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How Important Are Eco Friendly Packaging Options to Today’s Businesses?

What is most important to your eCommerce store? Is it profit? Your people? Or, maybe it’s the environment?

Consumers are more curious than ever about the origins of their favourite products. Since climate change, pollution, and the state of the planet are now having a greater impact on our lives than ever before, more and more individuals are considering the bigger picture when making online purchases.

Here comes the rise of environmentally friendly packaging. To stay up with the shifting priorities of their customers, brands are starting to change their focus. Are you going to follow suit?

The significance of eco-friendly packaging is examined in today's blog, along with the question of whether you should start incorporating it into your eCommerce fulfilment process.

What is Eco-Friendly Packaging?
  • Any packaging that is made from recycled, recyclable, biodegradable, or renewable materials is referred to as eco-friendly packaging.

  • Typically, this serves the following purposes:

  • Keep dangerous garbage out of the environment.

  • Cut back on our use of nonrenewable resources

  • By conserving more trees and emitting fewer greenhouse gases, we can lessen our carbon footprint.

  • Less waste should be disposed of in landfills so that it can return to the environment.

Words like ‘eco friendly’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘conscious’ are all quickly becoming buzzwords popping up everywhere from news reports to marketing tactics.

Why Does Eco-Friendly Packaging Matter to eCommerce?

What exactly does this have to do with your online store, then?

eCommerce is still expanding, which also means that we are utilising more packaging overall. This doesn't quite match with another topic that is quickly capturing your customers' attention: the environmental impact of their use of plastic and packaging.

In fact, a 2019 study found that eight out of ten consumers are attempting to limit their plastic waste, and half of those polled said they would be willing to pay more to have their purchase shipped in environmentally friendly packaging.

Additionally, 46% of those surveyed said they felt "sorry" about how much plastic they consume. This is especially true of younger generations, with 43% of those in their late 40s to early 50s admitting to feeling guilty, compared to 51% of those in the 18 to 24 age group.

This change did not take place overnight.

Free single-use plastic bag distribution was stopped in England in 2015, and by 2019, their use had decreased by 90%.

A few years later, the Blue Planet II documentary by David Attenborough was acknowledged as having a significant influence on our environmental decisions, including the use of reusable water bottles and coffee cups as well as the preference for loose fruit over pre-packaged.

After increased awareness of their impact on marine life, microbeads were no longer allowed to be used in items sold in the UK in 2018, continuing the trend. The same year, the European Parliament approved a ban on single-use plastics, such as plastic straws, cutlery, and cotton buds, throughout the EU.

A large portion of people desires plastic and other non-recyclable materials as little as possible in their life. But as more and more people shop online, we've also needed packaging materials more than ever before, necessitating the necessity to combine these two problems.

Is There Another Side to the Eco Packaging Story?

Plastic indeed has a terrible effect on the environment.

However, you must exercise caution while promoting your brand as environmentally friendly.

Plastic packaging can help minimise food waste by prolonging shelf life, but only around 9% of it has been recycled since the 1950s, according to the packaging industry. There is also some misunderstanding regarding "bioplastics," many of which make the claim to be compostable or biodegradable but still have the potential to produce hazardous microplastics.

Many people feel as though their packaging decision is in a minefield of possibilities because other factors like water and land use can also affect how "environmentally friendly" it is.

You don't want to get yourself into a difficult scenario where your sincere intentions are called into question when it comes to your brand. Many companies offer eco-friendly packaging, so it's always better to conduct your homework on them and find out exactly how they make their products, where they come from, and how to dispose of them. After that, you should inform your clients of this information openly and sincerely.

Consumers will notice if your company only talks about environmental issues without actually doing anything about them, and you may find it difficult to earn back their trust.

Should You Be Using Eco-Friendly Packaging for Your eCommerce Store?

Customers want less packaging, as seen by the demand for businesses that provide solutions for our environmental concerns. This is true for both Amazon orders and subscription box fulfilment. But how precisely should you approach it as an online store?

The major goal of adding a "conscience" to your brand is to benefit the environment, but it can also aid in product sales. When choosing between your brand and one of your competitors, your pledge to utilise eco-friendly packaging could be the deciding factor.

Consider these ideas when you're considering enhancing your eCommerce store's green credentials.

Your brand - Using ecologically friendly packaging can improve your reputation with those who care about the environment, but consider how you will need to modify your current brand. For instance, if you switch from laminated or foiled cardboard to recycled cardboard, it could have a very different appearance and texture. How can you synchronise the two?

Consider your audience while deciding how to convey your new environmental message to them. You might get a more enthusiastic response from Gen Z and Millennial consumers than from an older market group.

Going green could be essential to you and your clients, but always make sure your math makes sense.

Is it appropriate? - Lastly, confirm that any new packaging complies with your product's specifications. Any changes in size or weight could have an impact on your courier charges and warehousing space, but you still need to be certain it will safeguard the item inside throughout the logistics process.

When you have taken everything into account and are prepared to implement your environmental packaging, be sure to announce it! Customers should be informed of any changes they are making and given further instructions on how to recycle or reuse the materials they are delivering.

What Are Eco-Friendly Packaging Materials?

There is a tonne of options available when looking for environmentally friendly packing materials, as we've already said.

Here are some of the most well-liked green packaging concepts:

Paper and cardboard

Yes, it's obvious but true: bubble wrap, plastic bags, and other packaging materials can all be easily replaced with plain cardboard and paper. Make sure it has been produced using recycled paper or has been responsibly sourced.

Even though cardboard and paper are up to 80% biodegradable, it would still be a good idea to make them recyclable. When choosing your materials, be sure to examine whether the laminations and inks will prevent this or if they'll be hazardous.

Repurposed plastics

Going forward, we can cut back on the quantity of plastic we use, but what about the staggering 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic already in existence? Recycled plastic can help you do your part to limit the amount of plastic that is shipped to landfills if your product just cannot be packaged without it.

You can also experiment with using less plastic. Sometimes all it takes to do your part for the environment is to use less single-use packaging.

Biodegradable and bioplastic materials

Even bioplastics made from substances like cornstarch have drawbacks. They can biodegrade into compost and emit substantially fewer greenhouse gases when produced, but this depends on how they are disposed of. Inform your consumers of the best way for them to dispose of their packaging after using it.

Cotton and jute

Using organic cotton or jute can provide your items with a layer of protection that is eco-friendly while still looking appealing if you sell more premium or white glove products. Reusable drawstring bags are a well-liked concept, especially if they are imprinted with your company's emblem.

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