Sustainability is more than a trend – it’s a movement for our future. Packaging choices are one way for both businesses and consumers to have a tangible impact. To help all our clients make conscious choices, we’re getting to the bottom of the most environmentally-friendly packaging solutions.
What is sustainable packaging?
For packaging to be considered sustainable, it should be designed to do as little harm to the environment as possible. There are many ways to achieve this and a great place to start is APCO’s Sustainable Packaging Guidelines. Some sustainable packaging features include:
- Designed to minimise waste by removing unnecessary packaging
- Designed with information that assists consumers with responsible disposal
- Avoiding the use of hazardous materials
- Encouraging the use of recycled materials
- Designed for transport efficiency (e.g. lightweight materials, palletised to maximise space)
Examples of environmentally-friendly packaging.
From plastics to cardboard, paper and corn – almost every packaging material is going through an environmentally-friendly evolution. So, rather than explain the different materials, we wanted to explore what makes them sustainable.
According to APCO, using recycled materials can significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by minimising waste products in landfill. There are two types of recycled materials you can use and both are valuable.
First, there is post-consumer material which is anything that a customer throws into the recycling bin. APCO data showed that 49% of Australians check the packaging for information on how to recycle. So, it’s important that your packaging has clear labels for disposal.
Second, there is post-industrial material which are the offcuts and manufacturing waste collected for recycling by manufacturers. Echo Cartons recycle 100% of our manufacturing offcuts which are reused in our recycled box packaging.
By reusing packaging, we can avoid creating waste at all. We can also limit the environmental impacts of manufacturing. However, the logistics of reusing packaging can be a challenge. The packaging would need to be returned to a business to be reused for delivery purposes.
A better option might be to consider alternative uses for your packaging. A good example are bulk bins which originally delivered goods to a retailer and are now being used for storage. Corrugated cardboard is a sturdy material that can be reused many times before it loses its integrity. After which point – you can simply recycle it.
Are corrugated boxes eco-friendly?
Corrugated cardboard is considered by many to be the most environmentally-friendly packaging material. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Corrugated cardboard is fully recyclable. It can be recycled into new packaging up to 7-10 times.
- Kraft paper, which corrugated cardboard is made from, uses minimal chemicals during manufacturing.
- Corrugated cardboard is biodegradable, if it does end up in landfill.
- Corrugated cardboard is compostable when broken into small pieces.
- Corrugated boxes can be reused after they’ve been emptied from delivery.
- Corrugated cardboard is lightweight which is ideal for sustainable transport.
With all these benefits, corrugated boxes are a great sustainable packaging option. They are highly-functional while also being gentle on the environment.
Committed to environmentally-friendly packaging
If you’re looking for environmentally-friendly packaging solutions, you’ve come to the right place. Between our recycled box options and expert design advice – we can help you select sustainable packaging that fits all your business needs. Request a quote to get started.
APCO Recycled Content: https://documents.packagingcovenant.org.au/public-documents/Recycled%20Content%20Guide
APCO Recycling Stats: https://documents.packagingcovenant.org.au/public-documents/ARL%20Consumer%20Insights%20Report%202022