Artists and makers are increasingly conscious that they must make thoughtful choices about the packaging they use, just as larger businesses. While customers are demanding more sustainable packaging, many designers and manufacturers are looking for ways to preserve the environment.
Reusing any boxes, envelopes, or other materials that you have at home is the best way to go eco-friendly.
Some ideas for environmentally friendly packaging
But let’s talk eco-friendly
As your small business grows, this may not be possible. Reusing existing boxes, envelopes, and materials at home is a great way to preserve your products, build your brand, and communicate your design skills.
Here are some tips
This is a simple one. You can make this mistake by using the wrong packaging or size box.
- You could endanger your product if it bumps against the walls.
- You will need to use more filler material in order to protect your product. This creates more waste.
This can be avoided by choosing packaging that is best suited for your product. This doesn’t mean you should opt for custom-made packaging but do consider the product’s size and select the smallest mailer or box that will fit the product. To avoid any damage or breakage, ensure that your product is snugly packed. If you do need to use a filler, make sure it’s used in moderation.
Your customer may be concerned if you have too much packaging or a wrong-sized box.
- Is the shop taking enough care to package my product properly?
- Do you really need all that packaging?
- What can I reuse?
It’s not just more expensive to ship a huge cardboard box stuffed with useless paper, but it can also reflect poorly on your brand. Packaging that is tailored to your product will communicate your brand’s values. Your products will be safer more durable, and there will be fewer returns – all wins.
Accept the humble cardboard box
Cardboard is an easy and sustainable material. It is biodegradable and reusable, and in most cases, made from recycled pulp paper. There are many sizes and shapes of cardboard boxes. They are also very eco-friendly. Double- and triple-walled cardboard boxes are extremely sturdy and will keep your products safe throughout shipping. Even though cardboard boxes can’t be separated when they are thrown in the bin, they will easily go to landfills. This means that cardboard is an eco-friendly, inexpensive, and clean option for packaging.
We’ve discussed custom –printed cardboard envelopes or boxes can be a great choice for creative businesses. They can help increase visibility, strengthen brand identity, and can also form part of your branding. But when selecting a supplier, make sure they use recycled materials and water-based dyes. This adds sustainability to an already sustainable packaging solution.
You can also think of cardboard. If you are sending small items like jewelry or accessories, cardboard envelopes can be a good choice. However, they are more durable than plastic mailers and bubble-lined ones. Paper bags can be used to sell your products at craft shows or pop-up shops.
Reuse your packaging
You can reduce packaging waste by making it reusable, whether you’re talking about primary packaging, which is the one around the product, packaging for display on shop shelves, or packaging for shipping products. You can use your imagination here. If you know how to knit jumpers for children, you might be able to design a paper bag that converts into a clothes hook. Or perhaps a shipping container that doubles as a vase or pen pot that holds paper flowers.
If you sell hand-poured candles, handmade skincare, bath, and beauty products, would you be willing to let your customers return their bottles and jars in exchange for a discounted price?
Plantable packaging is a great way to support the eco-system
Packaging that can be turned into trees Mind-blowing eco-fumes. The process designed a way to include organic seeds in their boxes to ensure consistency across all brands. Take off the label, rinse the container in water and place it on the ground. Voila!
The new zero-waste concept of plantable packaging takes the zero waste concept to a whole new level. This packaging not only leaves no trace but also contributes to the improvement of our environment by growing more trees and plants that take CO2 from the atmosphere. You can find companies in the UK that supply seeded paper and envelopes by doing a quick Google search (or Ecosia).
Another option is to follow – a seller and promise to plant a tree if you reach a certain amount of orders. Jess does it through his site, but there are many other options. This route is recommended, so make sure you mention it in the product description and listing, as Jess did.
My passion is protecting the environment and the natural realm. I have switched to plastic-free packaging. All orders will arrive in a cardboard box sealed with biodegradable tape or a ‘green jiffy bag,’ which is lined with recycled papers and 100% recyclable.
Consider compostable packaging
Composable packaging can be composted under certain conditions, such as temperature, humidity, microorganisms, and the use of suitable equipment. Packaging can be composted depending on its composition.
- At home, in a compost container (mostly in the garden), with bio-waste like green waste and kitchen scraps
- Or in an industrial composting facility, where temperatures reach 70 degrees C
Then, it transforms into natural fertilizer.
While compostable is always biodegradable, it is not always the case. One thing is certain: compostable and biodegradable packaging should not be left in nature. It doesn’t degrade the same way in every environment. And while it waits to decay, it can have a negative effect on biodiversity.
If you decide to use compostable packaging such as compostable mail bags, make sure to provide instructions to your customer so they know what to do.
Your packaging can be used as part of your craft to show creativeness.
You might consider using your packaging to showcase your products at craft fairs. This could work even at trade fairs if your packaging is unique, creative, beautiful, or custom designed.
It’s a great way to make your brand stand out and can also be a talking point. Your customer will also see the packaging you provide with their product. It makes it much easier to pack up and transport your products from one place to another.
Educate your customers
Your positive environmental impact can be amplified by educating your customers on what you are doing and why. You can make a YouTube video or an Instagram Live [ check our tips], or provide clear instructions to your customers on how to recycle, reuse, return, compost, or plant your packaging. This could be done by putting a note on your parcel, or to make it more eco-friendly, you can email them or include it with your shipping notification. You can even print it!
Of course, also there is an option to rely on the good old automated packing. This is where the polite pick and place robots do the hard work for you.