How Eco-Friendly Packaging Can Impact Your Business

In today’s world plastic has become an everyday item.  We use plastic in most areas of our lives.  In the home, in schools and workplaces.  Even in the cars and transport we use. But while there is a lot of talk about how bad for the environment plastic is, not a lot of people realise how many types of plastic there are and that not all of them are damaging to the planet.  There are a lot of eco-friendly and green packing innovations that are using bio-plastics to offer sustainable solutions.

With a worldwide focus on global warming, there are a lot of ways we can all make changes to help reduce greenhouse gasses.  Studies have shown that close to half of all emissions from the USA can be linked back to the energy used in the production, packaging, shipping, and disposal of food and other consumer products.  If packaging world-wide changed to using sustainable plastics it could have a massive shift in the environmental impact.

What is sustainable packaging?

How can you know if the industrial packaging uses is made from sustainable materials?  A major element to consider is where the materials have been sourced from. For plastic to be classed as sustainable, the raw materials need to be extracted using clean methods.  The chemical properties used are also important as they need to be safe for consumption and won’t release toxins into the products packaged.

Why should you make the switch?

Cost-saving is always going to be a major factor in motivating manufacturers to change to more eco-friendly packaging options.  And when they can reduce their impact on the environment and reduce their expenses at the same time then it’s a no-brainer.

Luckily there are quite a few cost-effective options available for most packaging needs.  Polyolefin is a lightweight material that can be used in the place of corrugated paper or glass.  When it’s produced it uses less energy than to make the alternative materials which mean fewer greenhouse gasses are emitted.   It also reduces transport and storage costs as it is a much lighter material.  Polyolefin is also easy and cheap to dispose of as it is recyclable, reusable and often compostable as well.  It’s very durable and easy to handle and process so will also cut down on time and labour.

Using recyclable materials is a great way to minimize the amount of plastic waste, but it also has other benefits for your company.

With consumers becoming increasingly aware of the impact of plastics on the environment, it pays for companies to show their customers what they’re doing to help.  Recent surveys in multiple countries found that one in four people would choose a brand that clearly showed their packaging was made with sustainable materials over those that didn’t.  Up to 80% of consumers in America agreed they felt better when they chose to buy items that show they are sustainably produced.

Using more environmentally safe products can also help you increase your market share and expand into countries that have stricter restrictions on product packaging.  When Hewlett Packard made the decision to stop using lead soldering during manufacturing, it gave them access to sell products to countries in the European Union which had previously been unavailable due to the ban on lead products.  This exposed the company to millions of new customers.

What are your choices?

Depending on your industry, there are already a number of sustainable packaging options available on the market. Polyolefin is just one of the materials available but is versatility sees it used in multiple products.  There are shrink film and stretch wrap as well as carded packaging options you can try. Many packaging companies offer rentals on certain machines and equipment.

By making some small changes to your packaging choices, you can have an impact on how your customers view your brand and help the environment at the same time.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.
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