eco friendly and sustainable. In most scenarios, you would not be making a mistake because both of these concepts are concerned with social responsibility and environmental awareness. If we got into the heart of each issue, you'd notice that they do, in fact, have major differences that are worth mentioning. So now let us take you away from the confusing territory by providing some pointers for identifying these two similarly related green phrases.
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What is Eco Friendly?

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The word "eco-friendly" means something that isn't harmful to the planet. While sustainability refers to things that don't harm natural resources such as water and energy, it helps us save those resources for the future. The meaning of "eco-friendly" is not as broad as sustainability.
Sustainability is held to a far higher standard than eco-friendliness by experts. It is because sustainability involves eco-friendly practices, whilst eco-friendly does not.
So when we are talking about eco-friendly packaging, they may not harm our environment, but they are still consuming our natural resources at a rate. A package made from renewable resources, for example, is called eco-friendly. But it is not sustainable if it requires a lot of energy to produce and cannot be disposed of properly.
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Is sustainable and biodegradable packaging the same?

Many materials are technically biodegradable, but if the degrading process takes dozens or even hundreds of years, the environmental benefits are minimal. Biodegradable materials used in packaging must degrade in a reasonable amount of time to meet the concept of sustainable packaging.

Why Aim for Sustainable Packaging?

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It's all about the beginning where you can and making the best decisions for your business and customers. Packaging materials have an impact on your environmental footprint. Instead of standard petroleum-based plastic, consider utilizing eco-friendly packaging for food and other products.

Consumer trends may be one of the reasons that many more brands are embracing environmentally friendly packaging. With more being done to combat climate change, protecting the environment has never been more vital.

Going 'green' is nothing more than a public relations ploy for many larger businesses. We consume with our eyes, and a simple recycling logo may not necessarily carry much weight. Sustainability and environmental responsibility aren't at the forefront of your brand's notable features.

However, eco-friendly packaging might give you a competitive advantage.

It will also help you get loyal customers. If your customer is someone who is concerned about eco-friendly packaging, then they will definitely choose you over your competitors who don't have green packaging. In this way, you can earn your consumers' trust and this will also spread positivity about your brand.
With plastic and packaging dominating the news, environmental regulations, NGO campaigns, and activism, forward-thinking firms will have begun the process of making their packaging more sustainable. So, having green packaging will keep you up with the competition.
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Ways to Get Eco Friendly, Sustainable Packaging Solutions

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Using green materials for packaging is important. Though this may appear to be the case, sustainability in packaging is more than just a matter of materials.

Using less material, regardless of the substance, can also work wonders.

Value engineering is the process of rethinking packaging from the ground up in order to save money – and believe it or not, the majority of money may be saved by using less packaging.

1. Use light packaging for your products:
Minimizing your environmental footprint can be as simple as reducing the amount of packaging you consume. This entails packing your products in smaller boxes, bags, and containers. This not only helps you be more sustainable, but it can also cut your shipping costs.

2. Optimize the use of renewable or recycled  materials:
You can use single-use bags and bottles made from previously used plastic materials. These plastics are recycled and then reintroduced into the market as packaging materials.

3. Use plant-based packaging:
Plant-based alternatives are gradually entering the realm of product packaging. As the name implies, these materials are derived from biological sources, which include everything from mushrooms and seaweed to corn and food waste.
The best plant-based packaging alternatives will be determined by the products that need to be packaged or shipped. If you sell food, for example, you need to make sure that the material can protect it without compromising its flavor. Bioplastics are a good solution for this.

4. Use Compostable and biodegradable plastic alternatives:
Compostable packaging is frequently made of plant-based polymers that degrade in compost. It takes different amounts of time depending on whether it's in a commercial setting or in a household. It takes around 90 days in a commercial setting and about 180 days in a household.

5. Use  materials that are easily recyclable: 
Recycled packaging is a wonderful way to extend the useful life of previously used materials. Consider using packaging made from recycled materials when making your selection.
Paperboard cardboard is one of the most common types of recycled packaging. Paperboard is a lightweight material created from recycled paper pulp that is easily cut and molded, making it ideal for shipping boxes.
To resolve the recycling issue, you can take a number of steps, such as using recycled materials, using solventless lamination, and switching to completely recyclable pouches.

6. Avoid over packaging by ordering on-demand:
The retail supply chain is flooded with packing materials. Before they reach you, products are bagged, baled, or bundled, and additional packaging is frequently used. Forecast demand accurately to avoid overproduction or over-ordering of products.
You could also choose manufacturing partners with sustainable practices. Avoid using mixed materials. And use less virgin material.
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 Digital Printing for Sustainable Packaging!

Because it consumes less energy, produces less waste, and has a reduced carbon footprint, digital printing is a far more sustainable solution than traditional or conventional printing. As a result, it has a lower environmental impact. Short runs save money on materials and transportation.

It provides you with the power to print on demand. We only use carbon-neutral printers at Pkgmaker to ensure that the process of digitally printing our high-quality recyclable pouches and roll stock has a smaller environmental impact than traditional printing.

Pkgmaker's digital printers use polymer-based inks that do not contain any dangerous air pollutants (HAPs). These environmentally friendly inks utilize less energy and release fewer greenhouse emissions than solvent-based or UV-curable inks, which are commonly used in traditional packaging manufacture. Additionally, digital printing supports waste reduction. Fewer materials are needed because there are no plates to set up at the start of each production. Since there are no plates, there are fewer materials to create and replace over time, as well as for the setup of each individual SKU.

You can also order what you need when you need it with this technology. This allows you to avoid wasting unwanted or obsolete packaging as a result of a modified recipe, branding or design changes, regulatory changes, or even unused products as a result of a decline in sales.

Pagemaker is committed to providing environmentally friendly packaging solutions by using carbon-neutral digital printers and offering a variety of environmentally friendly packaging options.

Using their own digitally enabled, flexible packaging, brand owners may customize how they engage with their consumers, verify authenticity, and trace the route of their product. It also enables brand owners to collect data all the way down to the specific product level, allowing them to improve business intelligence like never before. Our technology is based on dynamic data composition, which is only achievable with Pkgmaker's digital printing process.

While there are other ways to improve your company's overall sustainability, focusing on packaging (both materials and printing process) is a significant step toward becoming more environmentally friendly.

Consider how the sort of packaging and printing you use can help you reduce waste and carbon emissions. Want to learn more about the environmental advantages of using digitally printed flexible packaging? Call us and we'll walk you through our numerous sustainable alternatives so you can get started right away. “Go green” for better business and a better planet.
Article written by Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips is part of the content team at Pkgmaker where he develops resources to help customers start and grow their own businesses.

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