Sustainable packaging options for fulfilment operations

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Is the pursuit of sustainability reflected in consumer behaviour? If so, can sustainable packaging help? In a recent survey published by Delloite to understand this very question, one in three consumers claimed to have stopped purchasing certain brands or products because they had ethical or sustainability related concerns about them. 61% also reported that they had cut back on their use of single use plastic. 

When asked what would help them adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, 64% cited better ways to reduce plastic and packaging as their top concern. But ease of disposal/recycling and greater clarity in the sourcing of products were significant considerations too (50%). Demand for sustainable packaging is strong, and will only grow stronger.

Customers don't like wasteful use of packaging

The role of packaging 

When talking about sustainability, packaging is one of those subjects that can quickly divide opinions. It’s often viewed as the problem – something that creates waste unnecessarily.  This is mainly driven by its overuse – we’ve all experienced (or heard about) boxes the size of a Wendy house being used to ship a small pack of crayons, stuffed with enough filler paper to wrap Big Ben length ways twice. And please don’t start me on shrink wrapped cauliflowers….  BUT packaging plays a positive role in sustainability. It allows products to move through supply chains without damage, delivering goods that are clean, fresh, dry, and protected.  

Packaging, when used correctly, reduces waste.   

We all know (or are learning) where damaged product goes… and that most certainly is not sustainable. 

Sustainable packaging is sometimes plastic

Packaging to improve sustainability 

Plastic isn’t always the bad guy either, there are situations where it really is the better option to protect products from ending up in the waste stream. The difficulty lies in the ability to responsibly dispose of plastic and, sadly, there is a mix of local recycling capabilities around the UK. What one customer finds easy to recycle, another may not.   

We’ve put together a list of five plastic alternatives that will make it easier for your customers to recycle your packaging. This will start you on a journey to consistently meet your customers sustainability expectations. 

Paper cushion is as protective as bubble wrap but more sustainable

Bubble Wrap vs. Paper Cushioning

Paper packaging solutions such as Geami WrapPak® are perfect environmentally friendly alternatives to widely-used bubble wrap. Geami combines a die cut Kraft paper with a tissue interleaf paper and provides excellent protection during transport, while ensuring that your products look beautiful inside the package. As Geami is 100% paper, it’s incredibly easy to recycle. 

Bio loosefill protects products and is recyclable

Packing Chips vs. Bio Loosefill 

If you use packing chips, consider switching to a bio substitute. Pelaspan® Bio loosefill is made from corn starch and is 100% compostable. The chips are S-shaped for optimal interlocking and secure cushioning, and are a lightweight, free-flowing and cost-effective alternative to your current solution. 

paper packaging is as strong as plastic and fully recyclable

Plastic vs. Paper Mailing Bags 

Paper mailing bags are fully recyclable and feature a self-sealing strip for better product protection, easy opening and neat presentation. All this contributes to creating a positive customer experience and increases your green credentials. 

Gummed paper tape is stronger than plastic alternatives

Standard vs. Paper Tape 

Gummed paper tape, also known as water-activated tape, is a sustainable packaging option, 100% recyclable alternative to standard packing tapes. It is made from degradable materials and does not need to be removed from the box before recycling. It ensures a neat appearance of your parcels and provides excellent transit protection, enhancing customer experience. 

Sustainable packaging doesn't come more innovative than flexi hex

Polystyrene vs Flexi-Hex bottle packs 

If you are using traditional polystyrene bottle packs, it’s time to look at a new alternative. Consider Flexi-Hex, a plastic-free, biodegradable concertina style honeycomb protector ideal for bottle protection. Made from 100% paper (80% recycled content) it’s100% recyclable, looks great and arrives to you flat packed with a small storage footprint. 

At Macfarlane Packaging, we have a wide range of sustainable packaging solutions to help your business reduce plastic use and meet its CSR goals. 

Visit our Alternatives to Plastic page to see our range of eco-friendly products, or contact us today to discuss your specific requirements. 


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