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Packaging 101: The Complete Guide

Key Advantages and Challenges of Circular Packaging

The advantages of circular packaging will change your approach towards this sustainable packaging solution. Yet, you also must be aware of all the challenges that may occur when switching to a new type of packaging. That’s why we would like to analyze both!

The Benefits of Circular Packaging

We will primarily start with the positive side of circular packaging. We are sure the benefits will cause the simple on your face!

• Sustainable Resource Management: it is about time that humans do whatever it takes to protect nature from being destroyed or overused. Circular packaging will ensure smooth, sustainable resource management thanks to the principles it promotes. 

 Waste Production: as we said at the beginning of this article, the entire planet Earth is dealing with billions of tons of waste every year. That negatively impacts the entire planet, causing climate changes, air pollution, etc. The circular packaging will significantly reduce the waste your company usually produces.

 Lower Carbon Footprint: reducing greenhouse gases that we generate by our actions can also be reduced by switching to circular packaging. Only in the United States, the average person generates 16 tons of greenhouse gases per year (one of the highest in the world). Fortunately, businesses can significantly decrease that by using this strategy. Plus, the taxes will be much lower if the carbon footprint decreases.

 Better Reputation: an average modern consumer requires sustainability practices! All things you can do with circular packaging will positively influence the entire planet Earth. People will appreciate your concerns and the effort you invest. Because of that, your reputation will slowly start to grow. Many people will pick your brand just because of the eco-friendly actions you are supporting!

Challenges and Obstacles in Circular Packaging Adoption

Challenges should not ruin the first impression you have gotten after reading the list of benefits. These are just hints and things entrepreneurs should pay attention to when making the final decision. You may have to face three challenges:

• Consumer Awareness: many consumers (part of your target audience) will not understand the importance and benefits of circular packaging. You will have to invest time, money, and effort to educate people on what circular packaging is, how they should use it, and so on. 

 Infrastructure and Logistics: circular packaging requires a completely new way of business functioning. You will need to get a new infrastructure for these packages and improve logistics. Get familiar with this type of packaging and educate your employees before officially making the change. 

 Policy and Regulations: working with circular packaging comes with different law regulations, and policies that the businesses must respect. Every package that leaves your warehouse must be properly controlled. The smallest mistakes can bring huge penalties, negatively impacting the company’s profit and overall functioning. 

factory production process

Understanding The Circular Economy: 3 Principles

You won’t manage to understand circular packaging to the fullest if you are not familiar with the principles of the circular economy. The circular economy has a specific way of functioning which looks like this: raw materials > production > use > recycle > use > repeat. As you see, it differs greatly from linear and recycling economies that were popular for many years. To ensure these processes go smoothly, experts have determined 3 principles of circular economy.

They are:

1. Reduce
2. Preserve
3. Regenerate

• Reduce: Ensure Designs that Eliminate Waste and Pollution: one of the ideas that the circular economy supports is the complete elimination of waste and air pollution. These two problems are defined as a consequence of the bad designs. It supports the idea of using the most modern techniques that are not harmful to the surroundings. As an entrepreneur, you should use only packages that are made of eco-friendly materials. 

 Preserve: Keep the Materials in the Economy: preserving finite resources and keeping them in the economy is the second principle. In other words, this economy supports the idea u reusing the same materials for as long as possible. Regarding packaging, they should be made of materials that can be remanufactured, repaired, and reused. Yet, that’s not all! It is not a point to just use all the materials as long as that is possible. The second principle also aims to reduce the waste that would end up in landfills. Reusing the existing materials is one of the strategies to reach that goal! 

 Regenerate: Do Good for the environment: the linear economy aims to eliminate all the factors that negatively impact the environment. Yet, the circular economy wants to go an even step further. The supporters of this type of economy want to do something good for the environment. That is the reason why restoring nature's cycles and systems is one of the goals they have. The strategy they use is taking a cyclical approach. You should try to develop systems that will support, improve and protect our ecosystem. One of the things you can do is give back all the resources you use to nature (not just turn them into waste). 

Strategies for Effective Circular Packaging

Switching to circular packaging is not easy; it is a process that will last for many years. Yet, things can be simplified if we use the right strategies to reach our goals. Here are some of them that can ensure effective circular packaging

• Collaboration between industries: the entire business world has to collaborate closely on all circular economy processes

 Consumer education and engagement: the changes won’t mean anything if consumers are not properly educated. Their role in the circular economic system is crucial. It will be essential to, together with other businesses, educate consumers and explain all benefits to them.

