The world is (finally) waking up to the realisation that we’re all responsible for the well-being of our planet. Consumers and companies alike are aware that we need to make educated choices – and this not only applies to the products we purchase, but the packaging of goods as well.
Many of us were brought up with the concept of ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’. For companies it’s necessary to extend this mindset and focus on what’s now accepted as the gold standard – the 7 R’s of sustainable packaging:
- Remove: Forget over-packaging, and instead select exactly what’s necessary for logistical packing requirements – and not a shred extra.
- Reduce: Take advantage of the ultimate packing choices to provide adequate protection using minimal components.
- Reuse: Can packaging be repurposed or recycled to allow for further use?
- Renew(able): Use materials that are produced from renewable resources or biodegradable materials.
- Recycle(able): Select packaging options that are produced from recycled products AND can be further recycled multiple times.
- Revenue: Achieve all of the above at reduced or no extra cost.
- Read: In other words, become educated to learn more about the importance of packaging that focuses on sustainability.
Science and technology has advanced in leaps and bounds. This means that today we can take advantage of a multitude of eco-friendly packaging options that effectively address the needs of a wide range of products.
So let’s look a little deeper into what sustainable packaging actually means…
What is Sustainable Packaging, Exactly?
Quite simply, it refers to packaging that – over time – reduces its environmental footprint.
Actually, this is a little more complicated than it first seems. The core concept behind sustainable packaging is that it’s sympathetic to the economic angle, is ethically produced and – very importantly – doesn’t have further detrimental impacts on the environment.
For example, packaging made from plant-based materials might, in many cases, be a viable option. But if this requires the clearing of precious rainforests in order to grow the required crops then this wouldn’t be a desirable outcome.
Truly sustainable packaging considers the following:
- Uses minimal production processes, therefore reducing the carbon footprint
- Uses up to 100% recycled or raw materials
- Creates a reusable packaging product, therefore extending the lifespan of the materials
- Addresses not only the materials, but the economic and social factors surrounding the production as well
Design is Everything
Gone are the days when companies could simply box up their goods and ship them out. Today’s packing uses creative design to provide the protection necessary for the individual goods, yet does as little harm to the environment as possible. It also delivers a powerful message to the customer.
Using less materials is a vital step, as is the use of environmentally friendly options. The ability for the end consumer to easily dispose of the packaging in an eco-conscious manner is crucial. Compostable packaging is an option that dramatically reduces the impact on the environment and is far superior to that which is labelled biodegradable.
It’s important to understand the difference between the two, as there are no time frames as to how long it takes for a biodegradable item to break down. Nor are there rules as to the elements that remain – some of which might remain harmful to the environment.
Conversely, compostable packaging must break down to compost within 90 days, ready to be returned to the soil and begin a further lifecycle.
Working with a Packaging Supplier to Create Truly Sustainable Packaging
Genuinely sustainable packaging solutions don’t come about by chance – they’re determined through working with an expert supplier who designs according to your products, customer demographics and company message.
Get this right and not only does this increase brand desirability and customer loyalty, but using less packing materials reduces costs as well.
Perth-based Crystal Pack are leaders in the supply of sustainable folding carton packaging, boxes and paper packing sleeves. They work with companies to tailor-design the ultimate packing solutions for products of any shape and size.
To find out how our experts can revolutionise your packaging needs contact us now or give our friendly team a call on 08 9368 8555.