Now more than ever, consumers have been taking the initiative to research exactly what is making their products/packaging sustainable. Sustainability goes beyond recycling; the modern-day consumer is also interested in the amount of waste being used and other environmental benefactors to create the items they shop for.
There are three pillars for creating a greener packaging program: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. As mentioned before, recycling is a key ingredient to sustainability but certainly not the only one. Reducing is another staple to an eco-friendly package. Reducing the amount of material or pieces used on packaging can save a plethora of resources and energy. Providing consumers with the opportunity to reuse your packaging also creates an opportunity to save materials and energy. A reusable package is the gift that keeps on giving. Keep reading to find out how you can apply reducing, reusing, and recycling to your companies packaging.
Reusable and Recyclable Boxes
Reducing the amount of materials and energy being used to create your brands packaging supports sustainability. There are a few simple ways your company can reduce the amount of waste being used on your packaging. In earlier times, luxury packaging meant going all out with boxes inside of bigger boxes, inside of bags, with plenty of wrapping paper and a ribbon on top. But current times are different. The idea of less is more can certainly apply to luxury packaging. By keeping it elegant, yet simple, you can still wow your customers and reduce waste at the same time. Another way your company can provide outstanding packaging while still hitting the goal to reduce, is combining your box and your bag into one package. If you’re asking yourself ‘How can that be possible?’ or ‘What does that even mean?’ take a look at the bag below. By using a more box-like structure and attaching a handle to the top, we were able to eliminate the need for a separate box and a bag. Eliminating the need for both leads to a reduction in the use of resources.
Reusable Box / Bag
Reusable bags and packaging are a GREAT way to support sustainability. Reusable bags are nothing new to the world of eco-friendly packaging. You can find these types of bags everywhere, from the grocery store to the mall. Providing reusable packaging to your customers eliminates the need for continuous waste, supports eco-friendliness, and provides your customers with a piece of your company to hold on to. Want to take it a step further? Create your reusable package with recyclable material. After all the uses your customer gets out of it, the product can go on to be generated into something new. For example, cotton canvas tote bags are both recyclable and reusable.
A gift with purchase is an excellent way to send a reusable product home with customers
Cotton Canvas Tote Bag
Reusability is more than just tote bags. Any durably made box, bag, or even gift with purchase can prevent waste by providing the consumer a convenient reusable package.… take a look at these Sephora Favorites boxes. Once they have served their original packaging purpose, they can go on to be used again for whatever the customer needs. Items that can be kept and reused for reasons outside of shopping lead to less waste in landfills.
Recyclable material is the key component to eco-friendly packaging. There are plenty of combinations that can be made to keep your company’s packaging eco-friendly. It’s as simple as switching from unrecyclable ink to a soy-based ink.
Some examples of eco-friendly packaging components include:
· Mono Material (consisting of only one material)
· Paper Handles
· Post-Consumer Papers
· Natural Materials- Cotton and Canvas
Reusable Tote Bag
Choosing the wrong finishes can render your eco-friendly design un-recyclable. So how does your package composed of recyclable materials magically become nonrecyclable? Those finishing touches and add ons being used may very well be the culprit. If any part, no matter how small, of your package is not recyclable, the whole package will end up in a landfill.
Some examples of nonrecyclable packaging components include:
· Poly ribbons
Once any of these materials has been added, it doesn’t matter that the main components are eco-friendly, it is still deemed nonrecyclable as a whole. If you want your brand’s packaging to be truly sustainable opt for environmentally friendly inks, finishes and adornments.
Some examples of eco-friendly inks and finishes include:
· Soy-based inks
· Water-based varnishes
· Vegetable based inks
There is a lot to consider when thinking about your sustainable packaging program. VBX Solutions can help you explore your options, and work with you to find the best solution for your brand. To learn about these options email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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by Maggie Tessier