Sustainable Packaging: The Basics for eCommerce

The pandemic made us sit at home and think about our impact on the world. Since we had a lot of free time, we realized how alarming global warming is getting. A recent study by BCG found that 70% of people are more aware now than before COVID-19 that human activity threatens the climate. Three-quarters of participants said that they were more committed to changing their own behavior to advance sustainability. This also reflected in eCommerce businesses.

In the last several years, the world asks for companies aware of their environmental impact. Eco-friendly businesses are no longer the only ones who can claim to be green. The average eCommerce company is now expected to contribute to environmental protection. In 2021, many online shoppers seek companies that value the planet.

But how can we improve sustainable packaging? In this article, we’ll talk about the principles of sustainable packaging and some great ideas on how to achieve that goal.

The Principles of Sustainable Packaging

If you’re a novice in sustainable packaging, the first thing you need to know is the difference between recyclable, reusable, and biodegradable packaging:

  • Recyclable packaging – This method is the most popular among small businesses. We can process the materials to be recycled into new raw material. Cardboard, paper, and some plastic types fall into this category.
  • Reusable packaging – Even though this is the most eco-friendly way to do packaging, it might not be very effective for small businesses. A glass container, pallets, metal containers are reusable but are expensive alternatives.
  • Biodegradable packaging – This packaging has zero waste on the environment. With technological improvements, it’s becoming more available to invest in compostable packaging.

Great Materials for Sustainable Packaging

The reason plastics are so cheap is that there are so many of them. Plastics are produced at a far higher rate than sustainable packaging alternatives, and that keeps prices low. However, sustainable packaging is less expensive than it appears. Businesses now have more packaging material options than ever before, thanks to technological innovations. Also, it’s important to leave a good first impression on your potential customers. Showing that you care about the environment would make you an appealing brand in contrast to your competitors.

With various countries banning particular environment-polluting materials, the world’s lens is focusing on plastics. As eco-friendly alternatives become more affordable, and companies are becoming more aware, the future seems hopeful. Make the switch now and raise your voice for environmental topics with your brand image.

Cardboard Boxes

Three different algae ink-printed cardboard packaging boxes with custom logos and designs

Mostly when you ship your products, you depend on cardboard boxes. They are affordable, sturdy, and reusable. Use 100% recyclable cardboard boxes and reuse a box that is still in a good shape.

If you need custom corrugated boxes check out Eco Enclose. They specialize in custom box styles and branded packaging. They use algae ink for custom printed shipping boxes which is water-based and doesn’t contribute to pollution.

Void Fill Options

Biodegrabale air peanuts

Sustainability is not only about choosing 100% recyclable products. You need to consider the CO2 emission created during the production of that packaging product as well. We often ignore the fact that void fills take the most space in our packages. Styrofoam, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and air pillows are not biodegradable and only a small amount is recycled. Paper proves to have the lowest carbon footprint, the highest recycle rate, and the quickest decomposition time. It’s the most sustainable of the void fillers. You can also reuse some of the packing materials.

Check out these bio-degradable air peanuts made from non-food plants and consider reusing some of the materials next time you ship a product.

Compostable Mailers

Better Packaging a black compostable mailer

Compostable mailers are a great alternative to plastic bags. Made with renewable plant material, most mailers can be home compostable. Better Packaging is a great company that specializes in producing home compostable, fully biodegradable mailers made from plants. They pride themselves on being 100% carbon-free and having a variety of options.

Seaweed Packaging

Notpla biodegradable food packaging

One of the most interesting innovations we can see in the world of sustainable packaging is seaweed packaging. Notpla is made from one of nature’s most renewable resources – brown seaweed. Their products biodegrade naturally in 4-6 weeks. And they are working on other exciting product ideas and are dedicated to offering a plastic-free solution to the world.

Companies are addressing the need to transition to renewable energy in several ways. Reducing the use of fossil fuels and striving for maximum energy efficiency is a viable method for achieving sustainability, with very significant economic and environmental benefits.

At PackageHopper we care about sustainability and that’s why we work with leading shipping services that are committed to providing global connections while minimizing our environmental impact. Let us be your partner and make shipping from the US to over 200 countries a painless experience for you.


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