There’s a buzzword encircling most business practices today: sustainability. In environmental terms, “sustainability” is the approach of not harming the environment and refraining from the depletion of natural resources over the long term. Sustainability makes consumers feel protected, comforted, and validated in their choices.
The main priority of businesses today should be complying and evolving with growing consumer habits. (Example: SmartLabel™ app technology aimed at providing tech-savvy grocery shoppers with immediate, detailed, transparent product information.) If sustainability is a core concern of customers, companies – particularly in the packaging realm – should take that to heart. Plus, sustainability has become far too ingrained in the consumer psyche to not take a stance. It’s to a company’s detriment if it doesn’t get on board in some way, shape, or form.
On top of this, let’s face it: sustainability has real benefits. It’s often thought that sustainability cuts into corporate profits. Packaging, manufacturing, and distribution companies reap just as many value-added benefits from switching to more sustainable initiatives, including improved brand image and competitive advantage; increased productivity and reduced costs; better adherence to regulations; interested new customers, employees, and investors; reduced waste; and increased shareholder satisfaction.
A lot of packaging companies say they’re sustainable, but do they actually practice what they preach? The good news is, with ever-growing access to and procurement of green products and services, it’s become easier to catch up. If you haven’t deployed your own sustainability blueprint yet, remember: “It is more about not being left behind than getting ahead of the pack.”
But wait, there’s more: Sustainability can be SIMPLE!
Sustainability is not a high-level concept that is only for the largest corporations in the world. It doesn’t have to be endorsed by a celebrity or make the news to be successful: sustainability can be just as impactful on a small-to-medium scale. Sometimes, it takes just a few changes to make a noticeable difference.
Here are some simple sustainability basics that will get you well on your way to becoming a sustainable force in the market!
Use Recyclable Materials
We weren’t kidding about simple sustainability. This is truly an easy concept with great returns. Cardboard, plastic, or paperboard products can be recycled and upcycled to create new items. These materials are highly adaptable to your production and shipping needs. When in doubt, consult a packaging expert to decide which packaging materials fit your budget.
Utilize Innovative Solutions
There are tons of recent, unique developments in innovative, sustainable packaging that are still cost-effective. For example, a couple years ago, Unilever launched – and is continuing to explore – MuCell Technology, which was described by the company’s sustainability manager Julie Zaniewski as “eliminating the middle layer of a material and injecting it with air bubbles. This enables the packaging to retain its durability while using less plastic.” Other solutions include bioplastics, plant-based packing peanuts, and rainforest-friendly paper.
Work With Companies That Care
If you’re serious about sustainability, it would be a good idea to look into companies that are actively involved in promoting packaging sustainability in the community. Ideally, they’ll share similar sustainability goals and therefore be able to come up with the most robust solution for you. In addition, membership and certifications from noteworthy sustainability groups speak to the company’s commitment and will go a long way in bettering conservation efforts at large.
A lot of waste occurs at warehouses and retail stores. Between maintaining inventory, managing production, and dealing with processing, it’s understandable to fall behind. Talk to your packaging supplier about customized packaging plans that are specifically formulated to streamline your operations, thereby reducing waste and increasing productivity. Even taking a more minimalistic approach to your packaging design is both aesthetically appealing for customers and reduces bulky materials for easy recycling.
Have more questions about sustainable packaging for your operations? Talk to the experts at PPOIC!