How To Recognize Sustainable Packaging
In order for consumers and businesses to develop a greener world, it’s important to know how to recognize sustainable packaging. Over the last decade, socially responsible companies have been creating a strategy for becoming environmentally conscious from their processes to their packaging. While many green buzzwords exist, learning to actually recognize green practices and packaging can be difficult.
To help clarify what sustainable packaging is, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition created its own set of standards to define sustainable packaging. While these guidelines are not accepted worldwide, they can be helpful still.
Components of Sustainable Packaging
- Responsibly sourced materials that with healthy lifecycles
- Clean manufacturing practices to optimize materials and energy
- Transportation by alternatives to fossil fuels
- Closed-loop cycles that recycle and recover resources for reuse or return to the environment
In the United States, consumers often struggle to understand how certain products are renewable and recyclable. Many communities have different guidelines for recycling, and packaging often involves a variety of materials, shapes, and formats. Renewable packaging is often created from fiber, starch, or sugar cane, and the organic material can be broken down into organic molecules such as water and carbon dioxide.
A key factor in sustainable packaging is the design. While most packaging is designed to just be thrown away, businesses are looking to create packaging that can be useful in its own right. In some cases, this means creating packaging that’s stronger and is multi-purpose so that consumers can reuse the packaging.
Packaging reuse requires a shift in mindset. It means that packaging designers need to create products that consumers will want to use for other things, such as home storage or as a tote. In some cases, a reusable product can have a worse environmental impact so this balance is a tricky one for businesses and consumers to find.
While plastic has been a popular choice for a lot of packaging, paper is easier on the environment due to its biodegradability. However, the supply of trees for paper is not renewing fast enough to keep up with the demand of packaging. Consumers should look to steer clear of using plastic products, and while choosing paper is not completely ideal, it has a smaller carbon footprint than plastic.
For businesses and consumers, the difficulty is considering the packaging system as a whole and making decisions that don’t just shift the burden to another area completely.
The less packaging a business uses to send products, the better. And yet, packaging is still important for protecting and safeguarding the product during travel. So businesses need to be smart about how they choose to minimize packaging design and material use.
The key factor here is to consider a package’s life cycle and to look for companies who are communicating their desire to better care for the environment with their packaging choices and material use.
Some businesses are shifting their packaging to mono-materials, which means that packages are all made from the same ingredients. This decreases the strain of decomposition. When packages are made of multiple materials, this can make recycling and biodegradable processes much more complex.
Consumers may be able to easily recognize sustainable packaging designs that are mono-material because the packaging will have a similar texture throughout.
Many businesses are upfront with their sustainable packaging initiatives, and consumers can find out the business values with a quick internet search. Protecting the environment is as simple as staying informed about your favorite brands’ goals and sustainability initiatives.
At Golden Arrow, we work with companies in all industries to create sustainable packaging through a zero-emissions factory process and closed water loop. Our technology allows us to provide eco-friendly luxury packaging. Speak with one of our industry experts today to determine the right solution for your business packaging.