Earth-Friendly Alternatives for Packaging Supplies

Eco-friendly packing materials are those that have been developed, manufactured, transported, and/or disposed of with the environment in mind. We may divide sustainable packaging materials into three categories.

Compostable packaging is constructed from renewable plant-based materials and/or biopolymers and must decompose under commercial composting settings within 90-180 days. 

Reusable packaging may be used several times and is integrated with the sustainable package design.

Recycled packaging is often made from polymers that have been recycled and given a second life at a recycling center.

This article discusses the essentials of sustainable design in packaging, eco-friendly packaging tips, and sustainable packaging materials. 

What is sustainable design in packaging?

The package design is just as important to a product's sustainability as the materials used in making it. As a general guideline, environmentally friendly packaging should: Be created with the least quantity of materials. Fewer resources also mean less shipping waste! It should be simple to refill, reuse, and return. The packaging should be made such that it can contain a variety of items and be strong enough to withstand repeated usage. It should be sturdy enough to keep the items shipped safely while in transit. Fun fact: the average package gets dropped 17 times! In short, the primary aim of sustainable package design is to preserve functionality while reducing the number of materials needed.

Eco-Friendly Packaging Tips

If you are new in the field of earth-friendly packaging, worry you not. Here are some tips that can help you in your journey: 

  • Do a Self-Reflection

Evaluate the current packaging products you use and think about alternatives you can use to reduce waste and costs. Compare what other companies that sell similar products to yours do. Customers appreciate businesses that care for the environment. This is a great way to cater to your customers’ needs and requirements. 

  • Do Research

A good way to start implementing changes is to do small-scale research among your customers and/or employees. Talk to them to find out what they would prefer. Their feedback will help you set the tone of your brand and decide on the right strategies. Define your green objectives by balancing the answers of your clientele and staff with the business's priorities. Your objective is to establish an environment that can help your business grow, but remember that in order to do so, your business should support our planet.

  • Don’t Forget Your Competitors

Nowadays, the majority of small businesses have sustainability strategies. Think about how you can be different, be better. Why should the customers choose you? Awareness of what other similar businesses offer your customers is essential when setting a strategy for sustainable packaging.

  • Budget-Planning

Many individuals believe that moving to sustainable packaging materials would increase business costs. However, with the growing need for environmentally friendly packaging materials, they are becoming more competitive in today's market. Budget-friendly materials are available, and packing costs are frequently reduced.

Eco-Friendly Packaging Materials

Now that we have tackled what to consider when changing business strategies, let’s look at earth-friendly packaging materials.

Eco-friendly Sealing Tape

Water-activated sealing tape – we love algae, printed with algae ink

When it comes to eco-friendly tape alternatives, water-activated sealing tape is a great option. It is 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable. In terms of application, it provides a more permanent bond than regular tape. Water activates the adhesive, resulting in a long-lasting connection with the surface. Because of its bonding characteristic, a single strip of tape is enough to seal a box, reducing the need for many strips. As a result, you save money on tape and time spent sealing. Any effort to break it is tamper-evident since opening it requires someone to either cut the tape or rip the box, avoiding sealing breakage in transit. As a result, it is an excellent choice for eCommerce. Additionally, branding information may be easily printed on the tape, increasing your product appearance and brand image.

Biodegradable Packaging Peanuts

1.5 cu ft Biodegradable Earth Friendly Noodle Shaped Packing Peanuts

Styrofoam bans have recently been renewed in some U.S. cities. The lightweight, airy substance, also known as EPS (expanded polystyrene foam), is neither biodegradable nor recyclable, making it an environmental villain. However, Styrofoam has long been the go-to material for cushioning against shocks and preventing product movement. Businesses searching for environmentally friendly Styrofoam replacements now have some biodegradable air peanut solutions to choose from. Biodegradable packing peanuts are created from non-toxic natural ingredients such as wheat and corn starch. They dissolve in water and may be thrown away after a single usage.

 Corrugated Bubble Wrap

Recycled corrugated bubble wrap

As kids, we loved playing with the bubble wrap packaging. This packaging material helps with the protection of fragile products during delivery. However fun it is to play with, it is a plastic-based material that ends up in landfills and is a big nature pollutant. The good news is that various sustainable alternatives are available.

One of these is upcycled corrugated bubble wrap. Rather than being discarded or recycled, cardboard waste is given a second life after use. It has the same effect that shields against shocks in the same way as bubble wrap does. The only disadvantage is that you don't get to pop the bubbles afterward!

Air Pillows Made from Recycled Content

Air pillows opus bio

Air pillows made from recycled content are another wonderful environmentally and budget-friendly alternative to Styrofoam or bubble wrap. They come in various sizes and are perfect for padding around fragile items. Air pillows are little bags that can be inflated; therefore, they are mostly made of air. When compared to alternative cushioning materials, this reduces the quantity of plastic consumed in their manufacturing and transportation. Air cushions, once again, may be reused, recycled, and biodegradable. 

Recycled Cardboard and Paper

Sustainable packaging box

One cardboard box decreases oil and carbon dioxide emissions by 60% when compared to alternative materials, especially plastic. Furthermore, because cardboard is an organic material, it is 100% biodegradable and may be up to 7 times. Yet, this doesn’t mean all cardboard models are sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

To make your packaging as eco-friendly as possible, try to source recycled paper and cardboard that is either post-consumer or post-industrial. Additionally, look for FSC-certified materials to ensure you're supporting sustainably managed forests.

 Mushroom Packaging

Mushroom packaging

Mushroom packaging is made by cleaning and grinding agricultural waste, which is then joined together by a mesh of mushroom roots, also known as mycelium. This raw material could be shaped into any form preferred. After that, it is dried and utilized as packaging. Not only is this a petroleum-free substance, but it also degrades organically at an impressive speed. Mushroom packaging is compostable at home, decomposing into non-toxic organic materials. However, for the time being, this is simply a packing solution for small items.

Seaweed Packaging

Notpla Seaweed packaging

Corn, mushrooms, and now seaweed. A new innovative and eco-friendly packaging alternative, seaweed is a green packing solution made from gelatinous agar, which is present in various seaweeds and algae. Seaweed packaging, which is created from an abundant and sustainable raw material, might be the next big thing in eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging options.

Glass containers

Wide mouth mason glass jars

Aside from novel solutions such as algae and mushrooms, traditional alternatives also make excellent eco-friendly packaging. Glass containers have been around for a long time and are ideal for fluids and small items. They are highly reusable, and despite the fact that glass is non-biodegradable, as it breaks down, it stays safe and stable, releasing no toxic chemicals into the earth. Even if the glass is not recycled, it does little environmental harm.

How will you use earth-friendly alternatives for a more sustainable shipping experience? Tell us on our FacebookInstagram, or Twitter, and don’t hesitate to use our services to ship your care package to over 155 countries worldwide! We exist to assist you!