How businesses can reduce their plastic packaging

More and more packaging and printing companies are now listening and reacting to public concerns surrounding over-reliance on plastic. Businesses can no longer bury their heads in the sand and hope that the problem will go away, because it simply will not. Fortunately, many companies have been taking steps to eradicate or modify plastic packaging, easing the concerns of clients and employees alike.

Positive points for your business

As well as reduced transportation costs, you will constantly be improving your brand for the marketplace that you are in, whether it is food, technology, beauty or any other business. The impression your company will give to potential customers will improve your brand image and demonstrate your commitment to the environment, as well as your buyers. Just because plastic has become a major part of our lives, it doesn’t mean that equally as attractive and affordable packaging can be sourced, printed with your brand and responsibly disposed of by recycling.

Plastic tends to be dumped in green spaces, waterways and beaches, rather than recycled. If non-sustainable packaging is not disposed of correctly, it can cause harm to our planet. Showing that you care, will certainly win you accolades. Single use plastic is the worst offender for being tossed away after use, but there are plenty of sustainable plastics that would make a much better choice.

What are the benefits of ‘green packaging’?

Interestingly, ‘going green’ with your packaging is not just environmentally friendly. With the right dedicated research, green packaging can also be cost effective as it can be made using fewer materials. Not only that, less fossil fuels will be used in manufacturing, and these contribute greatly to the amount of carbon dioxide and methane in our atmosphere – the world doesn’t need that problem either.

Businesses that can offer their customers eco-friendly packaging will definitely triumph in the end, as companies and individuals are now avidly looking for environmentally aware suppliers. You will win more customers and have the benefit of lower transportation costs, as green packaging tends to be lighter and therefore more cost effective. The phrase ‘reducing the carbon footprint’ is very much heard in today’s world, and using material that can be recycled, it’s a much better prospect for reducing toxic emissions.

Since around 1990, worldwide studies have shown that people are demanding recyclable, compostable and environmentally friendly packaging. As a business, this trend must be followed in order to sustain your economic viability, retain your customers and continue to receive repeat orders. When making buying decisions, there is no doubt that purchasers will prefer businesses offering green packaging services, above those that do not. Any business offering packaging, particularly plastic that won’t biodegrade for hundreds of years, could definitely find themselves at the bottom of a buyer’s preferences.

Making the right choices for packaging

There are three basic principles for packaging that businesses should follow – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Any other packaging currently is not environmentally friendly and can end up costing you far more money. There is a huge range of packaging products to fit your needs and the safety of the world in future years, so just look at any unnecessary packing, fillers or other items that you simply do not need to use.

Additionally, make sure to properly inform your customers about how they can properly dispose of your product once they are finished with it. Making sure that you print or label your own packaging to identify it as recyclable, reusable or ‘green’, will show customers your commitment to reducing waste. You might even think about communicating how they might re-use the packaging. Coke famously ran a campaign named “2ndlives”, which saw the release of 16 bottle caps, all of which allowed the bottle to take on a second life as, for example, a pencil sharpener, bubble blower and sprayer. This encouraged people to be more creative and thoughtful with packaging, rather than just toss it out.

Once you reduce packaging levels, and reuse whatever materials you can, recycling is the next step. Plastic can be a problem as everyone knows, so if you use products for your own manufacturing purposes, try to ensure that it is recyclable and BPA free. BPA is Bisphenol-A, a potentially toxic chemical and studies have shown that it can be dangerous to our health. There are companies manufacturing BPA-free plastic containers, so try to find one that fits your business needs and that can be used more than once – that’s sound business and environmental sense.

If you don’t need or want to use plastic, consider your other options, such as cardboard which can be shredded and easy to dispose of in recycling bins. There are even products now on the market that are plant-based (made from items such as tapioca root), which is an even more viable, compostable and biodegradable option for helping the environment.

Plastic in itself is a neutral construct, neither good nor evil. Unfortunately, misuse of the material from unscrupulous businesses and individuals has caused considerable damage to our planet. This makes it the responsibility of everybody to be more mindful about the impact of plastic and consider the options available to them as a business. Be a business that stands out above others and help the worlds’ plastic problem, as well as continuing to be successful and environmentally friendly.