In a world obsessed with excess and suffering the consequences, pretty packaging does little to hide pretty dire circumstances.
In this blog post, we will explore the ways in which companies can minimize their packaging waste and reduce their environmental footprint. From redesigning packaging to be more efficient and sustainable, to finding ways to reuse or recycle materials, there are many ways for companies to make a difference.
We will also discuss the benefits of these efforts for both the companies and their customers as well as highlight an example of a company that has successfully integrated waste reduction.
Whether you’re a business owner looking for ways to reduce your own packaging waste or a consumer looking to see what a company that prioritizes sustainability looks like, this blog post has something for you.
Before we can unpack the nitty-gritty of packaging waste reduction, there’s an important question that needs to be answered:
Why Reduce Packaging Waste?
Packaging waste is a major contributor to the waste problem facing our planet. From single-use plastics to excess packaging materials, the amount of waste generated from packaging alone is staggering.
Reducing packaging waste is an important part of being a sustainable and responsible business, and it can lead to a range of benefits for the company itself.
One of the main benefits of reducing packaging waste is the potential for cost savings. By finding ways to use less material in their packaging or finding ways to reuse or recycle materials, businesses can lower their production costs and increase their profitability.
For example, a company might redesign its packaging to use less material overall, or it might invest in equipment to recycle its own waste packaging materials. These cost savings can then be passed on to customers, making the company’s products more competitive in the market.
Another benefit of reducing packaging waste is the potential for improved customer satisfaction. Customers are increasingly looking for companies that prioritize sustainability, and reducing packaging waste is a key part of this. By demonstrating a commitment to waste reduction, businesses can improve their reputation and attract more business.
This can also lead to increased customer loyalty, as customers are more likely to support businesses that align with their own values. In addition, products that are packaged in a more sustainable way may be perceived as higher quality, which can also lead to increased customer satisfaction.
Reducing packaging waste also has a positive impact on the environment. By using less material in their packaging and finding ways to reuse or recycle materials, businesses can reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to the overall sustainability of our planet.
There is also the added benefit of helping businesses to meet regulatory requirements and avoid potential fines or penalties for waste-related offenses, not to mention reducing packaging waste can help to reduce the overall amount of waste in the world, which is an important issue for many consumers.
There are many examples of companies that have successfully implemented packaging waste reduction initiatives and reaped the benefits as a result.
One such example is TerraCycle, a company that specializes in recycling and repurposing hard-to-recycle materials, including packaging waste. TerraCycle has implemented a number of initiatives to reduce packaging waste, including partnering with businesses to create recycling programs and developing innovative packaging designs that use less material.
Because of their environmental initiative, the company has saved money, improved its reputation, and made a positive impact on the environment.
Another example is Loop, a company that offers a reusable packaging service for household and personal care products. Loop’s reusable packaging helps to reduce the amount of single-use packaging waste generated by these products, and the company has gained a loyal customer base as a result.
All this to say, reducing packaging waste is an important part of being a sustainable and responsible business. By prioritizing packaging sustainability and waste reduction, companies can not only do their part to protect the environment but also improve their bottom line and attract more customers.
There is no reason for companies not to reduce packaging waste, which begs the question: how exactly can it be accomplished?
How to Reduce Packaging Waste
There are many ways in which we as individuals can make a difference. From the products we buy and the way we dispose of them, to the actions we take in our daily lives, our individual choices and actions can have a significant impact on the amount of waste we produce.
As consumers, we often have the power to influence the way companies do business by choosing to support those that prioritize sustainability and waste reduction. But what about the companies themselves? Do they play a role in reducing waste and promoting sustainability?
The answer is a resounding yes!
Companies have a lead role to play in reducing packaging waste, and there are a number of strategies they can use to achieve this.
1. Reduce the Amount of Packaging
The first approach and easiest to implement is a bit of a no-brainer: reduce the amount of packaging used. This can be achieved by using smaller packaging materials, optimizing the design of packaging to use less material, or finding ways to eliminate unnecessary packaging elements such as inner liners or excess protective material.
2. Use Sustainable Packaging Materials
A popular alternative to the “less is more” approach is investing in more sustainable packaging materials. Traditional packaging materials, especially plastic, can take upwards of hundreds of years to break down in landfills and can have a negative impact on the environment due to the use of non-renewable resources and the release of carbon emissions. Sustainable packaging options, such as recycled materials or biodegradable plastics, can help to reduce waste and minimize the environmental impact of packaging.
3. Increase Packaging Recyclability
In addition to reducing the amount of packaging and using more sustainable materials, companies can also focus on increasing the recyclability of their packaging. This can involve using packaging materials that are widely recycled, such as cardboard or aluminum, and designing packaging that is easy to recycle. Companies can also consider using packaging materials that can be reused, such as reusable containers or returnable packaging.
4. Encourage Recycling of Packaging
Another strategy for reducing packaging waste is to implement programs to encourage the recycling of packaging materials. This can involve providing education and resources to customers on how to recycle packaging, as well as offering incentives for recycling. Companies can also consider working with partners to develop closed-loop recycling systems that allow packaging to be recycled back into new materials.
5. Reduce Waste Throughout the Product Life Cycle
Companies can also reduce packaging waste by making an effort to prioritize waste reduction throughout the entire product lifecycle. This can involve designing products that are more durable and have a longer lifespan, which can reduce the need for frequent replacements and the associated packaging. Companies can also consider offering repair and maintenance services to extend the life of their products and reduce waste.
6. Reduce Waste During Production
If reducing waste through product design and maintenance is unfeasible, companies can instead focus on reducing waste during the production process. This can involve implementing more efficient production processes that generate less waste, as well as finding ways to reuse or recycle waste materials.
7. Contribute to a Collective Cause
Last but not least, companies can also consider collaborating with other businesses, governments, and non-profit organizations to address packaging waste. This can involve participating in industry-wide initiatives to reduce waste, working with partners to develop solutions to packaging waste challenges, and advocating for policies that support waste reduction efforts.
While all of these steps towards waste reduction are nice in theory, what can they look like in practice?
How We Reduce Packaging Waste
As an eco-friendly packaging company, we at Smart Shipping Supply are committed to reducing packaging waste and do so in a multitude of ways.
We start at the source by optimizing material use whenever possible and thus limiting potential waste. To accomplish this we 1) found and implemented the optimal sealing lip length on poly mailers to use less material without compromising ease of use or functionality, 2) folded our mailers in half prior to bagging so we could use smaller bags, and 3) increased the quantity of mailers per case to necessitate fewer boxes.
On top of optimizing material, we also opt for a sustainable alternative—100% post-consumer recycled as opposed to virgin plastic. We intentionally designed our packaging to be recyclable and even encourage consumers to recycle with recycling instructions and a QR code that links to additional information located on each and every one of our SMART mailers.
Overall, reducing packaging waste is a complex challenge that requires a multifaceted approach. While it may seem daunting at first, let us serve as proof that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
By adopting strategies such as reducing the amount of packaging used, using more sustainable materials, increasing recyclability, and collaborating with others, your company can play a critical role in reducing waste and minimizing the environmental impact of packaging while at the same time improving your reputation and appealing to environmentally conscious consumers.
What are you waiting for?
Until next time, shop smart and ship smart.