Paper or plastic? We all know which is the environmentally friendly answer to this question. But how about taking it a step further and using green-approved packaging in your business?
Nonbiodegradable plastics, which are petroleum-based, are among the many eco-unfriendly packaging products raising concerns within our increasingly green-conscious society. The solutions are neither complex, costly, nor far-fetched. But changing people’s mindset is slow-going and takes a concerted effort. Be one of the business owners who is heading the shift toward more environmentally sound packaging by striving for the following goals.
Recycle Existing Products
Recycling products does not simply mean using recyclable goods but reusing what is already out there. Plastic bags and packaging already exist, and because most are not biodegradable, they won’t go away without a fight. Reusing plastic products is one simple step toward sustaining the environment.
Use More Recyclable Products
When given the option of creating packaging, more and more companies are now looking toward products made with recyclable fibers. Consumers are becoming more conscious of recyclable packaging and even some major chain retailers are beginning to shy away from products that are not recyclable. However, there are many manufacturers and retailers that still need to consider alternatives to chemically treated plastics. For example, corrugated cardboard products are one of the best options for an environmentally minded business to use for packaging purposes.
Use Fewer Interior Packing Materials
The overabundance of packing materials is another worry of environmentally concerned businesses and consumers. Whether it’s bubble wrap or enough Styrofoam peanuts to overfeed a Styrofoam elephant, the sheer abundance of packaging materials needs to be decreased or at least replaced with eco-friendly materials inside of boxes, cartons, and packages. For years, old rolled up newspapers were used effectively for packaging. Such paper products, biodegradable packing peanuts, or even actual peanuts, popcorn, or pea straw are all usable for cushioning. For packaging computer products, you can use antistatic foam made of starch-based products manufactured by GreenCell, a company making highly effective biodegradable foam.
Get Everyone on Board
Sustainable packaging needs to become standard practice by manufacturers and retailers. Those in the know are trying to spread the word, not only by example but through customer awareness. In time, retailers may begin rewarding customers for taking initiatives, such as bringing their own reusable bags for carrying items home. Manufacturers are also starting to reap the rewards of thinking green from major retailers. One major U.S. chain is rating the packaging materials of the companies with which they do business and making it clear that poorly rated manufacturers may not be doing business with this retailer much longer.
The message needs to be clear that using reusable containers, recycling packaging materials, avoiding overpackaging, and working hard to not drain our already depleted natural resources will benefit the environment, while keeping product costs from rising. Ultimately, packaging begins with an awareness that must transcend all levels from the manufacturer to the retailers to the consumer with each level responding to the other’s concerns.