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How You Can Achieve More Sustainable Packaging



"Sustainable packaging" is the hottest phrase sweeping CPG brands this year. Part of what’s driving these trends is the increasing interest of consumers in packaging design that is recyclable and environmentally friendly. For businesses, this may mean a shift in focus. Here are some ideas for how to give your consumers exactly what they want this year.

Use Less Packaging for Your Products

Is your packaging design overkill? Is there a way to cut the number of packaging materials you use with your products? Reducing the volume of packing materials in your packaging design will potentially save your organization money but also reduce the waste that comes with every purchase. You can also potentially reduce the package size to cut costs, reduce emissions, lessen warehouse storage space, and reduce waste.

Think About the Materials Used

Sustainable packaging comes in a lot of flavors these days. Rethinking packaging design to include recyclable or reusable material is just the first step. Using cardboard or paper is just as sustainable as using the right loose filling for your CPG products. Give some thought to the materials inside the shipping container in addition to the packaging design.

Don’t Mix Your Materials

Packaging design that incorporates two types of materials, such as plastic and paper, cannot be recycled because they can’t be separated during sorting. Try to run with either one type of recyclable plastic or paper. 

Consider Curbside Recycling Materials

Give some thought to the average consumer who has curbside recycling. What packaging materials can they safely recycle? Plastic is often complex; rigid packaging like soda bottles or milk jugs are generally accepted. Thin plastic, such as a single-use grocery bag, is generally not accepted. Help your customers do the right thing to protect the environment, and they will thank you for it by buying more of your products.

Brown paper packages tied up with strings in a stack.
Consider Newer Alternative Packing Materials

Bioplastics are hot in sustainable packaging today. New alternative products are being created all the time, and they often offer biodegradability or are reusable in ways we’ve not seen before. The bad news is that these new products may have a limited supply and may be more expensive — at least at first.

Go Local Whenever Possible

Consider the geographic location of your packaging manufacturer to your shipping warehouse. The closer they are, the fewer carbon footprints for your company. Also, try to screen your manufacturing and supply chain partners for their sustainability efforts. Are they minimizing water or electricity usage? Even time management can be a factor impacting sustainability. Take a look at their packaging designs, how they ship, and their overall efforts to improve sustainability to help your company achieve its goals.

Tell Customers About Your Efforts

It is a good business practice to let customers know you’re concerned about the environment. But identifying the recyclable materials found in your CPG products lets customers know they can determine the best way to recycle the packaging in their area. 

PKG Brand Design is always on the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives; please subscribe to our blog for the latest package design industry news!

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