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Eco-Friendly Packaging Tips for Online Sellers

Best Practices for Environmentally Friendly Packaging

Plenty of companies have been making changes that benefit the environment. Whether this is due to new regulations and penalties or because they want to do their part is a whole other question. What we do know is that consumers care about their carbon footprint a lot.

As consumers become more aware of their own role in protecting the environment, packaging used by retailers can become a concern. If you’re considering switching to environmentally friendly packaging because of this, below are some reasons to do it and suggestions to help you make the transition smoother. From using packaging mockups to show off your new look to suggestions on what materials to use, this post is full of tips to help your brand make a huge difference.

Why You Should Make the Switch to Environmentally Friendly Packaging

As we mentioned above, there are many reasons why companies are opting for more eco-friendly packaging and mailers. Customers play a huge role in this, but so do new penalties and regulations against companies who choose to continue contributing to the pollution problem. There are also plenty of companies who genuinely care about their carbon footprint, which can impress environmentally conscious customers as well. Below are four great reasons why you should consider making small but impactful changes in your brand.

1. Your Brand’s Reputation

Do you sell environmentally friendly products or designs? Then your packaging should align with that. It doesn’t make sense to push an ideology with your products and designs only to fall short on things like your packaging and manufacturing.

Instead of getting burned by consumers, impress them with packaging that makes sense for your brand and fits completely with your brand’s values. This will help you develop a great brand reputation while turning you into an example for other brands to follow.

2. Pique Consumer Interest

The environment and reducing your carbon footprint have been hot topic issues for a while now. There are plenty of businesses that are doing their part to protect the environment and they aren’t shy about sharing their initiatives. Join these businesses by doing some research and making changes to areas of your business that aren’t eco-friendly.

Not only will this be good for the environment, but it can also be good for business. This may not sound like the best way to look at it, but it’s a win for both your business and the planet. Looking for ways to reduce waste in your production and packaging of goods, making the switch to recyclable materials, and using renewable energy are just some of the changes you can make in your business. Consumers may be more likely to purchase from you versus other sellers with similar products because of your commitment to make a positive difference.

3. Cost Effective Strategy

It may sound like switching to eco-friendly packaging options will cost more, but this isn’t always the case. In some cases, you may find that you’re actually saving money by using materials that are easier to recycle or that have already been recycled.

If eco-friendly packaging options do end up being more pricey than your current favorites, keep in mind that consumers are more environmentally conscious and are often willing to pay a little more for something they know is more eco-friendly. A small price adjustment with a justification won’t be a big deal if you do find yourself spending a bit more.

4. Show You Care

Many consumers aren’t shy about voicing their concerns and they may start to request more environmentally friendly options when it comes to packaging and even production. If you’ve already gotten messages asking about your packaging, materials, and production, switching to recyclable packaging is a great way to show consumers you hear them and that you care about their concerns. Don’t make it all about their concerns either; a genuine interest in protecting the planet will be authentic and promising.

6 Best Practices to Follow with Your Eco-Friendly Packaging

As you start contemplating how to make the change to more eco-friendly packaging the best way, there are some best practices to consider. It may all seem pretty straightforward, but you may come across some questions and concerns along the way. To help you be a bit more prepared before diving in head first, check out these tips!

1. Reduce the Amount of Packaging Materials You Use

If you sell items of different sizes, it doesn’t make sense to package all of them in the same size box or mailer. Look for smaller options that make sense for your smaller items or even smaller packaging if your current options are much larger than your items. This will help you drastically reduce the amount of waste you’re creating with those large boxes, bubble wrap, and stuffing needed for every package.

If your boxes have branding elements on them, you don’t have to lose this completely. Simply adapt these elements to your new packaging, just make sure it fits the different size options you now have available. 

A great example of this is Amazon. They started getting tons of complaints because of the huge boxes they used and that some of their sellers used to mail tiny items. This led to tons of waste being produced as a result of the plastic bubble stuffing that had to be used in these boxes. Amazon listened to their customers and changed their mailers and has even made new regulations that penalize sellers who use excessive packaging.

2. Use Sustainable Materials

You may have the size of your packaging down perfectly, but what are your mailers and boxes made of? Many sellers think that their options are all eco-friendly and recyclable, but upon further review they realize that the plastic included in these makes them impossible to recycle.

