7 Packaging Materials for 2023 to Help You Respond to Consumers Desire for More Eco-Friendly Packaging
As conscious consumers push for sustainable action, many brands are making eco-friendly choices that not only lessen their environmental impact, but grow their loyal customer base. One of the ways your brand can make a sustainable difference is by using eco-friendly packaging material instead of traditional packaging material. Eco-friendly packaging materials are better for the environment and can save you money in the long run.
Thinking about adopting sustainable packaging design for your brand? Not sure where to start? With advancements in technology, there are a lot of green packaging options. From recyclable packaging to compostable packaging, the type of material your business chooses for its packaging will depend on the product. Below are a few sustainable packaging materials for your business to consider:
When thinking about eco-friendly packaging materials, cardboard is often the first thing that comes to mind. And for a good reason: corrugated cardboard is made up of recycled material and can decompose naturally. Corrugated packaging is a sustainable material and practical for shipping heavy or fragile products. The three layers of recycled paper packaging offer durability and strength.
Recycled cardboard is versatile as it can be designed to fit any package’s shape or size. Because it is made of recycled material like wood chips, sawdust, and wood pulp, cardboard decomposes in most environments.
Corrugated Bubble Wrap
Corrugated bubble wrap is used as protective filler material in fragile packages. Corrugated bubble wrap is made up of up-cycled cardboard, which has been cut to create flexible packaging. This alternative to traditional plastic bubble wrap is biodegradable, recyclable, and reusable packaging material. The only downside is you can’t pop it!
Air Pillows Made of Recycled Materials
Recycled packaging options like air pillows are another great alternative to traditional bubble wrap. This protective filler material keeps fragile products safe during transit and uses much less plastic than other types of protective fillers like styrofoam. Use them to pack empty space in boxes or as cushioning with no added extra weight. Air pillows made from 100% recycled materials are also recyclable after use (just make sure to deflate them first).
Bioplastics are made from plant-based materials like corn starch, sugar cane, or wheat straw. Biodegradable packaging material is able to quickly decompose and produce a smaller carbon footprint than traditional petroleum-based plastics. (But some are non-biodegradable; meaning they can break down, but need to be in a specific environment to do so).
Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a popular bio-based plastic alternative. It is made from materials like fermented cornstarch and sugar cane which are naturally renewable, unlike oil. PLA can be used in most packaging from food containers to protective filler material. It is food-safe, lightweight, and inexpensive. Because of its durability, PLA is great for eco-friendly mailers. It stretches to support weight and is waterproof.
Polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) is a bio-based polymer with similar properties to plastic. PBAT is biodegradable and offers an eco-friendly alternative to conventional plastic products like a plastic bag or cling wrap.
Sometimes using plastic packaging material is unavoidable. If you are shipping a product that needs a sturdy plastic that can support a lot of weight, plastic may be your best option. But, using recycled plastic is a great alternative to single-use plastic that would increase packaging waste and add to pollution.
This plastic packaging is made from recycled materials and can be recycled again after use. Make sure that the plastic is clean before recycling.
Organic and raw material are a great environmentally friendly packaging option because they are are biodegradable. Since these materials are organic, they can break down naturally in any environment. Plus, they enrich the soil and contribute to a cyclical life span.
Mushroom packaging is a popular sustainable packaging option. Like cardboard, mushroom fiber is durable and capable of transporting fragile products like eggs.
Mycelium, or the roots of the mushroom, grow around clean agricultural waste, like corn husks, and bind together to form a solid shape. Once dry, the mushroom fiber is ready to go!
Another organic option is algae. Algae based packaging materials are often used for single-use purposes. Single-use is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the materials used are biodegradable, like algae. Because it is made of organic materials, this plastic substitute composts naturally and feeds back into the environment. It is a great alternative for food packaging.
The algae is boiled down to extract a substance called agar, a jelly-like substance that, when mixed with water, hardens to form a plastic-like substance. Molds can be poured to fit any shape depending on your product and the desired effect. This type of eco-friendly packaging material is best used for dry food products.