Climate change has been a hot topic in the headlines and consumers are taking note. As the effects of climate change become more obvious, consumers of all demographics are thinking about how they can do their part by buying products that are environmentally-friendly.
Globally, one of the major trends in packaging is a shift towards eco-friendly packaging according to a recent report by the Global Packaging Institute. That’s why top companies such as Adidas are using eco-friendly and re-sealable materials to package their products and promote sustainability.
Environmentally-friendly packaging (also known as eco-friendly packaging) falls into four main categories. By using any of the types of packaging below, you can do your part to minimize climate change and promote sustainability.
Reusable packaging is a form of packaging that can be resealed and or reused. For example, a zip-lock bag used for resealing food items and preserving their shelf life or a glass bottle that can be refilled and re-used in the future. While the food industry has been quick to adopt reusable packaging as it extends the shelf life of food products, there is an opportunity for clothing companies to make the shift to reusable packaging. Several clothing manufacturers are using materials such as card stock and re-sealable bags. Adidas uses re-sealable bags for its undergarments. Levi’s received high accolades for its reusable wooden box packaging, when it relaunched its basics collection. (For more on reusable packaging, see our feature on re-sealable packaging).
Biodegradable packaging refers to packaging composed of materials that can be broken down and then be returned to the earth. Materials can be classified as biodegradable if they can break down within a year after they’re disposed. Examples of biodegradable materials are cardboard and certain plastics that are made from petrochemicals.
This form of eco-friendly packaging is composed of materials that can easily be repurposed after use. The most popular examples of this type of packaging are paper, glass, and metal.
Naturally sourced materials
Materials such as bioplastics fall into this category. Bioplastics are a form of plastic created with natural materials such as corn starch or polylactide acid (which comes from plant-based sources such as corn starch and sugar cane). These forms of plastic are better for the environment for several reasons. Most importantly, bioplastics create less carbon dioxide gas than traditional plastics when they decompose. Considering carbon dioxide’s well-documented effect on climate change, using this form of plastic is a smart way to keep your brand eco-friendly. Polylactide acid has several similar attributes to traditional plastic and is already being used by companies to create products such as medical devices and food containers.
Popular eco-friendly materials
- Plant Starch Material
- Recycled Plastic
- Recycled Paper
- Palm Leafs
While the official guidelines for sustainable packaging vary from region to region, by considering any of the above mentioned materials or types of packaging for your products you can do your part in curbing environmental waste. Consumers care about corporate social responsibility and a key way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to the environment is to start with the first thing consumers see when they pick up your product: your packaging.