As the shift towards sustainable packaging continues globally, it’s important for companies to start pushing beyond mainstream packaging solutions to create more eco-friendly products. This is especially important as both customers and regulatory bodies are beginning to expect certain levels of sustainability in the packaging process. To help you navigate the process of generating more eco-friendly products, this article will explain four innovative ways to produce sustainable packaging; including reducing excess materials, substituting natural resources into your processes, creating reusable containers, and lowering your energy use.
1) Use More Natural Materials
In order to move towards the future of sustainable packaging, it may be necessary to start using materials your company may have never considered before. One of the most effective of these is plant-based substances. Plant-based means that these materials are made of biological sources, everything from seaweed and mushrooms to food waste and cornstarch. Using biological matter will ensure that your packaging is both biodegradable and compostable, so it can naturally degrade back into the environment rather than polluting it.
Figuring out what type of natural material is best for your company depends on the product you manufacture. If you package items that have a limited use like food, biodegradable plastics would be your best option because they won’t affect the flavor of your product and will begin to decompose when exposed to sunlight. For bulkier or fragile items, packaging material made from mushrooms may be your best fit. Mushroom-based products are more durable and will guarantee your product is completely protected. View a list of eco-friendly packaging alternatives here: Sustainable Packaging In 2021 And Beyond [Examples & Ideas]
2) Reduce Excess Packaging
Sometimes increasing sustainability will require you to rethink your packaging technique and opt for a less wasteful alternative. Over the past few years, many companies have found ways to alter the shape and reduce the size of their products to minimize the need for bulky packaging. There are many different ways that you can change the amount of packaging used without compromising product quality, whether it be reducing fluid formulas, integrating packaging into the product, or arranging products in a different way.
Reducing excess will not only help the environment but may also entice consumers to choose your product. Decreasing unnecessary packaging creates an understated and minimalist packaging style that appeals to the consumer and sets you apart from heavier-packaged competition. If you choose to place less emphasis on bulky packaging, consumers may gravitate towards your product thinking it provides a better value as well. Take a look at this article to learn more about the consumer appeal towards minimalist packaging: When Less Is More.
3) Create Reusable Packaging
Another great way to increase your sustainability is to create packaging that your customers can easily reuse. This means selling your product in containers that consumers are motivated to keep and refill or use for other purposes. Companies that successfully implement reusable packaging have learned to master the creation of low-cost durable containers, a task that may be difficult but is nowhere near impossible.
There are multiple techniques to make reusable packaging work for your company, and it all depends on the type of product you manufacture. One that is continuously growing in popularity is refilling. Best used for hand cleaners and similar merchandise, refilling allows the consumer to buy a product at the store or online in a reusable container. Once they’ve used it all, refills either come in the form of pouches and are refilled at home, or the customer can bring the bottle to a designated refill center. This process eliminates the need for excess plastic and reduces your company’s carbon footprint.
4) Reduce the Amount of Energy your Company Uses
Another surefire way to increase your sustainability actually lies within your production line. According to the EPA, American manufacturing companies are responsible for 22% of greenhouse gas emissions in the country from burning fossil fuels for electricity. If your company can reduce the amount of unnecessary energy it consumes, it can in turn become more sustainable and reduce this statistic.
Experts say that there are only two viable options to begin reducing your energy use:
- Investing in better equipment
- Changing how your company uses energy throughout its manufacturing processes.
Taking a proactive role in monitoring equipment and energy use will result in both cost savings as well as an overall company shift towards sustainability. If you notice a machine isn’t working as efficiently as it should, or unusual weekend energy spikes are being reported, make it a priority to mitigate the issue. Making a time and monetary investment now to ensure your manufacturing plant runs efficiently will result in both long-term cost and environmental benefits.
As the packaging industry shifts toward sustainability, it is important to focus on creating more environmentally friendly packaging designs in order to meet consumers demands. Making this shift can often lead to reduced time to package products, reduced material costs, and increased consumer interest. Consider switching to more natural options, reducing packaging excess, creating reusable containers, and analyzing your company’s energy use. Both your bottom line and customers will thank you for it.
DocXellent can help your company transition into a more environmentally friendly packaging process. Through the use of our specification management system, you’ll have the ability to regulate eco-friendly material substitutes, create automatic notifications for suppliers regarding updated specs, and send important process data digitally across your production line. Implementing a spec management system will deliver clarity throughout your specification process and help you improve your packaging method internally, enabling your packaging engineers to waste less time handling specs and spend more time creating innovative eco-friendly solutions.
We at DocXellent are glad to advise you on how you can accomplish your goals and demonstrate how our packaging specification management software, ENSUR, can maximize your company’s sustainability. Contact us today.