As the environment is becoming more and more impacted by human use, we need to be mindful about how to cut down on natural resources use and waste. While recycling programs, composting initiatives, and bottle return incentives are great, they don’t get at the core of the issue.
The core of the problem is that we are using non-ecofriendly materials to package our foods. This is highly prevalent as non-ecofriendly materials tend to be cheaper, easier to produce, and easier to pack away and throw out.
However, there are numerous eco-friendly packaging materials out there that will not break the bank. In order to help get you started, here are six creative ways to use eco friendly packaging materials:
1. Use eco-friendly paper packaging for liquids
Whoever thought that paper and liquids don’t mix was wrong! Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon, and it’s working out extremely well for them. The outer shells of the bottles are made from a recycled cardboard and newspaper, and the inside consists of a very thin layer of plastic. This ensures that the liquid is kept in.
For instance, the L’Oreal-owned company Phytonutrients, became the pioneer in paper packaging for liquids. They use water-resistant paper bottles for their bath and body products.
These products can withstand getting wet, and the best part is that they can be shipped as is. No additional cardboard boxes required. This means that paper-based packaging for liquids can save lots of paper down the line.
2. Use biodegradable packaging materials
The biggest issue when it comes to eco friendly packaging materials is that they are often are not biodegradable. This means that they do not naturally dissolve in nature, and end up clogging landfills, or end up in natural water sources or animal habitats.
In order to avoid this issue, you should consider relying on biodegradable packaging materials. Packing peanuts are a great example. Often times, Styrofoam packing peanuts are used to protect the goods inside of a box, but those are harmful for the environment.
Instead of using Styrofoam peanuts, consider to transitioning to bio-degradable ones. These work just as well, and are not harmful to the environment.
Bubble wrap is also hazardous to the environment, as it does not dissolve. However, there are many alternative options out there that are more eco-friendly. For instance, there are bubble wraps that are composed of recycled cardboard and that can protect your goods just as effectively.
3. Use organic packaging materials
There are many different types of organic packaging supplies in the market. For instance, cornstarch has been shown to have plastic-like qualities, and it is 100% organic. Another organic packaging option is seaweed, which is very malleable, strong and easily bio-degradable.
The one downside of these options is that they are pricier. However, over the long-term, that can yield massive benefits to both the environment and your business.
Changing to organic materials is a great way to positively contribute to the environment. Before you embark on any changes, do your research and get a sense of what’s the best fit for your product and business.
4. Use eco-friendly bags rather than paper
Plastic re-usable bags are becoming more popular as eco-friendly packaging materials, and that’s definitely a good thing. Bags provide padding for shipping, and the best part is that they can easily be reused several times over. They can also be designed in such a way which makes users want to re-use them.
For instance, Puma recently experimented with developing a reusable bag sleeve which holds shoes. This would replace the traditional bulky shoeboxes that are in use everywhere. Not only would this save trees, it would also provide everyone with functional and reusable bags.
5. Avoid glass packaging when possible
Glass involves a very extensive production process, which spews out harmful chemicals into the environment. Ultimately, this process impacts our air quality, natural water sources, and abundance of wildlife.
Rather than relying on glass for packaging your products, consider making the move to carton. Indeed, carton can cut the carbon footprint of glass by one half. Carton is being used more and more frequently in the production of wine, and it is no longer seen as a faux pas. Just because it comes from a box, it doesn’t mean that its bad!
6. Use newspaper instead of cardboard packaging
Newspaper is a surprisingly great alternative to cardboard. Indeed, layering newspaper for additional thickness can rival a standard sized cardboard box. There has been think-tank initiatives focusing on using newspaper for egg packaging, and this has come off as a large success.
If you can find a way to protect the contained products, go ahead and dabble with unorthodox materials. The environment will thank you for it!