Five advantages of eco-friendly packaging and examples to inspire you

Do you use packaging in your business? Read five advantages of choosing eco-friendly packaging, and five inspiring examples.

With an increasing awareness of the impact we all have on the world around us, it’s becoming more important. – if not essential – to make wise choices.

And these choices extend beyond how we personally live our own lives, to how we run our businesses and the decisions we make in it. And one area that can have a significant impact on your own environmental contribution is the type of packaging you use.

Trethowans
Trethowans

What does it mean to be eco-friendly?

Also known as environmentally friendly, to be eco-friendly means to cause no harm against nature and/or the environment. This mainly refers to the process in which products are manufactured, distributed and the materials that make up a product are extracted.

When acting as an eco-friendly producer, natural resources such as energy and water are conserved. Also, the effects of each step in the supply chain prevent contributions to pollution in areas such as land, air and water

Using eco-friendly packaging not only has several benefits to maintaining the sustainability of materials and helping the environment but it also means that fewer materials and less energy is used during the production stages.

During traditional production processes when packaging materials like cardboard and plastic, a quantifiable amount of energy is used sourced from fossil fuels which creates carbon dioxide and methane. These gases are released into the atmosphere and the packaging only ever ends up in landfills and oceans, lakes or rivers. 

As the fight against plastic continues, eco-friendly packaging has become the chosen packaging among a large number of consumers in recent years.

Businesses have taken advantage of this as eco-friendly packaging tends to weigh less which in turn decreases the transportation costs of products through the supply chain from distributors to suppliers or retailers. 

Five advantages of eco-friendly packaging

Here are a few more advantages of having eco-friendly packaging.

1) Cheaper transportation costs

Due to the lighter weight and mass of the materials used for eco-friendly packaging, the total transportation and shipping costs are usually less than they would be for heavily manufactured plastic packaging, for example.

This allows total costs across the business to be reduced leaves space for potential spending on other areas of the business operations. 

2) The materials are biodegradable

When using eco-friendly packaging, lightweight materials are biodegradable. To be biodegradable means that bacteria or living organisms can naturally decompose a material or substance. Paper, cardboard, wood and cornstarch are some of the materials that are biodegradable and materials such as plastic are not.

Did you know that every single piece of plastic ever produced is still in existence today?  Meaning that 8.3 billion tonsof plastic are on our earth. 

To be biodegradable means that there is less of an impact on the environment compared to non-biodegradable materials with non-recyclable and reusable properties. 

3) Reputation and growth opportunity

On our supermarket shelves, there are a limited number of eco-friendly packaged products however there is a high demand for them.

As a business, you can utilise this demand and by using eco-friendly packaging, not only are you helping the environment but you will also create a good brand image. Customers will appreciate the effort and actions a business does to stay green and do their bit for the planet. 

Not only does acting eco-friendly fulfil the needs of consumers but it also allows a space for potential growth for the business. Be one of the leads in your market for having eco-friendly packaging and watch your customer base grow into a satisfied and loyal one. 

4) The three Rs

Packaging that is environmentally friendly has the ability and flexibility to be recycled, reused and reduced leading to a totally sustainable product!

  1. Recycle: Once used, the packaging can be easily recycled and this reduces the impact of extracting new raw materials for production processes and reduces operational costs. 
  2. Reuse: Some products and the packaging of products have several purposeful functional uses that means that after their primary use, they can be used for other things or over and over again. For example boxes for storage, razors with replaceable blades, shopping and jute bags, metal straws and reusable coffee cups
  3. Reduce: When using eco-friendly packaging, less and lighter materials are used and are recycled and reused which ultimately reduces the number of raw materials that are extracted from the planet. 

5) A decreased carbon footprint

Carbon footprint is the total emissions that have been created or caused by an organisation or individual. 

The manufacturing processes of materials that are biodegradable, recyclable and reusable are more efficient than those which are not. This means that the volumes of carbon dioxide and methane emissions and energy used during production processes are greatly reduced.

Not only does this aid the war against pollution, it also shows your business or organisation in a positive light to consumers. 

Examples of eco-friendly packaging

Large corporate businesses are jumping on the bandwagon and moving to sustainable packaging. McDonald’s recently announced that by 2025 all of their packagings will be 100% renewable.

There are many current examples of eco-friendly packaging that are creative as well as functional in their design. Here are a few of our favourites.

Graze

Graze supply consumers with nutritionally balanced ingredients from nature that have several health benefits in their trusty and trendy biodegradable lightweight box. 

Cartoned Wine 

Brands like Yellow + Blue Wines have come up with their sustainable cartoned wine that still tastes as good as bottled wine would. This carton cuts the average carbon footprint in half compared to that of a glass bottle of wine. 

Take-Out

Joann Arello’s award-winning packaging design focuses on sustainability whilst reducing the need for plastic bags when it comes to carrying take out containers. 

Supermarkets

Rimping Supermarket in Chaing Mai in Thailand has switched all their packaging for fruit and veg from plastics to bananas leaves. Having sustainable and eco-friendly packaging in Thailand is more common than in countries like England and the US.

100 x 100

These trendy, multifunctional milk containers are made of sustainable cardboard. Hidden away there are different seeds stored in the side of the packaging so that the milk bottle can be reused to plant new life.