 Investment in research and innovation: business owners should not hesitate to invest in finding the best circular packaging solutions. Those investments may not bring a direct profit. Yet, they will bring all the mentioned benefits on a long-term basis.

Circular Packaging in Different Industries

There is no universal way to use circular packaging. How the entire process will look depend on the industry you are involved in. That’s why we would like to analyze this type of packaging in four different industries. Let’s go! 

Food and Beverage

It is not a secret that businesses involved in the food and beverage industry produce a lot of waste yearly. That can be stopped by accepting the circular economy principles and switching to circular packaging. That way, the waste would be minimized, and sustainability will become a priority. Some of the circular packaging examples for food and beverage industries are compostable snack packaging, refillable beverage containers, and so on. At Arka, we create sustainable and eco-friendly custom food boxes that help increase customer trust and satisfaction.

custom food boxes

Personal Care and Cosmetics

Businesses involved in personal care and cosmetics have a more challenging task. Despite supporting sustainability, they must create aesthetically pleasing packages. All the packaging types, like jars and bottles, must be made of biodegradable or recyclable materials. Also, a good idea would be to give back the empty containers. They can later be either recycled or refilled. We also offer premium custom cosmetic boxes that are sustainable and ensure the safety of your products!

Electronics and Technology

So-called e-waste also has a negative impact on the environment. Fortunately, circular packaging can significantly reduce that impact! Businesses should invest in research to discover the designs that ensure smooth repair or recycling of the electronic devices they sell. Also, they can use modular packages for all sorts of components to reach their goals.

electronics packaging Verizon

Credits: Pentagram, Dieline 

Fashion and Apparel  

Reimagining how all accessories are packed and shipped is one of the goals of fashion businesses. Brands that respect circular economy principles use biodegradable garment bags to reach their goals and explore reusable, biodegradable packaging solutions. Yet, they also invest much time and energy in promoting a circular approach. That’s why you can find brands that encourage their consumers to recycle old clothing items or donate them to someone else. 

Fashion and Apparel packaging

Credits: Supple Studio, Dieline

Circular Packaging Success Stories

Everything we just said will probably convince you to switch to circular packaging. Yet, real-life circular packaging examples may leave an even stronger impression. There are 3 success stories of very popular brands from different industries we would like to talk about. 

Loop: A Groundbreaking Reusable Packaging Platform

Loop’s circular packaging initiative is among the best success stories we have heard about. When people order their products online, they get them in durable and customized containers. Yet, when those containers are used, people from Loop come to collect, clean, and refill them. That way, they managed to reduce the amount of single-use packaging waste. Of course, this innovation requires some larger investments. Yet, their initiative significantly impacted the awareness of consumers for circular packaging. 

loop packaging platform

Credits: Tesco

Ecover: Championing Plant-Based Packaging

Ecover is one of the most successful brands for sustainable personal care products. However, it is also known as a brand strongly supporting biodegradable and plant-based packaging materials. Some of the packaging materials they use are recycled plastic and sugarcane. They have been an inspiration for many companies in different industries. 

Ecover plant based packaging

Credits: Kari Embree

Nestle’s Loop-Certified Ice Cream Containers

Loop and Nestle established a collaboration a few years ago. They agreed on using reusable ice cream containers. All those containers were made of stainless steel. Yet, the more important thing is the way they were designed. Employees of Nestle could easily collect, clean, and refill them. That allowed all Nestle fans to enjoy the treats while participating in the circular economy. Collaborations like that should be more often in today’s business world! 

nestle packaging loop certified

Credits: Loop

Final Thoughts 

At Arka, we know that circular packaging can really be one of the solutions to the global problems we are facing. We hope companies within different industries will make deals like Nestle and Loop did. Collaboration between entrepreneurs in spreading the importance of circular packaging is the only way to educate consumers and convince entrepreneurs to change their packaging strategies. 

FAQs on Circular Packaging

Is circular packaging economically viable?

Yes, circular packaging is economically viable. Although you will need to make the initial investments in logistics and infrastructure, it can benefit your business in the long run. It allows you to reduce waste management costs, ensure better customer engagement and improve brand loyalty. 

What role does legislation play in promoting circular packaging? 

Legislation plays a crucial role in circular packaging promotion! You must follow all government regulations and policies when adopting circular packaging for your business. Some of the ways of its contribution are EPR, packaging and labeling requirements, economic incentives, and so on.

Meet Ilija Milosevic, a seasoned content writer & entrepreneur, excelling in diverse industries like sustainability & digital marketing. Read more on Arka!

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