Sustainability is an important word in our vocabulary these days. It refers to our ability and efforts to preserve natural resources for future generations. Yet, with the use of so many plastics, harmful materials/chemicals, over-reliance on water as well as non-recyclable components, being or becoming more sustainable can be considered tough. However, for businesses, this is not only becoming non-optional, it’s also a must. Especially when it comes to packaging your products.

Although your business may be transitioning to a more sustainable and eco-friendly future through sustainable packaging, there are some factors to keep in mind. For example, considering the full life cycle of your packaging material is a must. Just because it’s recyclable doesn’t mean that it didn’t use up tonnes of water to be created or rely on the use of exhaustive natural resources. This is why a full life-cycle analysis is required before you embark on your sustainable packaging journey. But what is sustainable packaging, why should you opt for it and how can you implement it at your business? Let’s take a closer look.

What is sustainable packaging?

In brief, sustainable packaging is the design and creation of your product packaging which takes into account the environmental impact and tries to reduce overall harm to the environment.

Your business can try to implement sustainable packaging by using:

  • Recycled materials
  • Materials that aren’t harmful to the environment 
  • Materials that can be reused or repurposed 
  • Materials which don’t have an environmentally harmful production process, 
  • And others

Benefits of sustainable packaging

  • Grow your customer base & up brand loyalty: there are a plethora of research sources that indicate that not only are consumers willing to choose a more sustainable provider, but also that they would pay more for their products. That’s up to 25% more. Isn’t that impressive? This means that you can leverage your packaging to help you gain a broader clientele and consolidate existing brand loyalty.
  • Improved storage: as a business owner, you know the importance of having adequate storage for your products before they are shipped out. However, this not only means increased waste but usually higher numbers of packaging materials. By going the sustainable route, you will not only be able to enjoy more efficient storage and therefore lower storage costs, but you can add more space in which to store your merchandise while minimising waste.
  • Reduce your shipping costs: the smaller the package you end up shipping to your customer, the smaller its carbon footprint. An added benefit to this is that you’ll also lower your shipping costs, helping your budget along the way.

Eco-friendly packaging transition steps and strategies

  • Make small, incremental steps
    It’s always a good idea not to jump head-first into a packaging solution, no matter how good it may seem, before you test it out on a small sample of your products. 
  • Rely on product samples to help you decide
    Product samples offer you more variety in terms of going the more sustainable route. By having options in front of you, you’ll not only be able to determine which option is more appropriate for housing your product, but you’ll also be able to choose from different options, giving you more choice. 
  • Is it time for a redesign overhaul?
    If you’re thinking of redesigning your brand or overhauling it entirely with a brand new concept, you can use your new, sustainable packaging to let your customers know about this, too. This can truly complement your branding activities. 
  • Fine-tune your pricing
    Many sustainable packaging options can be more affordable than that of your current packaging. However, you will need to readjust your pricing – whether upwards or downwards – to reflect the changes in your offering. 
  • Place orders for small volumes
    This is an important aspect of testing your market and as you know, testing is crucial for a business before the launch of something new. Even something as non-obvious as packaging. Once you’ve placed your small order, gauge the reaction of your customers, and if they’re satisfied, you can rest assured you can order more. 
  • First in, first out
    Although this term is sometimes used in the restaurant industry to refer to the food in one’s fridges, the FIFO is a great principle to apply to your packaging as well. Consider eliminating your supply of older packaging first before you commit to implementing new packaging. This will help you reduce waste. 
  • Showcase your new packaging in your marketing efforts
    Many of your customers and potential customers would be extremely pleased to hear about your efforts at becoming more sustainable. So use this information to your advantage. Don’t keep it under wraps. Market your sustainable packaging far and wide and spread the word that you’re helping the environment. 

Rollor: A good example of sustainable packaging

Rollor is one example of a company offering sustainable packaging. You can not only choose the right box for your item to be shipped, but you also create an exciting unboxing experience for your customers with their unique packaging designs. 

What’s more is that their boxes are sustainable and eco-friendly, and you also end up shipping less air, making for a lighter load that has not only more sustainable implications, but will be more affordable for your bottom line.

Your business and sustainable packaging: the way forward

When you embark on your journey towards sustainable packaging, you’ll be faced with a lot of information out there. From doing your product or packaging life-cycle assessment to actually shipping the final product to your customer, there will be several trial-and-error elements involved before you settle on the final solution for your business. 

This is natural and shouldn’t make you panic. And the best part is that you’re likely to improve your bottom line as well as boost your brand’s reputation among your existing and future clientele. If you are unsure of where to start, there’s no better time than the present!