We can’t help it, packaging is everywhere. Packaging in all its forms; plastic, containers, wrappers, boxes. From Amazon to your local grocery store, it’s inevitable that you will buy something today that has been packaged in a single use container. While recycling has become a cultural norm, it is estimated that approximately 91% of materials placed in recycling bins cannot actually be recycled. Many companies are adopting more sustainable packaging practices as a means to pursue corporate stewardship and to decrease their carbon footprint. As sales via eCommerce continue to grow, packaging for eCommerce must also adapt to become more sustainable.
Integrate sustainable packaging practices throughout brand and business strategy. This can make your brand image synonymous with sustainability, contribute towards social consciousness and create positive change. Integration can be done in a variety of ways:
SPUD, a local Vancouver food service company, provides its customers with a means for recycling their packaging. Currently, many soft plastics are not accepted by municipal recycling programs and end up in landfills. Dubbed the “Pink Bag Takeback Program”, SPUD is asking its consumers to bring their bags back to the store where they will recycle it for you. They have partnered with a specialized recycling company to take full ownership over their packaging.
Sifting through a myriad of grassroots organizations to support can be challenging at times. You want to find one that speaks to your passions and compliments your brand identity, but where to begin? 1% For The Planet is a global organization which seeks to give back to non-profit partners which are committed to environmental stewardship. By joining the 1% network, companies will be certified by the organization and can advertise this across their packaging, shipping materials, website, and other branding platforms.
If providing waste management services is not feasible, consider using more sustainable materials to package your product. Plastic substitutes for example, have become increasingly popular within the past 10 years. While plastic has traditionally been linked to product freshness, paper hybrids have become a viable competitor. For example, lining cardboard or paperboard based bottles with recyclable or compostable lining can be as effective as its plastic counterparts.
Kirsten Crisostomo is a freelance copy and content writer based in Vancouver, BC.