Eco-friendly packaging is a complex subject. It’s important to understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the various types eco-friendly packaging.
However in a bid to increase environmental sustainability, protection and preservation, business owners and production companies all over the globe are resorting to the use of eco friendly packaging as alternatives to less eco-friendly packaging of their products. The concept of “cradle-to-cradle” — taking responsibility for a product’s impact from the sourcing of the materials to its ultimate disposal — is also becoming increasingly important to businesses around the world because eco friendly packaging is easy to recycle, reuse, compostable and biodegradable amongst others. There is a plurality of options when it comes to the production of eco friendly packaging.
For the sake of this article, we mention the types of eco-friendly packaging, their benefits alongside descriptive images of these eco-friendly packaging for your choosing: –
This is a great way to reduce landfill waste. It can be used over and over again, reducing the amount of cardboard, plastic, and paper that ends up in landfills. This reusable packaging can be used to package food items (such as nuts) or non-food items (such as books).
This type of container can be reused by the consumer or simply thrown away after a single use, is easily transported and can carry weighty products and stand up straight.
1. Paper Packaging (paper and cardboard)
2. Molded Pulp Packaging
3. Corn-based or Plant-based Packaging
This on the other hand, is made from materials that can decompose in a compost environment. The package must be able to break down into carbon and water, just like any other organic matter. Some examples of compostable packaging include paperboard and plastic that includes additives such as starch or polylactic acid (PLA). PLA is derived from corn, so it’s 100% biodegradable.
Compostable packaging should not be confused with biodegradable packaging—which simply means that something will naturally decompose over time due to exposure to bacteria and sunlight (or heat). Compostable packaging takes advantage of this process by making sure that all parts of the product are biodegradable.
Benefit: A product that is biodegradable and recyclable, compostable containers break down into natural materials when disposed of in an industrial composter or on a compost pile.
This is a form of packaging that reduces the amount of materials used for packaging, as well as the amount of resources required to produce it. This can include:
Reducing the amount of material used in your product’s packaging. This could mean reusing an already-existing package, or using 100% post-consumer recycled content.
Reducing how much energy is used in producing your product’s packaging. You can do this by making sure that your products are sourced locally and transported via rail rather than air freight, for example.
Reducing waste generated by the production process and ensuring that all waste is properly disposed of (when appropriate).
Benefit: These containers are made from recycled material and can be collected and reprocessed into other products once they have reached the end of their useful life. Recycling reduces demand for raw materials and conserves natural resources such as fossil fuels, water and wood fibre that might otherwise be required to produce new products from scratch (source).
These materials are made from plant- or animal-based resources, and they’re often compostable. This means that they break down in landfills to become part of the natural ecosystem. Bio-based packaging materials include paper, cardboard, plastics and other materials that can be derived from renewable resources. When you buy bio-based packaging products, you’re supporting a sustainable future for the planet!
It is worthy of note the fact that many of these are recyclable in theory, it’s important to note that some bio-plastics contain fossil fuels or petrochemicals—so they may not be completely biodegradable or recyclable after all (but they’re still better than their plastic counterparts!).
Benefit: This type of packaging includes those that contain plant-based cellulose instead of petroleum-bases plastics like polystyrene or polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
From reusable packaging to bio-based materials, there are so many options available for eco-friendly packaging. It’s important that we choose the right one for our needs and understand what makes each type of material work in different ways. The more we know about these options, the easier it’ll be for us to make good decisions when it comes time to choose a new package design from one of the many available options!