Five Eco-Friendly Packaging Ideas for Your Business
Every business has a personality. The way you package your goods and products should reflect that personality. Unfortunately, many of the more attractive packaging options on the market are made of materials that actively harm the environment. With many consumers choosing to shop with environmentally-friendly businesses, and many businesses choosing to do their part for a better world, these harmful packaging options may be disappointing. On the bright side, the demand for sustainability has led to an increase in eco-conscious options on the market. Here are just five eco-friendly packaging ideas for your business:
- Cloth wrapping
- Reusable bags
- Mail-back boxes
- Biodegradable packing peanuts
- Corrugated bubble wrap
If your products don’t need heavy-duty wrapping (for a trip through the postal service, for example) but you still want to show off your brand through packaging, consider using cloth wrapping. The idea is exactly what you’d expect; instead of using wrapping paper or something similar, you use fabric and just tie it around your product. Choose a fabric that was sustainably made and you’re good to go. Cloth wrapping is more durable than paper, less likely to harm the environment, and has the potential to be reused or repurposed by your customers.
Try Reusable Bags for Eco-Friendly Packaging
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you probably offer your customers something to carry products out in. Instead of paper or plastic bags, consider reusable bags instead. Not only are they better for the environment, they’re also like an extra gift for your customers. In addition, reusable bags can be customized to reflect your brand better than a white plastic bag. If your business operates online only, some reusable bags are even durable enough to survive a trip through the mail while still protecting the products within.
Cloth wrapping and reusable bags might not be the best option for stores that rely on shipping fragile objects. One eco-friendly packaging option for these businesses is mail-back boxes. The basic premise is that you ship the product in a durable, reusable container. The customer then ships the box back for small refund, so you can reuse it. Although these containers initially cost more than throw-away packaging, you’ll need to buy fewer of them because they’re reusable. A few companies getting in on this trend include Haagen-Daz and Tide; customers can return the containers for a refill, or some money back.
Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
We’ve talked about packaging on the outside of your products, but what are the eco-friendly packaging alternatives for inside those boxes and bags of goodies? Bubble wrap and styrofoam are both traditional options, but both are terrible for the environment. Thankfully, new options for each have arisen. For example, biodegradable packing peanuts now exist as an alternative to styrofoam ones. They’re made from natural materials such as wheat and cornstarch and won’t clutter up landfills, while still protecting the precious cargo they’re meant to protect.
Corrugated Bubble Wrap
Bubble wrap is objectively fun to play with. That’s just facts. Unfortunately, another fact of traditional bubble wrap is that it’s bad for the environment. Those little air pockets of joy require a lot of non-biodegradable plastic to make. In response, many companies have moved to using air “pillows” which are just giant versions of bubble wrap. Although they’re somewhat better for the environment (since they’re mostly air), they’re still made mostly of plastic. Enter corrugated “bubble wrap.” Rather than being bubbles, or even particularly wrappable, this option simply uses corrugated cardboard to keep fragile items safe. The corrugation creates enough of an air cushion to mitigate most damage incurred by shipping, and also has the benefit of keeping products more firmly in place. When the package arrives at its destination, the cardboard can then simply be recycled for another day.
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