Sustainability plays an important role in business today. As well as helping reduce our impact on the planet, it also attracts eco-conscious consumers into the bargain.
Packaging is a key part of environmental business practices. Non-recyclable or compostable packaging ends up in landfill, further damaging the planet. But this kind of wasteful packaging is rapidly going out of fashion. Read on to find out why.
Environmentalism is part of the global consciousness
It won’t have escaped your attention that environmentalism is at the forefront of the world’s consciousness. As the world heats up and our resources dwindle, there is an increased emphasis on eco-friendliness on virtually every aspect of our lives, and the world of ecommerce is no exception to this.
Consequently, there is increased pressure on brands to embrace more sustainable business practices in their work. Beyond switching to paperless and offsetting their carbon footprint, packaging is one of the biggest focuses for businesses.
Packaging is one of the biggest drivers of the waste crisis in the world — the West ships countless cargo loads of it to poorer countries on a yearly basis. As one of the biggest users of packaging, It’s up to businesses to embrace sustainable options that lessen their impact on the planet.
Consumers demand eco-friendly business practices
In the same vein as the above, as environmentalism becomes more deeply entrenched in the social consciousness, consumers are increasingly demanding eco-friendly practices from the brands they love.
Where older generations might not care as deeply about eco-friendly business practices, younger generations, particularly Gen Z and beyond, place great importance on an ethical and sustainable ethos from businesses.
Indeed, as time goes on, new generations of consumers will grow up expecting businesses to adopt practices that reflect the gravity of the environmental crisis.
As such, wasteful packaging, especially that made of plastic and other non-recyclable materials, will be seen as a negative for consumers looking to choose a business to shop from.
There are more sustainable alternatives available
Part of the reason why wasteful packaging is going out of fashion is partly down to the growing number of sustainable or recyclable alternatives open to us.
Naturally, recyclable cardboard or paper rank high at the top of this list. But there are other sustainable materials that are great for use in packaging. Dairy-based film, for instance, is slowly starting to replace polymer packaging, and sorghum or corn starch makes for great compostable alternatives too.
Vegetable-based inks are also a solid investment that has a much smaller carbon footprint on the planet than regular inks, with no toxic byproducts too.
There are also plenty of brands that have adopted more creative approaches to embracing sustainable packaging. US-based LimeLoop, for instance, provides recycled vinyl packaging to brands which, once delivered, can then be sent back to the business for reuse, free of charge.
And children’s accessories brand Joolz uses cardboard packaging that can be turned, origami-style, into a toy. Hot air balloons, puppet theatres, and birdhouses are just a few examples of what Joolz’s packaging can be transformed into.
With so many options available, there’s no need to use wasteful packaging that damages the planet.
Ecommerce is on the rise
As the internet becomes a core feature of our lives, consumers are increasingly looking online to shop and buy products. Instead of heading to the high street, customers check online to find cheaper products, often with a greater selection and more convenient delivery options.
As a result, this surge in online shopping has led to greater usage of packaging. Ecommerce businesses frequently use cheaper, disposable plastic packaging in a bid to save costs, which in turn exacerbates the issue further.
Indeed, the digital age has seen a new generation of entrepreneurs launch their own businesses, often from home.
As ecommerce becomes ubiquitous, so too are the options available to merchants and consumers for greener alternatives.
Take Shopify, for instance, whose app store offers affordable eco-friendly packaging options such as Arka Packaging. This gives entrepreneurs the option of green shipping boxes and mailers without the need to invest in expensive eco-friendly technology.
Beyond packaging apps, ecommerce also offers other greener options for entrepreneurs to reduce their impact on the planet. You can provide carbon-neutral shipping by offsetting emissions, for instance, or implement a returns policy for empty containers.
As ecommerce grows, the demand for greener, more eco-friendly packaging options will grow too. As the above indicates, wasteful packaging will soon (hopefully) be a thing of the past.
We all have our part to play in the climate crisis, and businesses are no exception. Get inspired by the above and opt for sustainable packaging options in 2020 that are better for the planet, better for your customers, and better for your business as a result.
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