For the past few years, online sales have been heading up, up and up – with no
signs of slowing down.
That is a lot of products, all nestled in a lot of packaging, being shipped
throughout the country.
While online sales are convenient for consumers, and great for companies’
bottom lines, all of that packaging is wreaking havoc with the environment.
Flip on the nightly news and you’re almost guaranteed to hear a story about how
the wasteful ways are negatively impacting the environment – whether its
plastic islands floating in the ocean, massive garbage barges with no home or an
alarmingly changing climate.
Most of us are becoming increasingly eco-conscious and want to do our part to
protect the planet.
Of course, we know we can’t do it alone and want the companies that we do
business with to pay attention to our environmental concerns.
One-way companies can stand out, is through making a concerted effort to
deliver goods in eco-friendly packaging.
Your Packaging Matters
If you’ve been doing online sales for any length of time, you know that
packaging is often the first impression you make with your customers.
People want to be wowed by that box that arrives on their doorstep.
It’s not just the item inside the box that counts. Consumers are looking at the
whole unboxing experience and they have high expectations.
But effective custom packaging is more than just a beautiful presentation.
Eco-Friendly Packaging Solutions
The packaging waste numbers mentioned above may be depressing, but don’t
There are many easy-to-implement packaging solutions that will make your
company look like an eco-warrior with little effort or cost.
Fortunately, using eco-friendly packaging doesn’t have to be difficult – or
expensive. Here are some tips to get you on your way:
Don’t over package your goods.
Talk about an easy way to save money. Why waste money and resources on
excessive packaging you don’t need? You want to use enough padding to
cushion your goods, but don’t go overboard. Keep in mind that your customers
don’t want to be stuck having to get rid of a box of unnecessary void fill.
Use corrugated boxes.
Corrugated cardboard is the most recycled material in the world, so there is an
easy recycling process in place. It just needs to be collected, compacted and
then sent to a repulper to make new boxes.
There are a couple of drawbacks with recycling corrugated cardboard. It can’t
have metal foil or wax on it or be grease-stained (sorry pizza boxes that means
you). And don’t even think of tossing soggy boxes into the recycling bin. That’s a
When you hear “corrugated cardboard box,” words like boring and nondescript
may spring to mind. But that’s not the case. There are plenty of options to infuse
your unique style onto the custom boxes and get your brand front and center in
a memorable way.
You can cover every side of the box with your brand colours and slogans, or
simply stamp your logo on one side. Whatever you choose, there are many
options at various price points to personalize an otherwise bland corrugated box.
Pay attention to how you secure your items.
Alright. I think we can all agree its time to ditch the Styrofoam peanuts. Even
someone with a cursory understanding of environmental issues knows these are
no good – especially since there are so many alternatives that can protect your
goods at least as well.
If you’re attached to the peanuts, go for the biodegradable variety. Your
customers and the earth will thank you since they are so easy to dispose of.
Starch-based peanuts will dissolve in water so are super-easy to get rid of.
Other eco-friendly void fill that will protect your items in transit include Geami
paper (an alternative to bubble wrap that’s 100% recyclable), biodegradable
burlap bags, tissue paper, and shredded colorful recyclable paper. You can even
use biodegradable cord, as an alternative to twine.
PET bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate; a type of clear, strong,
and lightweight plastic that we use to manufacture a number of cosmetics bottle
styles in our catalog. The first ever PET bottle was patented in 1973, and today
they are used for a wide variety of applications. Along with cosmetics, PET
bottles are used for soft drinks, detergents, pharmaceuticals, alcoholic
beverages, and for many other containers.
But just how eco-friendly are PET bottles? The truth is that virgin PET bottles are
made using non-renewable resources such as crude oil and natural gas, but
when compared to other materials, PET plastics are actually much eco-friendlier
than you may think.
Production of PET Bottles
Alternatives to PET typically use much more energy to produce, such as
polycarbonate which is estimated to use 40% more energy during the production
process than is used when manufacturing virgin PET bottles. But figures like this
are becoming obsolete as the number of virgin PET bottles being made is
dropping. Instead, an increasing number of PET bottles are being made
from recycled PET (2), helping to develop the circular economy. It’s estimated
that nearly half of all PET energy use is ‘resource energy, which means that we
can discount this energy use when producing PET from recycled PET.
PET bottles are one of the most heavily recycled plastics in the United States,
with the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) noting that
more than 2 billion lbs are collected across the US and Canada per year. Part of
the reason for this is understood to be the clear resin code on bottles which
minimizes confusion around what materials can and cannot be recycled.
Additionally, the high acceptance rate of PET bottles from local recycling centers
certainly helps. Overall, it’s believed that the recycling rate for PET bottles in the
United States is hovering at around 30 percent.
PET is lightweight, which means it can be transported easily while minimizing the
amount of fuel used as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. NAPCOR
estimates that if a city of 200,000 people recycled one PET bottle every day, the
reduction in greenhouse gasses would be the equivalent of taking 240 cars off
the road for an entire year.
If the packaging is made from natural materials, this means it will be
biodegradable. Plastic is not easily biodegraded, taking hundreds if not
thousands of years to break down, releasing harmful chemicals on its
way. Some eco-friendly packaging, such as sustainable paper products,
will even be compostable.
Most businesses and places in the UK and Europe have dedicated
recycling or disposal locations or services. It’s relatively easy to recycle
nowadays, provided you separate your disposables so they can be
No Harmful Toxins
Non-sustainable petrochemical resources such as crude oil, which is used
to make most plastic, is incredibly harmful to the environment in terms of
both extraction, refinement, distribution, use and disposal. Eco-friendly
packaging has none of these issues over its lifespan. As it biodegrades,
harmful chemicals such as the ones produced by plastic are not present.
Easily Reused or Recycled
Part of what makes packaging eco-friendly is its ability to be reused or
recycled. Encouraging the reuse of packaging means that its lifespan is
extended, which reduces the need for new materials, further lowering its
carbon footprint. If the packaging is of good enough quality, it should be
able to be reused for things like further packaging, storage and even arts