When people order things from online retailers, most of them don’t give much thought to the packaging. Yet, when considered on a global scale, over 130 billion packages were shipped in 2020 alone. That’s to say nothing of the individual packaging for each product.
For business owners who worry about sustainability, all of that packaging can prompt concerns. After all, any plastic you use can end up in a dump where it will stay for decades or centuries before it breaks down.
If you don’t want that for your products, keep reading for five ways you can create a sustainable packaging design.
Table of Contents
1. Use Less
One of the most immediate sustainable packaging strategies is simply for you to use less packaging. Consider how often you open up a package and find all kinds of unused space inside. There’s little upside to that approach, particularly for non-fragile items.
Shrinking down the packaging helps ensure that less eco-unfriendly material makes its way into dumps and landfills.
2. Recycled Materials
Another way you can go about designing sustainable packaging is through the use of recycled materials. While recycled plastics are still plastics, using recycled plastic does at least wring another round of use from the hard to dispose of material.
You can source recycled paper and cardboard for your packaging as well. While paper and cardboard aren’t the same kinds of threats to the ecosystem as plastic, it’s still less volume of trash in landfills.
3. Novel Materials
There are several types of novel materials that you use for natural packaging design. If you need cushioning in your packaging, customers can toss corn starch packing peanuts into a compost pile.
Another option is biodegradable plastics created from plant materials. These plastics won’t typically break down in a home-based scenario, but they will break down in industrial composting facilities or when exposed to the right enzymes.
4. Don’t Mix Materials
You see it all the time. A plastic cover fused to a piece of cardboard backing or even to a different kind of plastic. When you fuse materials like that, it almost always means they won’t get recycled or cannot be recycled.
Whenever possible, stick to one kind of recyclable material.
5. Find a Sustainable Manufacturer
Yes, you can find manufacturers out there committed to sustainable practices. Look for a packaging manufacturer that embraces those principles. Work with them to design and make your sustainable packaging.
That improves the overall sustainability of your packaging and your supply chain.
Sustainable Packaging Design and You
For business owners, sustainable packaging design can look like a complicated mess with few simple answers. In reality, you can take sustainable packaging design in stages.
You can start with simpler things, like designing smaller packaging that avoids mixing materials. You can use recycled materials.
From there, you can move on to things like using novel materials and finding a sustainable manufacturing partner to make your sustainable packaging.
Looking for more business insight or packaging design tips? Check out some of the posts over in our Business and Art categories.