What is sustainable packaging?
Sustainable packaging does no harm to the planet or to people. Sustainable packaging does no harm to the planet in any phase of its life cycle. It should:
- Come from recyclable, renewable sources – e.g. post-consumer recycled materials, materials not containing hazardous chemicals or carcinogens, and materials that are biodegradable.
- Avoid waste – including streamlining packaging so that it requires less material, and making plant operations more efficient.
- Take into account your product life cycle – implement green initiatives at every point in your product’s journey to the consumer and beyond, including shelf life and longevity.
The Sustainable Packaging Alliance
(SPA) has specified the following traits that a product must have in order to be sustainable.
- Effective: Providing value by protecting the contents through the supply chain, and supporting informed and responsible consumption.
- Efficient: Designing the packaging line and machinery to use materials as efficiently as possible.
- Cyclic: Continuously cycling the packaging materials through natural or technical systems.
- Safe: Ensuring no part of the packaging poses a risk to human or environmental health.
Why not unsustainable packaging?
From the beginning to the end of its lifecycle, plastic negatively affects human and environmental health. From the start of its lifecycle – the materials used and the processes needed to make them – to the end of it – the short lifespan and waste – many aspects of packaging negatively affect the environment, and often human health as well. Considering alternatives is well worth it if it reduces your environmental footprint. Common packaging materials such as BPA, phthalates, and PVC are made with chemicals that have been linked to health problems including fertility issues and cancer. Twenty-three per cent of landfill each year is packing. This does not include any packaging that ends up on roadways, rivers, and oceans. Consider your brand’s choices. Can you reduce the amount of material you use or find a more sustainable packaging option? (Spoiler: we have one in mind
Business benefits of sustainable packaging
Brands that have a eco-friendly mindset will attract like-minded customers. Brands that have a sustainable mindset will attract a crowd of like-minded, environmentally conscious consumers. Any brands that don’t support the eco-friendly movement are likely to be left behind by their competitors as the market for sustainability grows. Thinking eco can also be lucrative. When Coca-Cola made their product packaging more sustainable (although they still have far to go) by adopting more resource-efficient designs, and using recycled and renewable materials, they saved about $180 million a year.
All this sounds great … but how do I get started?
All it takes are a few simple steps to get started. Well, if you’re on this page, you’re half-way there! Sourcing more sustainable options is a good start … think recyclable, renewable, compostable. Talk to us
about trialling some of our products, and ensure you provide the proper bins for your customers to dispose of packaging thoughtfully. Make sure you work with suppliers who minimise or eliminate toxic chemicals and carcinogens. Look at your production line to see if it is producing unnecessary emissions. Sustainable packing is where the world is heading. So make the switch and be in the front line of change, ready to reap the benefits of thinking eco. Information taken from Industrial Packaging. To find out more about how the beginning of the plastic lifecycle harms the environment, or what materials are a sustainable alternative to plastic, check out our blog. Planet Friendly Packaging wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Post by Tallis Baker. Planet Friendly Packaging acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we work.