In today’s’ consumer-driven society we find ourselves buying items most days of the week. And with the increase in online shopping, we don’t even have to leave the comfort of our own homes. With a few clicks, we can have everything we need to be delivered, from clothes and groceries to pot plants and fridges. To make sure these items arrive safely, they need to have the right packaging to protect them during delivery.
Packaging also plays a crucial part in creating a brand for the company. It’s what the consumer sees first when their purchase arrives and can deliver a number of different messages about the company itself.
Consumer awareness around the effects of plastic on the environment has seen a lot of companies explore alternative and more eco-friendly options to meet their packaging needs. Nearly everything we buy comes in some form of packaging which means that plastic containers and packing make up 25% of landfills in America.
The increase in the volume of e-commerce each year has also seen an increase in the need for packaging as items are often sent out in a lower volume with each individual order. There are a few changes e-commerce businesses can make to help environmental sustainability.
By choosing sustainable or “Green” packaging it promotes the use of materials and manufacturing methods that can minimize the impact of energy consumption on the environment. Eco packaging is designed by excluding or reducing toxic materials and focuses on using reusable or renewable materials. This also makes the packaging easier to recycle which helps reduce the amount of packaging ending up in a landfill for hundreds of years.
Here are a few options that are available:
- Cardboard and Paper are fully biodegradable and easy to reuse and recycle.
- Corn Starch Packaging is eco -friendly and biodegradable and a great option for single-use takeaway food packaging.
- Polyethylene Bubble Wrap is a bioplastic that has a similar texture and feel to normal plastic but is made to break down when composted, unlike regular plastic.
- Biodegradable plastic will start to decompose when it’s exposed to sunlight. It’s commonly used in plastic bags and mailing envelopes.
- Bagasse paper is made from the pulp of sugarcane fiber that is left after the juice has been extracted. Previously it would have been thrown away as waste, but now it is used to create paper packaging that can be used in foodservice. It can break down in as little as 3 months compared to plastic which takes up to 500 years.
- Mycelium is compostable packing that is made from mushrooms. Not only is it biodegradable, but it’s also edible!
Research is beginning to show that there is a financial benefit as well as an ecological one for e-commerce businesses to adopt sustainable packaging. It’s becoming more apparent that consumers are driven by their conscience around the environment when making their buying decisions. Up to 75% of customers are more likely to support a company that reflects their environmental values by using eco-friendly or recycled packaging.
By changing to green packaging, you can rest assured that your company is also meeting international shipping legal requirements that are imposed in some countries defined in the European Union.
As an e-commerce business, you are able to minimize your expenses as well as making your products appeal to the increasingly eco-conscious customer. Here’s how you can start:
- Create an Environmental Mission Statement to show on your website that will tell your customers what sustainable practices you’re using.
- Find ways that you can minimize packaging. This will have a direct impact on your profit as it will reduce the cost of materials and shipping costs.
- Make it clear to customers with recycling instructions on your packaging. Many people don’t know the difference between bio-plastics and regular plastic and will assume it can’t be recycled, so let them know-how!
- Is your packaging reusable or refillable? Then give your customers an option to return empty containers to be used again.
Melbpack specializes in environmentally friendly packaging and supplies. Visit their website for more information