Sustainable and eco-friendly custom packaging

What Makes Packaging Sustainable?

Many years ago, going green was a novel concept in the business world. Only a few companies adopted and promoted the concept.

Yet, today, engaging in sustainable practices is a cool thing to do. It has now become the standard for modern business growth.

In this article, we will look at what sustainable packaging is, and its direct impact on a brand. We will also share tips on how you can create a sustainable packaging strategy for your business. 

sustainable packaging materials
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What is Sustainable Packaging?

In general terms, sustainable packaging is a custom packaging that is better for the environment. It reduces ecological footprint and environmental impact. 

Due to the rise in world population, there is a need for climate-oriented activities. So, it is important for business activities to meet present needs. 

Yet, it must not affect the chances of future generations to meet their own needs.  Since 1950, the world’s population has tripled. As of 2020, there were about 7.75 billion people in the world.

With the growth of developing countries, the human population will still grow in the coming decades. According to a United Nations global population forecast, it may reach 10.87 billion by 2100. 

Since this is our only liveable planet, we all have a role in preserving the environment. One way businesses can help is by using sustainable packaging.


cosmetic products

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These packaging supplies reduce carbon emissions. They also reduce other harmful practices that affect the environment. Many buyers even prefer to buy products with sustainable materials.

The market value of sustainable or green packaging in 2019 was about 178.6 billion dollars. Experts estimate the value to reach 246.3 billion dollars by 2025. 

How To Identify Sustainable Packaging

If you are wondering how to spot a sustainable packaging material, here's how to know. The material must meet the following criteria:

  • The packaging materials are safe, healthy, and beneficial for individuals and communities.
  • It must meet the market criteria for performance and cost.  
  • The process of sourcing, manufacturing, transporting, and recycling must involve renewable energy.
  • The manufacturing process involves clean production technologies and best practices.
  • Sustainable packaging materials have a physical design that optimizes materials and energy.
  • The materials are not toxic to humans or the environment.

Examples of Sustainable Packaging Materials


Many companies put time and effort into designing their packaging. They also try to meet the current recycling and environmental standards. It takes diligence to come up with options that will meet customer desires. Here are a few good examples:

1. Cardboard Materials

Cardboard is one of the popular recyclable options for creating sustainable product packaging. The reason why it is so popular is that its components are reusable, recyclable, and renewable. 

woman making coffee

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Around the world, cardboard is one of the most ‘green’ packaging options. Unlike other packaging materials, there is greater access to recycling cardboard materials. 

Cardboard is a good packaging material. Yet, you still need to conduct a full life cycle analysis on the product.

Then, you must consider whether it can protect your items in storage or transit. These are the factors that will help determine if it is the right fit for your business.   


2. Reusable, Returnable, or Refill Containers

Sustainable packaging aims to avoid harming the environment. So, the best packaging materials are those that don’t need regular disposal.

Reusable containers are a better alternative to styrofoam disposable takeouts. They allow customers to get their favorite products in sustainable custom product boxes. Then, the customers can use and return these containers for a refill. 

The use of this type of packaging also reduces transportation and manufacturing costs. It is not a new concept, but it is making a huge comeback in this age of climate change. A good number of businesses reduce environmental impact by using returnable containers.


3. Edible Films or Coating

These are thin layers coated on the surface of products and are popular in food packaging. The function of this type of packaging is that it provides a barrier between products and harsh elements and bacteria. 

By doing so, it increases the shelf life of various products. What makes edible films, so edible is the biopolymers that make up the coating. 

Edible films are very easy to handle because the production process requires less heat. Unlike traditional petroleum-based food packaging, they do not have toxic solvents. 

Traditional packaging has too many shortcomings. So, it is important to get other packaging formats for your business.  


4. Bioplastics

Bioplastics come from biodegradable, organic compounds. These include proteins, starch, and polylactic acid (PLA). Unlike other packaging solutions, bioplastics decompose in any environment.

In recent years, the use of bioplastics to package products has seen massive growth. It is now used in many commercial markets across the globe. 

Of all the plastics used for packaging, Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has the highest recycling rate. PET is an economical and effective form of plastic packaging with an elastic texture and strong fibers.

These characteristics make it suitable to replace other packaging materials for making containers, rigid bottles, etc.


Benefits of Sustainable Packaging

We have talked a lot about sustainable packaging and the available options. Yet, what does your business stand to gain from a switch to this type of packaging?

Below are a few benefits of sustainable packaging:


1. Expansion of Customer Base & Brand Loyalty

If you are a sustainable brand, you will get more customers and brand loyalty. Many studies have shown that consumers now focus on sustainability. They consider it when choosing brands to patronize.

