Guest blog post written by Lyle Jarvis at noissue.
With the holidays rolling in, the planet pays a price for packaging waste. The rising demand for things like plastic, paper, bows, ribbons and wrappers all add up and take a toll on the Earth’s landfills. Just in America alone, holiday gift givers will toss an extra 25 million tons of trash away between Thanksgiving and the new year.
The thing is, this kind of packaging is becoming a little outdated – and increasingly out of style.
Think about it. These days more than ever, we find ourselves moving ‘out with the old, and in with the new’ in several aspects of daily life. Our kitchen cabinets come filled with newer, more natural products than the ones before them. Our cars cause lower emissions than they did ten years ago. Things are newer, fresher, smarter, cleaner, greener – because it’s becoming cooler and cooler to care.
In the same way, packaging up gifts for the holidays doesn’t look quite like it used to. And here’s a few reasons why that’s awesome for modern businesses (and the planet alike).
The Ins and Outs of Shipping Sustainably
1. You’ve heard it’s more expensive, but it really doesn’t have to be.
Sustainable packaging used to be a luxury ‘nice to have’ that a lot of businesses couldn’t afford. Now, thanks to innovations in the industry, sustainable options are becoming accessible for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Let’s take a look at a couple examples:
A. Wrapping paper doesn’t look quite like it used to. Aside from simply cutting back on quantity, the rise of eco-friendly tissue paper has brought brands a sustainable alternative to outdated packaging methods.
B. Stamps and stickers have their own sustainable alternatives as well. Instead of regular plastic stickers, more and more brands are making the switch to compostable paper-stickers for their unboxing experience. In a similar fashion, newer, recycled stamps are on the rise in place of regular, less sustainable options.
Good packaging providers offer low Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs) which makes these kinds of alternatives much more affordable for smaller businesses. Let’s take a look at something like ink – a good package isn’t complete without it.
Instead of using oil-based inks (which are the market staple), soy-based inks are on the rise. Aside from being a planet-first alternative to other inks (that come from non-renewable resources), soy grows in far greater quantities, and is cheaper to produce. Not only does that make it less expensive for producers and packers alike, it cuts back on usage – in a big way.
2. It’s inventive, it’s customizable, and it lets your creativity shine.
The gifts that come with thought are the ones that stand out. This year, put thought into more than just the product – put thought into the packaging, too. Newer, more sustainable packaging options offer fully customizable mailing materials for whatever your style calls for. If you’ve got a logo/design, or want to feature an illustration, they’ll take care of it. After all, presentation is a prized piece of the puzzle.
3. Tackle the problem by being part of the planet-first solution.
These days, sustainability is an area of interest for all demographics. But in particular, research shows that Generation Z puts a pretty high value on eco-friendliness. If brands make the extra effort, the data shows that their Gen Z customers are paying attention.
With the new blend of a waste-efficient product and cost-efficient methods, more and more companies are going sustainable to stay on trend and keep their customers happy. If you’re a brand, think of it as a creative way to level up your imaging and messaging.
In fact, a study from Traackr found that from 2018 to 2019, there was a 100% increase in mentions for eco-friendly messaging. The rise of hashtags like #wastefulpackaging and keyword phrases like “too much packaging” illustrate how consumers are paying more and more attention to a brand’s methodology.
The types of Sustainable Packaging you can choose from
1. Renewable packaging materials. Wait, what?
You’ve probably heard about them before, but let’s break it down a bit. What does it mean for packaging materials to be “renewable”?
Well, think of it as one big life cycle. Compostable packaging isn’t made from the traditional plastics of regular wrapping material. Instead, it’s made from plant-based materials, like corn.
Take a look at noissue’s fully compostable mailer. This material can be used in the same way as plastics, without filling up the landfills. Once used, the material is eaten by worms and breaks back down again as compost material, completing the cycle.
@impactforgood. Noissue’s 100% compostable mailer is built to break down within 180 days.
2. Recycled materials have their own type of impact, too.
Packaging materials like recycled tape, mailers and stickers are made from previously used plastics like bags and bottles.
The original materials are processed at recycling facilities, then brought back into circulation for another use. This stops virgin plastics being used for new products.
Reusable materials, like tissue paper, can be kept in play for several uses. Instead of being immediately discarded, reusables can slow down waste from reaching our landfills, not to mention the saved time and effort along the way.
Alongside the materials, it’s important to encourage customers to take action on eco-initiatives. This can be done through things like product messaging, or even just on the products themselves. An example of this is sustainable tissue paper, built to be used again and again as customers wrap gifts over the holidays.
These packaging products have been designed for a longer, more efficient lifespan – and the messaging around them explains the impact they offer as an eco-friendly alternative.
Put bluntly, sustainable packaging just helps the planet.
The rise of sustainable packaging methods is a giant step in waste reductions. By supporting things like eco-friendly materials and plant-based products, you’re keeping things like plastics and other non-renewables out of our landfills. Each time you use these sustainable alternatives in your packaging experience, you’re making the world a cleaner, greener place to be.
For more information about ways to level up your packaging design, check out this article for 5 Ways to Greenify Your Packaging.