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The journey towards an eco-friendly environment is not just from individuals, even businesses. Many businesses across the world are looking for improved ways to design and produce a product that reduces their emission of carbon footprint, also simultaneously saving on their costs. The concept called “cradle to cradle,” which means taking responsibility for one’s product’s impact from manufacturing it to the disposal– is becoming very popular.

Though air pollution and waste thrown into landfills are major pollutions from an industry’s side, the other seems to be massively sprouting out after the prominence of e-commerce. It is the packaging. If you look at the cradle to cradle concept, it takes into account right from shipping the product from the producer, then to the retailer, and finally to the consumer. This process involves a significant amount of expensive packaging materials. This has caused a wave of new innovative eco-friendly packaging materials as alternatives to traditional packaging. From recyclable plastics to compostable containers, there are endless choices to run an eco-friendly business.

Why consider eco-friendly product packaging?

Reduces carbon footprint:

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As we all know, carbon footprint means the emission of greenhouse gas released into the environment because of human activities. A product’s lifecycle of product packaging undergoes various phases- right from the extraction of raw materials to production, shipping, usage, and end of its lifecycle. Each of these phases leaves off a certain amount of carbon to the environment.

Implementing eco-friendly product packaging methods can reduce the overall carbon emissions, which in turn reduces the carbon footprint. Also, these eco-friendly packaging releases fewer carbon emissions during the production process as they are produced with recyclable materials, which reduces our need for heavy energy resources.

Free from toxins and allergens

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Traditional packaging is made from synthetic and chemical-laden, which are harmful to both consumers as well as manufacturers. Most sustainable packaging is non-toxic and is made from non-allergic materials. Many are now concerned about the material from which the packaging is made as it can have an impact on their health and well being. Using eco-friendly packaging solutions is definitely a win-win for yourself and your customers. With available options of biodegradable packaging, we can make a smooth transition. Many of these run in the same machines as traditional packaging, making its way better to affordability and easy implementation.

Become a part of brand message

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With environmental consciousness growing each day, people are seeking new ways to make a positive impact on the environment without undergoing any major changes in their existing lifestyle. When you transform to eco-friendly packaging, you are giving your customers a chance to make a positive impact on the environment.

If you are a manufacturing company, you can brand yourself as someone who is concerned about the environment. Customers are more likely to encourage and engage businesses that are known for their ecological practices. This means manufacturers should not only incorporate eco-friendly packaging but should also be open about their product life-cycle management as well.

Reduces the usage of plastic

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The traditional packaging mostly uses single-use plastic material. Although they are convenient to use, they are toxic to the environment, causing all kinds of environmental hazards like clogging of drains, global temperature rise and polluting water bodies, etc.

Most of these packaging materials are thrown away after unwrapping them, which later gets clogged in the water bodies. Using environmentally friendly materials will reduce the amount of plastic we use. Petrochemical materials that are used in all kinds of traditional plastics consume a lot of energy for production and disposal. It can also cause health issues, especially those from the food industry.

They are versatile

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The main advantage of eco-friendly packaging is its versatility. They can be used, reused, and repurposed in all major industries. This means you can use these in wide varieties compared to the traditional packaging.

Traditional packaging, in some way, also kills the creativity in package design. There are more forms to explore and get creative when it comes to eco-friendly packaging. Also, these healthier options can be used by the food industry without worrying about any repercussions.

5 Eco-Friendly Packaging design Inspirations

Corrugated bubble wrap

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We are all pretty familiar with bubble wrap packaging, which is a favorite among kids. It helps to protect fragile items during shipping. It is not the most eco-friendliest notion as it is made from plastic. But the good news is that there are plenty of other alternatives that are being developed that are making brands utilize this kind of packaging.

One of those new innovations is up-cycled corrugated cardboard. Rather than just recycling or disposing of the post-consumer cardboard waste, it gives a chance of additional life like a cushioning material. Small cuts are made in it to give a concertina effect that prevents shocks just like bubble wrap, adding sustainability. The only downside is you won’t get the satisfaction of popping the bubbles afterward.

Biodegradable packaging peanuts

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NewYork has recently re-established a ban on Styrofoam, the light and airy product used for takeaway packaging and as filler materials. Another product called EPS (expanded polystyrene foam) was banned in the USA. It is neither biodegradable nor economically recyclable, often found in water bodies. It has an adverse effect on marine life.

Styrofoam has been standardly used as filler materials for fragile or sensitive items, helping to prevent movement and acts as a cushion against shocks. For businesses that are looking for something closest to this kind of packaging can incorporate biodegradable air peanuts. These are the exact replacement of Styrofoam brethren, but they do not ginger around anywhere, polluting the environment. They are also less expensive compared to other options.

Cornstarch packaging:

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It is an organic material that has made its way into the eco-friendly packaging industry. It is derived from the corn plant and features plastic-like properties that can be used in many contexts that have relied on plastics. From bottles to any molded form and loose-fill packaging, corn starch packaging adds many additional uses to this American crop.

Though it is a more environmentally sustainable option to petroleum-based packaging, corn starch is not without its own problems. As it is derived from corn, which belongs to the common food chain, it could possibly raise the price of the dietary staple. It is best to consider both the pros and cons before using it for our packaging needs.

Recycled cardboard and paper

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All these filler materials need to be stored in something, and cardboard boxes are the preferred industry standard. While cardboard and paper are organic, if they are sources in an unsustainable way, they can have a drastic effect on the environment. Luckily both are recyclable material too. To ensure your packaging is completely environment-friendly, try to use post-consumer or post-industrial recycled paper and cardboard. As an alternative, the materials which are marked as FSC certified would be sourced from sustainably managed forests and could be an even better choice at certain times.

Moreover, these filler materials need to be stored in something, and cardboard boxes are the industry standard. Though paper and cardboard are organic, they can hit on environment if use

Though cardboard and paper are organic materials, if they are used unsustainably, their use can have a drastic impact on the environment.

Organic fabrics

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Plastic bags have been a constant threat to the environment. A massive percentage of businesses use plastics that end up polluting the environment. A great alternative is organic fabrics that can be used as reusable bags. There is a great variety of organic fabrics available in the market, like hemp or recycled cotton, palm leaves, tapioca, and much more that can be used. All these materials, even when disposed of, can get replenished in 100 days and not 10,000 years as it takes for a plastic bag. Also, there are plenty of other creative ways you can use these fabrics.

Final Thoughts:

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The world has started to move towards an eco-friendly phase banning materials made from fossil fuels; the tide has also begun to turn on plastics. With so many eco-friendly alternatives available in the market at competitive prices, more companies are recognizing the opportunities and making the switch. Eco-friendly has started becoming mainstream, and some smart business owners throughout the world are making the change today to make sure they are ahead of the game tomorrow.