Choosing the right packaging design is an important consideration for any business. Packaging makes transportation easier, keeps goods safe in transit, and is an extension of your brand identity.

But today's brands also have another consideration: The sustainability of their packaging.

But what exactly is eco-friendly retail packaging, and why is it worth investing in?

We're going to answer both of these questions in today's blog.

What is eco-friendly retail packaging?

While there is no universal definition for eco-friendly packaging, there are several key principles that packaging designs must meet to be considered sustainable. This includes:

  • Safe for both consumers and the environment throughout its lifecycle.
  • Reduces emissions as much as possible during manufacturing/transportation.
  • Maximizes the use of renewable and/or recycled materials.
  • Meets cost/performance requirements.
  • Is part of a closed loop e.g. reusable packaging or biodegradable packaging.

Why should brands invest in eco-friendly packaging?

It makes a ton of business sense to invest in sustainable and circular packaging. Here are the top reasons to consider it.

1. Consumers gravitate towards sustainable brands

Attitudes towards sustainability differ between age groups. Yet The Global Sustainability Study 2021 found that 85% of consumers globally have adjusted their purchasing habits to become more sustainable in the past five years. Moreover, 60% of consumers now rate sustainability as the most important factor when choosing products and brands.

So more consumers than ever want to support eco-friendly brands. But how does this relate to packaging?

Packaging isn't just a container to get your products from A to B; it's an extension of your brand's story.

In 2022, the majority of a brand's marketing efforts will take place online. Yet numerous studies have proven that consumers have better recall of offline marketing strategies such as print ads than online ads.

Likewise, retail and food packaging is a tactile, interactive piece of collateral. This has made packaging designs a key flashpoint in discussions about sustainability and carbon footprints.

noissue Recycled Mailer by @indikonstories

Indikon Stories highlights their use of noissue recycled mailer bags (and how to use them) on their Instagram feed.

According to a study by McKinsey, 55% of U.S. respondents say they're “extremely” or “very” concerned about the environmental impact of packaging, while 60-70% said they're willing to pay more for sustainable packaging designs.

By investing in sustainable packaging solutions, retailers stand to gain a slice of this rapidly growing market segment.

2. Being eco-friendly helps the environment

It shouldn't need to be said in 2022, but ditching single-use plastic bags and other materials destined for the landfill is simply the right thing to do.

Documentaries by the likes of David Attenborough have drawn attention to issues like plastic pollution and the lack of packaging materials being recycled. The stats make for some grim reading:

But there is an upside. Today, there are plenty of sustainable packaging options out there for brands who are willing to take the initiative.

Advances in areas like compostable packaging and biodegradable packaging have made it easier than ever for retailers to green up their supply chain.

noissue Custom Kraft Mailer by @joannehawker

Joanne Hawker uses FSC-approved kraft mailers by noissue to send orders to her customers. The ecommerce equivalent to the paper shopping bag, paper packaging is easily recyclable and channels a more high-end feel. Best of all, these mailers offer a double adhesive for reuse by the customer!

3. Improves the lives and wellbeing of your customers

Competitive advantages aside, sustainable packaging also helps to safeguard your customers against toxic chemicals.

BPA, a synthesized compound found in many types of recyclable packaging including plastic water bottles, has some concerning side effects. As well as containing known carcinogens, BPA is also home to endocrine disrupters that can cause damage to cells.

In sum, you're doing your customers a massive favor by choosing eco-friendly, plastic-free packaging.

However, it pays to do your research. Paper packaging may seem like the healthiest option, but the devil is in the details. Many paper products aren't produced in ways that are socially or environmentally sustainable or may use petroleum-based inks that are non-recyclable.

noissue Custom, Compostable Tissue Paper by @kasvei

noissue tissue paper is 100% acid-free and FSC-certified as well as using 100% soy-based inks, which are eco-friendly and produce much more vibrant colors than petroleum-based inks!

4. Eco-friendly packaging can elevate your brand identity

There's a common stereotype that eco-friendly packaging is plain and boring. But it doesn't have to be!

While many sustainable products and brands opt for minimalist designs, businesses no longer have to sacrifice their brand identity in the name of going green.

The rise of new manufacturing processes in the packaging industry has made it possible for brands to design their very own eco-friendly custom packaging to delight customers upon delivery.

Best of all, branded packaging is no longer limited to shipping boxes, which can be expensive due to the amount of ink required.

noissue Custom, Compostable Tissue Paper and Sticker by @_spaghettimemeatballs_

Greeting card company Spaghetti & Meatballs shows that creating an eco-friendly unboxing experience doesn't have to cost the earth (or your wallet!) Their noissue custom tissue paper and stickers combo create a fun and engaging post-purchase experience for their customers.

5. Eco-friendly packaging can be more cost-effective

Cost is the main reason why businesses are put off from investing in green packaging. According to Raconteur, 43% of businesses cite “expense” as one of the biggest obstacles to adopting sustainable packaging designs.

Because plastic packaging — bubble wrap, poly mailers, and envelopes — is produced on an industrial scale, it can be purchased at a much cheaper price per unit than eco-friendly packaging can.

However, this doesn't consider how non-sustainable packaging designs can cost your business far more than they should.

“Overpackaging”, where more packaging is used than needed to protect a product, is a massive issue within ecommerce. This stems from brands using the wrong type of packaging for their products.

For example, if your cardboard boxes are too big for the items you're shipping, this requires a so-called “Russian doll solution” of boxes within boxes. Your business can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per year simply by using smaller containers.

If you're streamlining your packaging blueprint, why not explore eco-friendly ways of packaging products?

noissue Compostable Mailer by @mooseymooseofficial

noissue's Compostable Mailers are 100% renewable and made of bio-based raw materials including cornstarch and wheat straw, making them ideal for sending small, lightweight items to your customers.

Final words

There are no real downsides to using eco-friendly retail packaging at your business! Sustainable packaging is increasingly becoming the table stakes for effective online selling, especially as consumers grow more conscious about their carbon footprints.

Invest in eco-friendly packaging today for happier customers — and a happier planet. 🌎

Ready to get started with eco-friendly retail packaging? Check out noissue's range of sustainable packaging options today.