A recent survey shows that 60% of Gen Z buyers prefer sustainable options. All over the world, people are now aware that there is a lot of suffering caused by the brands they buy from.

These problems include environmental destruction, workers’ exploitation, and animal cruelty. People now make ethical choices and are willing to pay extra for sustainable items. Another survey reveals that 45% of buyers will pay more for green packaging.


2. Lower Shipping Costs

With sustainable packaging, there is a reduced weight of packaging materials. Shipping these smaller packages can, over time, reduce shipping costs.

For example, shipping a box weighing 1 lb from New York to Los Angeles costs around $23.65. Yet, if you manage to fit the items into smaller shipper boxes, the rate reduces to almost $18. 

The difference is around $5 or more. When you do the maths, you’ll see that your business saves money by switching to sustainable packaging.


3. It Shows Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is a commitment to enhancing the environment and society. It shows a desire not to contribute to its destruction.

Retailers expect the brands they carry to rely on sustainable options and ship their products in a top-notch custom retail boxes. Buyers also have expectations from the businesses that they want to patronize.

A good business owner needs to make a solid statement with the kind of packaging they use. It sends a strong message to the public that they care and create value for society.


4. Reduced Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is the total amount of emissions created or caused by a person or business. It often arises during manufacturing and causes a rise in global temperatures.

The manufacturing process of sustainable packaging materials is more efficient than regular packaging. It reduces the amount of energy used in the production process.  Also, it lowers carbon dioxide, methane emissions.

On the one hand, it helps the war against pollution and positively affects climate change. On the other hand, it shows your business to consumers in a positive light.


5. Sustainable Packaging is Versatile

The selling point of sustainable packaging is that buyers can reuse and repurpose it. It implies that individuals can use these materials in a wider variety. Regular packaging is a lot more rigid and has no room for it.

Traditional packaging harms the environment. It also limits creativity in package design. But, with sustainable packaging, there are more options.

For businesses in the food industry, there is less worry about health repercussions.


6. Sustainable Packaging is Free From Toxins and Allergens

Regular packaging is full of chemicals and made from synthetic materials. These are both harmful to consumers and manufacturers.

Sustainable packaging, on the other hand, is non-toxic. The component materials are also allergy-free, most of the time. 

A lot of people pay attention to what makes up their packaging materials. They also check for its effect on their health and general well-being.

By using toxic and allergen-free packaging, you help your buyers to live a healthy lifestyle. There are still not a lot of biodegradable options. Yet, the available ones are enough to make a smooth transition. 


Tips to Switch to Sustainable Packaging 

Having read up to this point, you may wonder how your business can make the switch. Here are a few tips that can help:


1. Sample Packaging Options

Whether with one product or a million, don’t rush in without testing the waters. It is a huge risk to commit to a new packaging solution without testing it.

Consider getting sample packs from reliable service providers. Look out for service providers like Arka, who have FSC and chain of custody certifications.

These certifications help you to know where your packaging materials come from. Before issuing these certificates, FSC runs checks on the packaging materials.

Using a packaging company that has FSC certification assures your buyers of what they are buying. In turn, this improves their confidence in your brand.


2. Relaunch Your Design

Switching packaging is a major shift for any business. So, you must take the implementation process seriously.

It is the best time to roll out a new logo or tagline. This will give your business a new look and help you to rebrand.

The relaunch may also be an exciting new experience for customers. It will further push them to spend money to be a part of the process.


3. Adjust Your Prices

The new packaging option you choose may have price differences from the former one. You may even pay more for the new packaging materials and their shipping costs.

As a result, you will need to return to the drawing board. So, factor in these extra costs when fixing prices for your products.

If you decide to chest the extra costs, monitor the numbers. Ensure that your business does not take too much of a hit for it.


4. Practice FIFO

FIFO means ‘First in, First out,’ which is a strategy you may want to try with your packaging switch. Now that you have decided to start using sustainable packaging, what happens to your old packaging?

It is advisable to use up all your old packaging first. By doing so, there are no wastes, and you save money.


5. Leverage Social Media

Sustainable packaging is a big deal in the world today. Any brand that aligns itself with the good of the environment is one that the world needs to know about.

It only makes sense for you to make your brand stand out from the competition. So, work your sustainable efforts into your marketing campaigns. Let the people know that you are out there to help the environment.




Making your packaging sustainable is not an overnight effort. Still, it is worth looking into, and now is a good time to start. 

We expect that you will put in place the tips in this guide. Yet, we understand that these decisions take time, so there’s no haste. Still, we are here to answer any more questions you have on sustainable packaging.

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