When you think of a brand or product, one of the first things that might come to mind is its signature packaging. Remember the first perfume you bought when you were 11 years old? What was the first thing that caught your eye and made you want to try it out? It was probably the distinct look, smell and feel of the unique box it was in. Creating this sensory experience for consumers is important because it communicates your brand's story.
But the world is changing and one story that more and more consumers are looking to hear is that of sustainability. A survey conducted by Ton To Ton on sustainable marketing found that 72% of consumers buy more environmentally friendly products now than they did 5 years ago. These changes mean that as a business, rethinking your packaging strategy could not only make a difference to your impact on the environment, but to your sales too. Read on to learn more about the best way to offer sustainable and innovative packaging.
What is sustainable packaging?
Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact that commercialism has on the environment. That's why they're looking to corporations to take social responsibility and reduce their waste and carbon footprint. According to the World Economic Forum, consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from sustainable companies. But what does it mean to have sustainable packaging?
In a broad sense, sustainable packaging is packaging that's better for the environment. There isn't an objective framework that all sustainable packaging follows but it's based on the life cycle of the packaging product and its impact on the environment. For example, you can conduct a Life Cycle Analysis to find out what environmental impacts your packaging poses at each stage from the material extraction process to its manufacturing, distribution and disposal.
Some examples of sustainable packaging include:
- Reusable plastic
- Glass containers
- Rice husk
- Cellulose-filled gelatin films
- Compostable packaging
Unpacking the benefits of sustainable packaging
1. Ensures human health and safety
Biodegradable materials tend to be non-toxic and free of the harmful chemicals that have been shown to cause allergic reactions in humans. Because sustainable packaging is made from these materials, it can be healthier for those involved in the manufacturing process and the customer using the end product.
2. Reduces carbon footprint
Unsustainable packaging can increase the amount of greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming and other impacts on the environment. Eco-friendly packaging can also help minimize the waste and pollution that end up in landfills and oceans.
3. Increases revenue
More than 58% of UK-based consumers are willing to pay more for compostable packaging because they're aware of the environmental impact of plastic packaging. These statistics indicate that offering sustainable packaging could increase your sales since more consumers want to purchase from brands that are focused on reducing their carbon footprint.
4. Decreases costs and use of resources
Packaging can impact your shipping costs because of its weight. But the advantage of sustainable packaging is that it usually weighs less than traditional packaging. Sustainable packaging is usually made out of lightweight materials like molded pulp, which means you can optimize your storage and shipping processes and effectively reduce their costs.
5. Meets consumer demands
Consumers and retailers are looking for more sustainable brands to support. Research found that 48% of consumers are willing to change their habits in order to lower their impact on the environment. Offering sustainable packaging will help you meet your consumer's eco-conscious demands.
6. Creates social responsibility
A successful company is one that consumers can trust and one that also creates value for society. Offering sustainable packaging can reduce the impact on the environment and society and drive change in your industry. It can be an opportunity for you to become a leader and influence other brands as well as show your customers that you value their needs as well as their health and safety.
Is sustainable packaging just a trend?
Sustainability may have started out as a trend but it definitely has evolved into more of a lifestyle that countless people are working towards. There are many different ways for you to create sustainable packaging depending on your business's goals and approach. You don't have to change everything at once, but it's important that you take a step towards being more eco-conscious, for the benefit of the environment, its people and your business.
How can you acheive your sustainable packaging goals?
You can start with sharing sustainable best practices by encouraging your consumers to recycle and dispose of your packages properly. Do this by labelling your packages accordingly.
You can also opt for packaging that's made from recycled materials, that are plant-based or edible in the case of food and beverage products. Another way to offer sustainable packaging is to use compostable and biodegradable plastic alternatives.
What practices we can adopt today will have a significant impact on tomorrow. Partnering with a packaging manufacturer that takes their promise for ethical practices and environmentally friendly products seriously is a step in the right direction. GPA Global is a manufacturer that has years of extensive experience in sustainable packaging and they don't shy away from the hard work needed to understand how they can reduce their carbon footprint.
Take it one step at a time and look at the best way you can reduce environmental impacts at each stage of your packaging product's life cycle. GPA Global realises that our relationship with the planet can be tricky but that's why they're committed to looking for new ways to implement sustainable materials into their manufacturing processes. They understand that it can't all be done at once so they optimize their sustainability goals as an iterative process.