Every time a customer makes a purchase, whether online or in-person, packaging is going to feature somewhere within the exchange of money and product – and that’s exactly the problem.
Packaging and consumption are two entities that are virtually impossible to separate from each other. As ecommerce sales continue to skyrocket, so does the amount of packaging thrown away, with disastrous consequences for the environment.
Between 1950 and 2015, only 9% of the world’s plastic has been recycled; the rest has ended up polluting our oceans and ecosystems, with plastic pollution now ranking as one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges.
But there is an alternative to avoid contributing to this problem; adopting sustainable packaging for your products.
Furthermore, the benefits of sustainable packaging don’t just extend to safeguarding the environment; it’s also a value-added investment that pays off across multiple areas of your business!
Here are four reasons why your business should adopt sustainable packaging in 2021:
There’s one very simple reason to make the switch to sustainable packaging; it’s what consumers want.
Due to a higher level of awareness about the negative implications of our shopping habits on the environment, consumers are making much more value-driven purchasing decisions than they have in the past – with greater numbers gravitating towards sustainably-packaged goods. According to McKinsey, 55% of consumers say that they are ‘extremely concerned’ about the environmental impact of product packaging.
Furthermore, trying to eliminate packaging waste is an easy, actionable way for consumers to make a difference at the level of their personal carbon footprints. By offering them this opportunity in exchange for supporting you, you’ve gained a powerful brand differentiator – especially if your products are stocked at multiple retailers.
Running an ecommerce operation involves a lot of moving parts – and that gives your operation plenty of scope to minimize its environmental impact.
Strategies such as energy-efficient lighting and promoting ‘paperless’ offices go a long way towards lowering your carbon footprint, but there’s another major tool at your disposal – reducing the amount of packaging waste that your business produces.
In 2021, it’s no longer acceptable to keep passing the buck to consumers when it comes to wasteful business practices. With consumers demanding that businesses take responsibility for inefficiencies within their own supply chains, non-reusable or non-biodegradable packaging is a major pain point for both you and your customers.
According to the EPA, packaging is responsible for a third of all household waste in the United States. By addressing this issue through your own sourcing of materials, you’re making a major contribution towards the nation achieving a greener, more circular economy.
If we take a look at brands that have gained iconic status in the minds of consumers, they all have one thing in common; their packaging designs are just as recognizable as the product itself.
Why? Because whether it’s Tiffany’s robin’s egg blue boxes or the seamless white cubes that house Apple devices, their packaging has become a cultural shorthand for the brand and its values – including sustainability.
As growing numbers of consumers demand sustainable practices from the ecommerce brands they support, packaging is one of the most accessible places for them to look for evidence of a green outlook. So, if your packaging design runs counter to your brand’s discussions about CSR (corporate social responsibility) this can seriously undermine trust in your brand.
On the flip side, using eco-friendly packaging materials can enhance your brand’s image and appeal amongst conscious consumers, as well as giving you another unique selling point over competitors!
There’s a widespread myth that sustainable packaging adds a significant burden to the order fulfillment process, which has dissuaded many businesses from taking a greener approach.
However, this perception is fundamentally flawed. While some sustainable packaging types may cost more per unit due to economies of scale, it overlooks how a design revamp can help identify where your packaging could be optimized to lower the cost of fulfilling and shipping orders.
For example, “over-packaging” due to using too-large boxes is a widespread problem within ecommerce. This forces merchants to use excess packaging filler or cut-outs to prevent items from getting damaged in transit. On top of using extra packaging unnecessarily, this also increases your dimensional weight – thus resulting in higher shipping rates.
In sum, investing in sustainable packaging helps you to identify issues with your current design in addition to eliminating non-renewable elements, therefore creating a much more cost-effective fulfillment strategy for your business.
PLG is a nationwide fulfillment provider that is taking a leading role in introducing effective sustainability strategies to the logistics and fulfillment sector. Our experienced staff are on-hand to connect your business with sustainable packaging suppliers that meet your cost and performance requirements, as well as integrating your chosen design directly into your order fulfillment process.