y: Emily Newton
Eco-consumers are dominating the market and creating high sustainability demands. People are searching for green products and services to shrink their carbon footprints. Companies like Amazon and fast fashion brands are under scrutiny for their ecologically degrading practices.
Shoppers have been purchasing more goods online since the COVID-19 pandemic. The consumer transition is creating more packaging waste than ever before. As a result, environmentalists are developing aesthetic and affordable packages to combat the effects of pollution.
Why Are Companies Using Sustainable Packaging?
Many companies are transitioning away from plastic packages because of rising costs. The price of petroleum has increased since Russia invaded Ukraine, and nearly 14% of the global oil supply goes into plastic production.
The production method creates greenhouse gas emissions. Most plastic bags also end up in landfills, contributing to surface-level pollution. Companies that rely on plastic as their dominant packaging material experience price fluctuations and carbon footprint expansions.
Companies are adopting sustainable packaging materials to enhance financial savings and eco-consumer appeals.
Challenges With Current Packaging Models
Sustainable packaging manufacturers are targeting conventional material challenges. Nearly 91% of traditional packaging materials end up in landfills annually. Most packages contain chemicals and toxins that contaminate the local ecosystem.
Plastic materials in landfills degrade into tiny beads over time, which environmentalists call microplastics. When it rains, stormwater carries microplastics away from landfills into the ocean.
Aquatic creatures mistake the materials for food and consume them, and some species die as a result. The materials also work their way up the food chain, ending up on humans’ plates. Scientists are unsure about the long-term effects of microplastic consumption.
Another ecological challenge with conventional packaging materials is their manufacturing processes. Nearly 23% of global emissions derive from industrial practices.
Sustainable packaging materials can effectively reduce ecological degradation and financially benefit companies.
How Can Package Design Advancements Improve Sustainability?
Eco-friendly packaging materials promote global sustainability by enhancing product accessibility. Green packages are significantly less expensive than plastic alternatives, and this affordability may help push unsustainable packaging off the market.
Recycled or compostable materials additionally support a circular economy. The economic structure benefits companies, consumers and the environment.
Four packaging features enhance their aesthetic, affordability and effectiveness.
1. Sustainable Packaging Colors
Companies can produce adequate packaging representing sustainable ideals using color psychology. They should use green on their packages and labels to enhance sustainable branding. That’s because consumers often associate this shade with forests, grass and nature.
Individuals may create sustainable green packages using eco-friendly inks. Researchers are developing sustainable ink from algae. The algae alternative can also decrease packaging costs because traditional printer ink is the most expensive liquid to make.
In general, water-based inks are more sustainable than oil alternatives. Manufacturers use petroleum when making oil-based inks, but they can minimize their reliance on fossil fuels by using eco-friendly versions.
Business owners can also use sustainable inks to create red labels on low-impact packaging materials. Psychologists evaluated the benefits of red in marketing and found that color grabs and holds consumers’ attention.
Manufacturers may also use blue on their packages to provoke feelings of trust. The color is cool and trendy, which entices individuals. Brown is another beneficial package color for targeting eco-consumers because it signifies natural products.
2. Eco-Friendly Materials
Businesses can also use eco-friendly materials in package production. Cardboard is a common sustainable material on the market. Waste management professionals in the U.S. recycle about 96% of cardboard.
Manufacturers are also creating aesthetically appealing packages that mimic petroleum-based plastic. They use bioplastic as a sustainable alternative, which is made from living materials like plants or bacteria. Bioplastics are biodegradable and minimize landfill pollution. They also shrink a company’s carbon footprint by reducing its fossil fuel uses.
Another innovative packaging material derives from mushrooms. Corporations like Ikea are adopting mushroom packages, which biodegrade over time. Mushrooms are inexpensive manufacturing materials and entice eco-consumers.
Similarly, companies create bags and other containers from seaweed. Mushrooms and seaweed are edible materials that may appeal to eco-conscious consumers.
3. Green Labels
Individuals may also improve the aesthetic appeal of their packages by placing green labels on the front. Companies may apply for sustainable certifications to enhance their transparency. Business owners may display the Forest Stewardship Council certification on their packages to signify sustainable manufacturing practices.
Companies receive the certification when they use eco-friendly materials contributing to reforestation. They may also display the B Corp label, signifying support for the circular economy. B Corp-certified companies benefit the environment, humanity and the economy equally.
Another standard sustainability label that consumers recognize is the Energy Star certification. These products are more efficient than conventional versions and minimize energy waste. They also produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Companies that add specific certifications to their labels may catch consumers’ eyes. Environmentalists may feel more comfortable and confident investing in a product with recognizable branding.
4. Cost-Effective Production Methods
The fourth aesthetic and affordable packaging feature for businesses is sustainable manufacturing processes. Eco-conscious package producers are using smart technologies in their factories. Autonomous manufacturing systems use less energy and produce fewer emissions.
They also minimize maintenance costs, which improves the general affordability of packages. Intelligent systems help manufacturers save up to 40% on upkeep compared to reactive practices. Producers can pair their technologies with renewable energy systems to enhance package sustainability.
They are using solar to power manufacturing facilities can significantly lower operating costs. Solar is currently the most cost-effective power source, and companies can lower package costs by reducing utility prices.
Businesses may also improve the affordability and accessibility of sustainable materials by working with recycling facilities and transfer stations. They can help reduce landfill waste while accessing a reliable supply source. Adopting sustainable packaging production methods can effectively enhance companies’ savings while shrinking carbon footprints.
Affordable Packaging for Businesses
Companies that create eye-catching and affordable packages using sustainable materials reap various benefits. The demand for low-impact products is rising along with the number of eco-consumer. Businesses are making more money by appealing to a larger demographic of customers.
Emily Newton is a journalist with more than five years of experience covering the environmental sector. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she also covers how technology changes our world.