6 Sustainable Packaging Switches: A Guide for Eco-Conscious Businesses

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In a world where customers are increasingly worried about climate change and the environment, businesses are under growing pressure to make sustainable choices.

Product packaging is one of the key areas where companies can make a significant difference. According to a survey published by Statista, 81% of customers prefer eco-friendly packaging and 80% believes that online deliveries arrive overpacked.

A switch to sustainable packaging will help businesses reduce their environmental footprint and address the concerns of eco-conscious consumers.

In this blog post, we’ll explore six sustainable packaging switches. We will also look at why sustainable packaging matters, how to make your packaging eco-friendlier and how we can help you achieve your sustainability goals.

sustainable packaging

What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging is packaging that minimises its environmental impact from the time it’s manufactured to the time it’s disposed of. This includes the packaging’s design, the materials used to make it, how it’s handled, and if it can be reused or recycled after use.

Other terms for sustainable packaging include eco-friendly packaging or environmentally friendly packaging.

sustainable packaging

Why is sustainable packaging important?

Sustainable packaging reduces carbon emissions and helps combat climate change. It also conserves resources and reduces packaging waste. All in all, it’s a better option for the planet and your business.

It can also help you comply and reduce additional costs of recent packaging regulations, including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and the Plastic Packaging Tax.

sustainable packaging

How to make your packaging more sustainable

There are several ways to make your product packaging more sustainable, including using less material to do the same job or switching to an eco-friendlier alternative.

Packaging solutions that can be reused, recycled or contain recycled materials will also typically reduce environmental impact and support the broader transition to a more sustainable economy.

The right packaging solution will protect your products on their journey to the consumer, while saving you money on materials, storage and transportation. It will also help minimise product damage in transit, therefore, you will spend less on issuing replacement and processing returns.

sustainable packaging

6 sustainable packaging switches

Below, we have listed 6 different sustainable packaging swaps, which can help make your supply chain more eco-friendly.

1. Paper vs Plastic Tape

Paper tape is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic packing tapes.

It is available as self-adhesive, gummed paper or masking tape, and comes in a wide variety of roll sizes and lengths. Paper tape can contain different types of adhesives, which can affect its properties. Some paper tapes offer permanent sealing, like gummed paper tape, while others are meant for temporary use.

Paper tape can be recycled together with cardboard boxes, making the recycling process easier for your customers. It can also help significantly minimise material waste, contributing to a reduction in your CO2 emissions – take a look at our case study to find out more.

2. Bubble Wrap® IB Film vs Traditional Bubble Wrap

Bubble on demand is an excellent solution for increasing productivity, saving space and reducing material costs.

Bubble Wrap® IB film can be shipped and stored flat, and then inflated on demand with a simple to use inflator.

This is a great space-saving solution – one pallet of Bubble Wrap® IB film is equivalent to 90 large bundles of traditional bubble wrap.

The IB film also takes up less space on delivery vehicles, resulting in the reduction of material deliveries by 97%, lower transport costs and carbon footprint.

To find out more about this product, take a look at our blog article: Why Choose Bubble On Demand vs. Bubble Wrap.

3. Recycled Content vs Virgin Kraft Cardboard Boxes

Cardboard boxes made from recycled materials provide a sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging option.

These high quality, durable boxes are made with up to 100% recycled materials, so choosing this solution can have a positive impact on the environment and your brand reputation.

Read our recent blog post for more details – The benefits of using recycled content boxes.

4. Corrugated Cardboard vs Wooden Pallets

Corrugated cardboard pallets are a lightweight alternative to traditional timber pallets. They weigh only about 4kg each but are very strong and durable and can hold up to 750kg.

The light weight of the pallets can contribute to reducing your overall shipping weight, and you can recycle them at the end of their lives too, making them a sustainable choice. They are also exempt from ISPM15, meaning you can ship them worldwide. Cardboard pallets are easy to handle (no splinters or nails) and can be collapsed for storage, helping optimise space in your warehouse.

5. Stretch Wrap Reduction

If you’re using pallet wrap and looking for ways to reduce the amount of material you’re handling, lower micron stretch films are a good option. Stretch films with recycled material content are also available, helping you comply with packaging legislations, including Plastic Packaging Tax.

For machine applications, there’s a wide selection of machine applied stretch films starting at 10 microns, with up to 30% recycled content and up to 300% stretch. These solutions will help you use less material to wrap each pallet, reducing costs and environmental impact, without compromising product safety in storage and transit. To find out more, read our blog article: 5 Ways to Reduce the Cost and Environmental Impact of Your Stretch Wrap.

6. RecyCold® Climaliner™ Shipping Packs vs. Foil Lined Chilled Packaging

RecyCold® Climaliner™shipping packs are a new, innovative chilled packaging solution that combines RecycoolMe boxes with new RecyCold® Climaliner™ insulated liners.

The liner is filled with Ranpak’s Geami honeycomb paper and offers up to 48 hours of insulation against temperature fluctuations for chilled, frozen, or ambient products.

Recyclable, 100% paper-based, made from sustainable materials and vegan friendly, the solution is a great substitute for foil lined chilled packaging. It is available in three different sizes, with either a single or double layer of the Climaliner™, depending on your needs.

sustainable packaging

How Macfarlane Packaging can help

With so many different packaging solutions available on the market, it may be hard to know which one is right for your product and needs.

At Macfarlane Packaging, we are here to assist you in finding the best environmentally friendly packaging solutions to help you save money, keep your products safe, protect your brand reputation and the planet.

We can also recommend ways to reduce the amount of packaging materials you use without compromising product protection. This will help minimise your environmental impact while reducing your material costs.