How To Make Your Packaging As ECO Friendly As Your Products

Derrick Lin


Written by Joe Hickman. Packaging Specialist of Charlotte Packaging.

Times are changing and more and more people are realising that we need to start looking after the environment. This change has brought with it a wave of new companies who deliver a wide range of ECO friendly products, covering everything from socks to computers.

Despite this however, many companies still deliver these environmentally friendly products in traditional packaging. While it may not completely defeat the point, it does take away slightly from being eco-conscious. So what can you do to make your packaging more ECO friendly?

Simple Ramen designed by Ahhaproject

Don’t Package It
Asking whether your product really needs to be individually packaged can not only cut down on your carbon footprint, but is a clever way to minimise your costs. Some companies wrap every little thing in plastic covering and use Styrofoam in every little nook and cranny. Often this is completely unnecessary, adding to both your costs and waste.

There are three different types of packaging, so why not see if you can cut down packaging in any of these stages:

Primary – the packaging that the customer sees. Typically if you are using packaging then it serves a purpose and needs to stay, can it be minimised in any way? If not can you use recyclable materials?
Secondary – these are cases or boxes used to contain the primary products in the distribution or bulk sale stages. Can you get away without this type of packaging? If it is boxed do you need plastic wrapping on it as well?
Tertiary – this is the packaging used for bulk transport, typically pallets and plastic wrapping. Can you use reusable or recyclable packaging at this stage?

Put Your Packaging on a Diet
Take a look at your existing packaging. Is it big and bulky or has it been tailor made to perfectly fit your product? If you aren’t able to completely cut out your packaging then chances are you may still be able to minimise the amount of packaging you use. By cutting down on extra packaging and ensuring that you’re only using necessary packaging, you can save costs while providing an eco-friendly packaging solution to match your product.

Green Depot Eco-Friendly Light Bulb by Hyunseo Yoo

Use Recyclable Materials
It isn’t always possible to completely get rid of packaging, but it is feasible to use recyclable materials in their place. Replace plastic with cardboard or paper wherever possible. This is a more renewable source and doesn’t have such damaging effects on the environment. It is also possible to use organic items for certain packaging solutions, for example textiles made from organic and responsibly sourced materials can be a good alternative to plastic bagging.

Sustainable Origami Food Box by Michealle Lee

Packaging with Alternative Uses
Why not try to use packaging solutions that can be repurposed after their intended use? This can drastically cut down on landfill waste and even give your products an additional appeal. While it is possible to reuse normal plastic carrier bags, increasing the longevity, quality or practicality of your packaging can make a huge difference when it comes to going green.

Tetra Pak Bio-based caps

Investing in Biodegradable Packaging
You don’t have to change everything in order to make a substantial difference. In fact, by just investing in biodegradable packaging you can help to dramatically reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Unlike traditional packaging solutions, biodegradable packaging can break down into CO2 and H2O in just 45 days rather than spending decades slowly decomposing.

One of the biggest benefits of doing this is that you don’t actually need to change the way in which you’re currently using packaging. All that you need to do is substitute traditional plastic packaging with polylacticacid film or natureflex film, which are made from renewable sources and are completely biodegradable.

About the author
Joe Hickman is the Packaging Specialist of Charlotte Packaging. Charlotte Packaging is a family run business with over 40 years of experience in the packaging industry. They are specialists in providing custom printed plastic and paper packaging to both local and international companies.