The Covid-19 pandemic has put sustainability, our environment, and social justice issues into the greater general consciousness. While the world has been talking and advocating for governments and corporations to adopt more sustainable practices, consumers are even more reliable on ecommerce more than ever. Essentially, our systems have not caught up to our rate of consumption.
Canada, and specifically Vancouver, have adopted green strategies which include banning single use plastics, plastic straws, and plastic grocery bags. Vancouver itself has endeavoured to drastically cut down or ban most single use items such as disposable cups, take out containers, and bags. With more governments implementing strategies to “greenify” their cities and countries, it’s important that businesses make attempts to pivot their practices to center on sustainability.
So what are some of the top sustainable packaging developments happening in 2021? We are breaking down some popular developments in sustainable packaging that we think are accessible and implementable to your small/medium sized business.
This one we think is the easiest to start implementing. As you know, we can’t say enough good things about corrugated cardboard. Not only is corrugated cardboard the most easily recyclable packaging material, but much of corrugated cardboard is comprised of recycled content. Here’s another fun fact – corrugated cardboard is also compostable and biodegradable! It makes great use as garden starter boxes, and when you break it down, is accepted at regional compost programs. Whether you choose corrugated or not, be mindful of the recyclability of your packaging and make sure your customers know how/where to recycle your packages.
While it may seem like a big practice shift, there are businesses out there that are creating strategies to encourage recycling and repurposing their containers. A couple of great local examples of this are Spud and Earnest Ice Cream. Spud’s Take Back Program allows shoppers to bring back standing/zipper pouches for recycling. Zipper/standing pouches are notoriously hard to recycle because they are not accepted by most curbside recycling programs. Earnest Ice Cream has made a goal to become a zero waste company by offering $1 for every jar returned which are in turn, cleaned and used to package more ice cream. If you want a hot tip, with every 10th jar you return, you get a free pint!
Packaging technology and innovation has taken great strides since the days of styrofoam. Nowadays, you can easily find vegetable-based packing peanuts, vegetable based inks, and compostable bottles. While these can seem like hefty investments, market research has shown that Gen Z (the fastest rising consumer demographic) is prioritizing supporting companies which maintain ethical environmental practices.
Kirsten Crisostomo is a freelance copy and content writer based in Vancouver, BC.