8 Ways to Make Your Packaging More Sustainable
By its very nature, packaging is inherently unsustainable. However, given its necessity, the goal of packaging has become how to move towards greater sustainability and lessen its carbon footprint. Below are a couple of tips on how to make small (and big) incremental changes in order to work towards greater sustainability:
- Use corrugated cardboard:
Otherwise known just as “cardboard”, corrugated paper products are easy to recycle, and often get reused.
- Scrap mixed materials:
Using packaging which has been fused together makes it impossible to recycle. If you can, use packaging comprised of a single material, such as corrugated cardboard, or 1 type of plastic.
- Transition to recycled content and less virgin materials:
Reducing the amount of new resources you use for your packaging, ultimately reduces your carbon footprint.
- Encourage curbside recycling:
The easier you make it for your consumers to recycle your packaging, and less likely to end up in a landfill. Many soft plastics have to be recycled at designated centres and when left in the curbside bin, end up in a landfill.
- Create recycling programs for soft plastics or “difficult to recycle” packaging:
Soft or flexible plastics include items like standing zipper bags, plastic bags, and anything that crinkles (like chip bags). If you have a brick and mortar shop, encourage customers to bring back packaging to be recycled. London Drugs in Canada has developed a “green deal” with bins available in store for customers to return their soft plastics for the retailer to recycle.
- Design the “right size” packaging:
Avoid over packaging by using less bulky materials through a well designed, properly fitted package. Thus reducing the amount of materials which need to be recycled or trashed.
- Take advantage of new technologies:
Get creative with molded pulp! Molded pulp has become popular for holding liquids. Seventh Generation has utilized molded pulp for their liquid laundry detergent. Comprised of 70% recycled cardboard, and 30% recycled newspaper, Seventh Generation won the 2011 Environmental Impact award for their molded pulp packaging.
- Think about replacing plastic with alternative materials:
Bioplastics for example can assist in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Bioplastics are biodegradable vessels made from vegetables, fats and oils. They are hardy and resilient, making them an excellent alternative to traditional plastic.
About The Author
Kirsten Crisostomo is a freelance copy and content writer based in Vancouver, BC.