Look into what you’re currently using and then research some environmentally friendly alternatives that can work just as well. For example, if you currently use bubble wrap lined mailers or bubble wrap in your boxes, this will just go to a landfill. In some cases, the bubble wrap isn’t even necessary and can be replaced with newspaper or kraft paper. If bubble wrap is a must because your items are fragile, then biodegradable bubble wrap and other similar alternatives are great options.

PRO TIP: If you don’t know where to look for options, check out forums like reddits r/Zerowaste and ask about other people’s experiences or suggestions. They’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

3. Stick with Durable and Reusable Packaging Options

Packaging that can be repurposed, recycled, or reused is a great option for a few reasons. Sturdy boxes that can be reused to store other items are a win for customers because they get more than just the item they purchased. If the box is also made of recyclable material, then it can be recycled once it’s reached the end of its life.

Using burlap bags to wrap items instead of tissue paper is also a great option. These burlap bags can then be used in place of grocery bags or in other instances when plastic bags would be needed.

If your business is more oriented towards food, offering reusable packaging for customers can even help turn them into loyal customers. For example, selling reusable cups that customers can get their to-go coffee orders in at a discounted price can turn these customers into more loyal patrons. Similarly, offering customers who are staying in your shop their coffee in ceramic mugs at a discounted price can make the experience more cozy while also helping reduce waste.

Many sellers are also developing packaging that can be composted, planted, or be made into another item. Since consumers love getting a little something extra, packaging that can be repurposed is a great surprise. It’s even better if it’s useful in their everyday life or helps them feel like they’re making a difference.

4. Select a Packaging Company Wisely

The materials you use when packaging your items are important, but there’s more to it than that. It’s also important to do some research on your packaging suppliers. Are they working on reducing the waste they create? Are they doing something to offset their environmental impact?

Do your best to work with packaging suppliers who are also environmentally friendly or actively working towards becoming more sustainable. This doesn’t just mean they produce eco-friendly and recyclable packaging, but also that their manufacturing processes are sustainable.

This doesn’t end at just your packaging either. It’s important that the materials you use for your products and that your manufacturing processes are also eco-friendly and that they fit with your brand’s values.

5. Consider Your Ink Usage

Believe it or not, ink can be the most costly and wasteful part of your packaging. There are alternatives, but there isn’t a clear solution to the ink issue just yet. For now, good alternatives include water soluble and biodegradable inks, like soy ink.

One of the best things you can do to reduce the issues caused by ink is reduce your use of it and only use ink when it’s really needed. Ink that can be de-inked easily will also be better for recycling because it’s easier to remove from otherwise perfectly recyclable packaging. It’s also best to stick to digital printing over offset printing since it uses less ink and and fewer supplies.

If you’re trying to reduce your use of ink, this is a great opportunity to update your branding and make more environmentally friendly changes to your brand image. If you do decide to create a more sustainable brand and update your aesthetic, use packaging mockups to show off your new look. With Placeit, your can find all sorts of mockups, from food packaging to packaging for household products. If you don’t find what you need, let us know so we can include it in our library!

6. Include Recycling Instructions

The fact of the matter is that even if your packaging is recyclable, it doesn’t mean everyone will recycle it. Sometimes people are overwhelmed by all the different materials in a package and aren’t sure if it’s all recyclable. Instead of trying to figure it out, they just toss it all in the trash and problem solved.

In these cases, a simple insert can be included in your package with more specific recycling information. Make it as easy as possible for people to dispose of your different packaging materials properly so that they actually follow through and do it.

If your packaging can be planted, composted, reused, or if it needs to be dropped off at a specific type of recycling center, let your customers know all of this in your insert. It goes without saying, but your insert should also be recyclable.

Enjoy the Benefits of Switching to Environmentally Friendly Packaging

Make your brand more enticing by taking steps towards becoming more environmentally friendly. These tips are just a start. There are many other ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and make a real change in your business and in the world. Let us know what some of your favorite eco-friendly alternatives are in the comment below!


Let Your Customers Know About Your Eco-Friendly Packaging

Now more than ever, customers are more aware of their carbon footprint. When they order things online, the packaging a seller uses can play an important role in their decision to purchase an item. If you’re making the switch to more environmentally friendly mailers, let them know! You can use packaging mockups on your website to showcase this change and really impress your customers.

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