With recycling bins around every corner and climate change updates all over the news, now more than ever it’s important to implement eco-friendly packaging practices. And when it comes to packaging, businesses have an important role to play in reducing the amount of waste the UK churns out on a daily basis.
The UK produces a whopping 10 million tons of waste just from packaging every year, and it’s believed that up to three-fifths of the waste we put in our bins could be recycled. Fortunately, packaging doesn’t have to come at a cost to the environment.
Let’s take a look at the rise of eco-friendly packaging and how it can help you, your brand, and our planet.
What forms of eco-friendly packaging are there?
From drinks cartons to yoghurt pots and headphone boxes, all sorts of brands are seeing the benefits of going eco-friendly — for the environment, their customers and their bottom line.
Take Coca-Cola’s colorless can, which was released without the brand’s customary red back in 2014. To much amazement, Coca-Cola decided to leave the paint off a few batches of its cans — a bold move for the iconic soft drink brand, which is known around the world for its recognizable palette.
It turned out to have effects that went beyond raising a few eyebrows. Paint missing from the production process meant that energy use went down, while it also meant that recycling was easier and more environmentally-friendly when it came to disposal later on.
Another example of a business using eco-friendly packaging to their advantage is Graze, which produces boxes of small treats like nuts, fruit, and chocolate.
Beloved by snackers everywhere as a healthy option to keep them going during the day, it’s not just the consumers’ tummies benefiting from the nifty cardboard boxes of food. The boxes are fully recyclable, and also match the positive, wholesome ethos of the Graze brand – a boon for their marketing.
Is it just for food and drink businesses?
Not at all. Businesses and organizations from across a range of different sectors have used eco-friendly packaging to their advantage over the years, and the trend is continuing to grow in popularity.
Take Sennheiser, the German company famous for producing audio products like headphones and speakers, for instance. Some of their CX 300 earphones were packaged in cardboard and were 100% recyclable, meaning that they had a lifespan much longer than the wasteful boxes tech items often come in. Tech products like headphones usually ship in plastic clamshell-style packaging, which are generally only used once and head straight to the landfill site afterward.
Next, we have Puma. The brand knew that cardboard shoe boxes often get hoarded by consumers for a speculative future use, but actually end up gathering dust and then being thrown away without ever getting a second outing.
By developing the ‘Clever Little Bag,’ they struck pure gold. The branded bag — durable enough to carry heavy shoes but appealing and convenient enough to easily reuse — was a perfect example of environmental benefits aligning with a firm’s marketing needs.
The Clever Little Bag reduced waste, but it also became a must-have gimmick item that Puma’s consumers wanted in itself. It was a win-win situation!
How can small businesses use eco-friendly packaging to their advantage?
Coca-Cola and Puma might have used eco-friendly packaging to great effect in their marketing endeavors, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a global corporation to turn around your packaging systems and help save the planet in the process.
The durability of eco-friendly packaging suits not only the environment but also your marketing needs, as it has a high reuse rate and a cheap initial cost per unit.
Take the woven bag, also known as a tote bag. Studies show that woven bags are the second-most kept promotional product, lasting on average more than eight months. That’s eight months of repeated exposure to passersby on the streets in the footfall zone near your business. Where else could you get a repeated golden advertising opportunity like this, all for one small up-front cost?
Does eco-friendly packaging look and feel nice?
Eco-friendly packaging doesn’t have to look ugly. On the contrary, in a world of over-stimulation from advertisements, the natural look provided by recycled material is often more easy on the consumer’s eye than traditional packaging options are.
Switching to eco-friendly packaging doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, an environmentally friendly packaging system can be an asset to your business, providing you with durable, long lasting advertising vehicles while also doing your bit to look after the planet for future generations.
What’s not to love?
Royal Packaging are one of the leading suppliers of high quality, eco-friendly packaging in the UK. Striving to achieve the best printed plastic bags, paper bags, and fabric bags whilst protecting the planet. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information.