Did you know that packaging is thought to make up more than 30 per cent of the total waste produced in the United States every year? Not only is this a problem in terms of climate change, but it is important to keep in mind that many traditional forms of packaging contain substances known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are harmful to humans and in some cases can cause cancer.
Thankfully, eco-friendly packaging now represents a viable solution. What exactly is eco-friendly packaging? What are the benefits of this approach concerning the natural environment? Might ecologically sustainable packaging be able to provide additional advantages to your business? We will address each of these important questions below.
A Quick Look at Eco-Friendly Packaging
The concept of sustainable packaging solutions has existed since at least the 1970s and several features define these alternative options. Here are some unique qualities of eco-friendly packaging:
- It must be comprised of biodegradable materials.
- This packaging must be safe for humans and the environment throughout its entire life cycle.
- It is produced using clean and environmentally friendly technologies.
- This packaging mainly uses materials that can be subsequently recycled.
Thankfully, a wide range of substances can be used to engineer this type of packaging. Some examples include hemp, reclaimed wood, recycled glass, and even seaweed. So, why is this approach so beneficial?
Why Businesses are Choosing This Type of Packaging
It can be argued that the most well-known advantage of eco-friendly packaging involves its ability to dramatically lower the carbon footprint of a business. There are even times when the demand for sustainable materials such as hemp or bamboo can help to increase oxygen levels (due to increased natural production). It could also be possible for businesses to qualify for green government grants and similar programs when using these substances. Finally, let’s remember that sustainable practices are excellent ways to promote any organization.
We mentioned biodegrading in the previous section and this process deserves more attention. Biodegradable products can be safely returned to the natural environment. This is not the case with traditional materials such as plastic and polystyrene, as these can take hundreds of thousands of years to break down into non-toxic substances. So, eco-friendly packaging will not harm the environment from a long-term perspective. Some compounds can even be used as compost to grow new plants!
In terms of cost-effective advantages, eco-friendly packaging products are easy to recycle when compared to more traditional materials. As many businesses are now obliged to adhere to local and federal recycling guidelines, the amount of money that can be saved should never be overlooked. There are likewise many times when waste management companies will offer their services for free to encourage businesses to adopt these practices.
Standard packaging materials tend to be laden with volatile organic compounds. Studies have found that these substances can lead to a host of health problems. Some concerning examples include (but might not be limited to):
- Headaches and dizziness
- Skin irritation
- Respiratory issues
- Shortness of breath
More severe conditions such as damage to the central nervous system and cancer are likewise risks that should never be ignored.
Thankfully, ecologically friendly packaging contains no volatile organic compounds. Even substances such as bioplastics are not associated with VOCs thanks to the miracles of modern engineering. Health and safety should never be taken for granted.
Finally, eco-friendly packaging materials can often be reused on multiple occasions. This is hardly the case with plastics and other compounds. Redundancy helps to cut down on waste while also ensuring that new substances will not be required. This further reduces the overall carbon footprint of a home or business. Surprisingly, green packaging compounds can offer a host of additional purposes such as storage solutions, textiles and roofing products.
Several Surprising Additional Benefits
It should now be clear to see that there are many advantages directly attributed to eco-friendly packaging solutions. However, we have focused on the “broad strokes” up until this point. If you own a business and are keen to discover additional advantages, what can you expect to enjoy when making this green transition?
Without sounding overly materialistic, it is true that eco-friendly packaging represents an extremely cost-effective solution. This is particularly important for any business that might be hoping to curtail a bloated budget. The money that will be saved can thereafter be channelled back into other critical concerns such as client relations, marketing and product development.
Green packaging also represents the wave of the future. Most experts agree that businesses and individuals alike will be held more accountable for the types of packaging that they use regularly. So, adopting the solutions highlighted throughout this article is an excellent way to remain one step ahead of the regulatory curve.
Branding should also be mentioned. Modern consumers are becoming more discriminating than ever before with what products and services they prefer. Millennials are set to dominate the market shortly; it stands to reason that embracing an eco-friendlier approach is one of the keys to success. So, the brand image of any business can be improved by embracing a more environmentally friendly approach.
Finally, eco-friendly materials are extremely versatile. They can be used to store and ship a wide array of products. From foodstuffs to textiles and even delicate items, they can often represent a “one-size-fits-all” solution when traditional methods simply will not suffice. This will help to streamline internal logistics from a business perspective. In terms of domestic use, the average consumer can likewise save money by no longer needing to buy multiple different types of packaging.
The Power of Sustainable Packaging
We know the dire effects associated with global climate change and we currently experiencing some of them. Therefore, there is no time preferable than the present to appreciate the advantages of eco-friendly packaging. Not only can we reduce the net amount of waste discarded back into the environment, but it may still be possible to avoid a rather bleak future. Eco-friendly packaging is here to stay and thankfully, there are more choices within our immediate reach than ever before. Hiring the likes of a marketing agency or packaging design company will help your company’s products be more sustainable.