Benefits of Using Sustainable Packaging

The Benefits of Using Sustainable Packaging

Last year, holiday spending grew 16.1% in the U.S.—the fastest-paced growth we’ve seen in over 20 years.

This growth is great news for ecommerce business owners, but the holiday season has a massive impact on the environment. Plastic packaging can have dire environmental consequences in the long term.

Customers are now more mindful when considering the brands they support. If you’re ignoring your business’s environmental impact, a good portion of your customers might avoid shopping with you in the future.

That’s where sustainable packaging helps.


What is Sustainable Packaging?


Sustainable packaging is the use of packaging materials that have a minimal negative environmental impact. It’s a rapidly evolving area and a key trend reshaping the ecommerce industry.

More consumers are looking to buy from brands that focus on sustainability. An IBM study reveals that 60% of surveyed consumers want to change their shopping habits to minimize negative environmental impact.

However, many customers are confused about what sustainable packaging means. As a Bain and Company article explains:

“Although awareness is increasing, many consumers still are confused about sustainability—that is, what makes a product sustainable and what to do.”

Sustainable packaging aims to achieve the following goals through use of environment-friendly packaging materials:


Eliminate packaging leakage into the environment

An estimated 19% of plastic flows are attributable to global leakage and unmanaged dumps, according to McKinsey. Sustainable packaging addresses the leakage problem by encouraging the use of eco-friendly packaging materials.


Increase the recyclability and use of recyclable content in packaging

Using recycled and recyclable materials for producing packaging materials is critical to creating a circular economy for packaging. Brands like Unilever are making remarkable efforts toward creating this circular economy. 53% of Unilever's plastic packaging is recyclable, reusable, or compostable.


Reducing the packaging’s carbon footprint

Producing plastics has a significant negative impact on the environment. Plastic production requires fossil fuels and emits greenhouse gasses. Using sustainable packaging helps reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.


Benefits of Sustainable Packaging


Sustainable packaging offers various benefits for your bottom line and the environment. Here is how using sustainable packaging helps:


1. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions resulting from the use of fossil fuels in activities like production and transportation.

Plastic production is responsible for 5% of greenhouse emissions. Choosing raw materials instead of plastic can help reduce greenhouse emissions considerably. It can also nearly eliminate the dependency on fossil fuels since 99% of plastics are made from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels, further reducing your carbon footprint.

Lighter packaging materials like paper and cardboard made out of eco-friendly materials require less manufacturing energy. They also use less energy to ship to the merchant and customer. Using lighter packaging materials reduces your carbon footprint and helps you save on transportation and distribution costs.


2. Save Money with Cost-Effective Renewable Sources

Switching to paper or cardboard packaging from plastic or other synthetic materials can save you money. 

Light-weight renewable sources cost less and also minimize shipping costs. You might even consider sharing the benefits of a lower shipping cost with your customers — a lower price might just help you make a few extra sales.


3. Attract New Customers 

Going green helps build an excellent reputation among customers, staff, and the public. 37% of U.S. consumers prioritize sustainability when shopping, and 50% of Gen Z state they’re willing to pay a premium for environmentally-sustainable products.

Caring for the environment is in everyone’s best interests, including your business. You’ll build customer loyalty by being a responsible business, save by switching to non-synthetic packaging materials, and do the Earth a much-needed favor.


How To Choose The Best Sustainable Packaging


It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with choices when switching to sustainable packaging. Here are a few important things you should keep in mind.


1. Consider The Post-Purchase Experience

Using cardboard and paper saves you money, but you also need to consider your customer’s post-purchase experience to ensure they shop from you in the future.

For example, 75% of U.S. consumers prefer paper packaging to plastic packaging. Using paper when possible for packaging your products helps you meet customer expectations and make a good impression.


2. Ensure The Packaging is Durable and Compact

Using sustainable materials can be a little tricky when shipping items like electronics. If the packaging isn’t durable, your customer will receive a damaged product. You’ll lose reputation and incur reverse logistics costs and lose potential referral sales that could’ve come from the upset customer.

You have quite a few biodegradable options to consider depending on the weight and size of the product. Mushrooms and molded pulp are often used for packaging electronic items. For example, Dell uses cushions made from mushrooms as an alternative to petroleum-based foams for select shipments.

You also want packages to be compact. Large boxes cost more to ship, cause customers inconvenience and result in wasted packaging material.

You might need to stuff a package with protecting material when shipping fragile objects in a cardboard box. However, it’s important to hit that sweet spot between stuffing and overstuffing to keep the package compact.


3. Choose Manufacturers with Sustainable Practices

Do your due diligence before choosing your manufacturer. Learn about the manufacturer’s production processes and practices. In addition to using sustainable materials, the manufacturer you do business with should ideally have a strategy in place to minimize their ecological and carbon footprint.


Take The First Step Towards Green Ecommerce

The product’s packaging is your first touchpoint with the customers and custom packaging impacts consumer behavior.

It’s a marketing opportunity where you can bake in a great unboxing experience and show yourself as an eco-friendly brand. You’ll build a loyal customer base that wants to support your efforts and save money on custom packaging and shipping.

This blog is contributed by Arka's Partner The ShopPad. Arka offers custom packaging options for any niche: whether you need custom gift boxes or cosmetic boxes get in touch with them! You can create an unforgettable unboxing experience for your customers with top-notch shipping boxes made by Arka!

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