Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to consumers and businesses alike. If you want to appeal to today’s eCommerce customers, you need to do what you can to implement sustainable practices. This includes the use of sustainable packaging to contain, protect, and ship your products.
According to one recent report, 67% of consumers find it important to purchase products with recyclable packaging. 67% also refer to themselves as environmentally conscious. Additionally, the report concluded that younger audiences of 44 and under are leading this particular trend.
If you’re looking for ways to integrate eco-friendly packaging solutions for your eCommerce business, the following are some specific ideas to get you started.
1. Make It Possible to Return Empty Packaging
One way to make your eCommerce packaging eco-friendly is to develop a returns program that enables customers to return empty containers. This is ideal if you have a specific means of reusing or recycling your products, such as a partnership with a company that specializes in recycling.
For instance, you can give customers the ability to return your product containers via an app like Returnly. This process would allow customers to easily send their packaging back to you, at which point your partner can recycle them for reuse. It would also show your customers that you truly value sustainable practices.
2. Use Minimal Packaging Materials
While your products should be fully protected while in transit through proper packaging, you should only use the materials you need. This involves going minimalist with your packaging when possible. This cuts down on material costs and storage requirements while reducing waste.
In the process, you can also work with your fulfillment partners to accommodate minimal materials. For refrigerated or frozen food products, this includes knowing exactly how many gel packs or pounds of dry ice to use given the outside temperature. A good fulfillment partner will help you test different pack out scenarios so you know exactly what to use and when.
3. Use Bioplastics
These materials are like plastic, but they use organic sources of biomass such as wheat and milk. The processes used to manufacture bioplastics are more energy-efficient and cleaner than those involved in traditional plastic manufacturing.
Bioplastic packaging is in line with minimalist packaging and helps minimize waste. However, keep in mind that bioplastics, while more generally sustainable and conservatory, are not actually biodegradable. They require proper recycling methods like ordinary plastic materials.
4. Make Use of Compostable and Biodegradable Packaging
Many businesses are adopting the trend of compostable and biodegradable packaging to facilitate sustainable practices. This can include efficient packaging for the products themselves, along with the insulation and shipping boxes.
Oftentimes, businesses wind up disposing of packaging from their suppliers before repackaging products. This is highly inefficient and contributes to the buildup of waste, including potentially harmful plastic materials. Using biodegradable packaging, will greatly reduce this waste.
5. Cutting Down on Ink
When possible, you should attempt to minimize your use of ink for packaging. With efficient designs, you can create a unique and appealing look for your packaging without the need for large amounts of ink.
You can also help the environment by switching to more eco-friendly inks. For example, you can use soy-based ink in lieu of petroleum-based ink. Unlike the latter, vegetable and soy-based inks lack the dangerous compounds that might otherwise hurt both people and the environment. This type of ink is also easier to de-ink, which makes it more recyclable than its petroleum-based predecessor.
6. Ship Products in Bulk
You can further save on packaging waste and expenses by shipping your products in bulk when it’s doable. It might make more sense to ship your items in bulk quantities, including certain types of food such as frozen meals.
Bulk shipments will ultimately give you even more savings as you don’t need as much material for product packaging. Bulk options may also add more convenience for customers who tend to purchase more than one of your products at a time.
7. Edible Packaging
Some food products may benefit from edible packaging that your customers can enjoy along with the product itself. Food products like chocolate and fruit can include edible films that can add even more appeal to items and cut down on waste.
One of the most popular materials for edible packaging is chitosan, which is a type of sugar comprising treated chitin shells, which come from crustaceans.
8. Consider Plantable Packaging
Companies may also use plantable packaging that can literally grow into trees or other types of plants. For instance, a few brands have found a way to integrate seeds into their packaging. These seeds make it easy to grow certain types of plants once the consumer removes the label and adds water to the box before planting.
Plantable packaging offers a more direct way to help the environment by contributing to the planet’s flora.
9. Use the Right Packaging Sizes
When selecting packaging for your products, make sure you don’t over-package them with large containers or boxes. Be sure to size your packaging appropriately, which will ensure your products are sufficiently protected while avoiding too much waste.
Take the time to carefully choose your packaging when preparing your initial products or adding new ones. Taking this approach will save you even more money in addition to making your packaging less wasteful.
Take the Right Steps to Develop Eco-Friendly Packaging
With the right measures, eco-friendly packaging can benefit you, your customers, and the world at large. The key is to know which measures are right for your brand and products. There are plenty of strategies you can implement to get the most from sustainable packaging and improve your operations. Sustainable packaging will also boost your business’s reputation in an era when consumers are more environmentally aware than ever before.
For more help with growing your eCommerce business and incorporating the right business strategies, turn to the professionals at Gray Growth Logistics and get the assistance you need.