5 Ways To Reduce The Environmental Impact Of Your Packaging

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5 ways to reduce the environmental impact of your packaging


The environment is a major concern for businesses and consumers today, especially if a business produces a lot of waste material.

So what can be done to reduce the environmental impact of packaging?

The key to reducing environmental impact is to think in terms of sustainability both environmentally and economically. So we have pulled together five practical tips that can help you reduce the environmental impact of your packaging and should help to increase your business’s environmental reputation.

1. Look for sustainability

The easiest way to reduce your environmental impact without affecting your supply-chain is to source sustainable raw materials, or make sure the packaging you use originates from a sustainable source.

Sustainable forests are a pertinent example. The majority of which are already monitored by professional bodies. In Europe many forests now have full certification that states they comply with recognised standards of sustainable management, and internationally, suppliers can subscribe to recognised international standards governed by the Forest Stewardship Council to officiate the sustainable management of their forests.

Marks and Spencer are a good example of an organisation that sources sustainable goods for their products. A lot of their food products are Fairtrade, which aims to make farming economically sustainable in developing countries; they also source cotton, new man-made fibres and wood sustainably.

2. Consider recycled material

Using recycled material is a great way to improve the environmental impact of your packaging, many packaging suppliers already use recycled material in their products so sourcing such a supplier will benefit your supply-chain’s impact on the environment.

Recycled material can have its disadvantages though.

Glass and metal are materials that are easily recycled with little or no effect on the integrity of the material. However, the natural fibres found in paper are damaged in the recycling process and this may inadvertently lead to extra cost, or even increased environmental impact. We recommend doing a quick packaging audit of the alternatives so your business can make the right decision for both the environment and profits.

3. Choose recyclable packaging

Another easy way to benefit the sustainability of your packaging is to ensure that all the materials you use are recyclable. This means you should use standard materials that are compatible with established recycling processes, make sure that packaging is easily dissembled, and create clear instructions so that end-users will recycle your packaging.

For a quick run-down of what recycling symbols mean visit this link:http://www.recyclenow.com/recycle/packaging-symbols-explained. And for a list of materials and their recyclability see this link: http://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with.

4. Try and be clever.

If it isn’t possible to change the material you use for packaging then the best way for you to reduce the environmental impact of your packaging is to minimise waste.

Waste can be minimised in many ways. Two examples are to eliminate packaging altogether, or maximise the efficiency of space available in packaging.

To eliminate materials from your packaging, you can remove unnecessary layers of packaging or eliminate the use of adhesives or tape; also you can use techniques like embossing or in-mould direct printing to avoid the use of labels.

Space can be saved and waste minimised by eliminating fillers like polystyrene blocks or bubble wrap; void space can be removed between layers of packaging, or packaging can be designed to save space during transit. Generally making sure your packaging is as efficient as possible is the best way to minimise waste.

Amazon’s “Frustration-free Packaging” is a good example of optimising package design to minimise waste and improve user-friendliness.

It is an initiative designed to make it easier for customers to remove products from packages. The packages are easy-to-open, 100% recyclable and can be shipped as individual packages without additional shipping boxes.

5. Let your customers know

The most important step when reducing the environmental impact of your packaging is letting your customers know.

It is important to make customers aware of what part they can play, what you are doing and why. This will reflect positively on your brand and it will inform end-users what they can do to help.

If you are interested in how Orbital Response can benefit your supply-chain management, please visit our website to find out more orbital-response.co.uk.

Photo Credit: http://www.gratisography.com/

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