Published on October 26th, 2012 | by Leon Harris
Eco-Friendly Business Packaging Options
The packaging a business uses may not seem as important as the products inside, but companies that fail to consider the impact that their packaging has will surely suffer in the long run. The packaging a company chooses to use can also help to espouse the ideals by which it operates and in so doing, attract a targeted consumer base.
This is especially true for those that are seeking to go green in all aspects of their operations. While many businesses view their product packaging as a platform to share information (product name and specs, for example), as well as promote their brand (with a company logo and other advertising content), it can be a lot more. And for the green manufacturer looking to inform people of its environmental sensibilities, product packaging can serve as the first indicator of intent. So here are just a few eco-friendly business packaging options that can help your company to inform consumers that the products they’re buying will do less harm to the environment, packaging included.
The first thing you’ll want to do is select eco-friendly materials for your packaging, and this is a lot easier to do these days thanks to increasing demand for green goods and services. There are all kinds of retailers that offer packaging made from recycled materials like paper, plastic, and so on. You can find not only boxes or bags to house your goods on their journey to the consumer marketplace, but also eco-friendly foam and peanuts that are biodegradable to ensure that your items arrive whole and undamaged. And many companies are finding ways to make their packaging reusable. For example, Puma shoes come in utilitarian bags instead of shoe boxes (with minimal cardboard for stabilization), meaning that consumers not only get their shoes, but also a handy little tote bag with a Puma logo that they can use again and again rather than discarding the packaging.
Of course, you’ll also want to consider the amount of materials used in your packaging. One of the many ways that companies are finding to reduce waste in the packaging process is by minimizing the amount of materials they use. Perhaps you can switch from boxes to biodegradable polyolefin shrink wrap. Or you might try making the packaging for all of your products a uniform size in order to cut down on waste. Many cereal manufacturers, for example, have started to cut down on the size of their boxes. They still offer the same volume of cereal, but where they might once have made larger boxes to attract more attention (rather than for the practical purpose of accommodating more cereal), they are now cutting down on the size and touting their environmental initiatives on smaller boxes in order to attract green-minded consumers. In many cases, this also saves a company on the cost of packaging.
This brings us to the final point; you should think about what you put on your packaging. Whether you’re selling cereal, shoes, or gift bags for retail, you want to let consumers know what steps you’re taking on behalf of the environment. So toot your own horn by including recognizable eco-labels (like the recycling symbol) or text that lets consumers know just how green your products and packaging are. At the very least you stand to increase awareness, but the hope is that this tactic will lead to more sales.