6 Great Eco-Friendly Solutions for the Packaging Industry

As the packaging industry evolves, so do the eco-friendly solutions utilized to reduce waste and help protect the planet. Over the last decade, companies have swapped traditional plastic and paper with new materials that are gentler on the environment while effectively protecting products for shipping and storage.

Finding new ways to be sustainable in the packaging sector is highly important, especially as more consumers shop online for new products.

We are breaking down what counts as sustainable packaging and six types of eco-friendly solutions making waves in the industry.

What Is Sustainable Packaging?

Sustainable packaging is the development and use of materials that have very few, if any, negative impacts on the environment for packing and encasing consumer products, including boxes and fillers.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, you must understand how the materials are produced and how they will be disposed of to make the most environmentally conscious decision regarding packaging.

Sustainable packaging solutions aim to reduce the amount of packaging materials that end up in our landfills and minimize carbon emissions. Many new innovations in the industry help us do more than cut down on how much packaging goes into the trash — some eco-friendly packaging materials can actually benefit the earth. 

Benefits of Sustainable Packaging Solutions

Finding new ways to incorporate sustainable materials into packaging is highly important for the environment and can have many benefits for businesses. 

The following are some of the key advantages of utilizing eco-friendly packaging solutions:

  • Meeting consumer demand: Consumers are more concerned about and aware of how their shopping habits impact the planet than ever before. In fact, about two-thirds of shoppers say they are willing to pay extra money for sustainable products. By utilizing more environmentally sound packaging materials, you can effectively meet consumer demand.
  • Limiting waste: In 2018 alone, containers and packaging amounted to 82.2 million tons of waste. In order to lower that number and avoid overrunning our landfills will product packaging, companies can utilize sustainable materials that break down quickly or can be used for a new purpose easily. 
  • Reducing carbon footprints: When solid packaging waste is sent to landfills, it generates greenhouse gas emissions during the decay process, which harms our environment. By using eco-friendly packaging solutions, your business can effectively decrease the materials that go into the trash and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Lower transportation costs: Another benefit of using sustainable packaging is reducing your shipping costs. By using materials and solutions that are light and less wasteful, you can effectively lower the weight of your products during transportation. Lighter products mean lower shipping expenses for your business and your customers. 

Turning to green packaging can be very valuable to your operation and separate your business from its competitors. 

6 Eco-Friendly Packaging Innovations and Solutions

You can find a range of different types of eco-friendly packaging materials. We are sharing six popular solutions that are better for the environment and your business:

1. Recycled Packaging

Recycled packaging refers to the repurposing of previously used materials to create solutions that help keep materials out of landfills for longer.

Some of the most commonly recycled items include:

  • Newspaper
  • Card stock
  • Glass
  • Upcycled plastic
  • Cardboard

The best recycled packaging solutions are sourced from post-consumer or post-industrial content, meaning the materials have gone through the following cycle:

  1. Packaging production
  2. Use
  3. Disposal
  4. Collection
  5. Cleaning
  6. Reprocessing 
  7. Production into something new

Recycled packaging helps reduce waste in our landfills and gives new life to materials after someone has already used them. 

2. Corrugated Packaging

When a material is corrugated, it means it’s typically made of three sheets of containerboard. There are two flat outer sheets and one between them with a rippled design. Because of the innermost layer, corrugated packaging reduces solid waste disposal. 

Corrugated packaging can easily be recovered and used again for recycling purposes. Businesses can utilize this type of material for different parts of product packaging, including:

  • Boxes
  • Filler
  • Liners

Using corrugated boxes for your packaging is more environmentally responsible than solid solutions.

3. Compostable Packaging

Compostable packaging is growing in popularity. It is made from organic materials and breaks down naturally and quickly in certain environments. After decomposing, the packaging turns into nutrient-rich material and can be used as fertilizer to boost soil health. 

This type of packaging is also sustainable because it is designed to leave behind no toxic chemicals or gases when it breaks down. 

By opting for compostable materials for your packaging solutions, you can reduce your carbon footprint and minimize the amount of waste thrown away as a result of using your business’s products. 

4. Edible Packaging

Edible packaging is one of the latest innovations in the packaging industry. It is composed of natural, plant-based materials that are safe for consumers to eat. 

Some common resources used to create this type of packaging include:

  • Seaweed
  • Rice paper
  • Potato fibers
  • Milk proteins

Edible packaging is a sustainable alternative to plastic wrapping and containers. With plastic making up 80% of marine pollution, finding eco-friendly ways to reduce or eliminate your business’s use of it can be highly beneficial for the environment. 

5. Plantable Packaging

Plantable packaging is a zero-waste solution made from post-consumer materials that are biodegradable with seeds embedded in them. 

When the packaging is planted in soil and tended to, it can grow into a new plant over time. Businesses can use plantable materials for:

  • Fillers
  • Wraps
  • Boxes

This type of packaging is best suited for small, lightweight items.

6. Biodegradable Packaging

Biodegradable packaging refers to materials that will decompose naturally through living organisms, such as:

  • Algae
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi

These solutions can reduce carbon emissions and waste. Some common examples of biodegradable packaging include kraft paper and corrugated cardboard. 

Businesses can also utilize biodegradable materials for filler solutions like packaging peanuts. A few popular types of biodegradable resources include:

  • Wood pulp 
  • Cork
  • Bamboo
  • Hemp

Get Sustainable Packaging Boxes from Bolt Boxes Today

If your business is looking for sustainable packaging solutions, turn to Bolt Boxes. We offer custom packaging solutions made from 100% recyclable cardboard. Our brown kraft boxes are made from wood pulp and are completely biodegradable.

With more than 60 years in the box-making business, we understand how to design and optimize packaging to minimize shipping costs and provide a memorable unboxing experience for your customers. Because we do everything in-house, we have more control over the quality of your boxes and how quickly we can fulfill your order.

Are you ready to get started on new product packaging? Contact Bolt Boxes to talk with a representative today!