Plastic as a material is all around us, from packaging you find in the supermarket aisles to the wrapping of your most recent online purchase.
There’s no doubt that plastic is useful – in terms of hygiene, easy-distribution or minimizing food-waste, it can do it all. But as we all now know, this pesky material is destined to outlive us all by several millennia and is a serious threat to the health of our planet.
Increasing consumer awareness surrounding the devastating environmental effects of plastic and packaging waste is forcing businesses to reconsider how products are packaged.
You’ll hear the words “recyclable” and “compostable” come up in daily conversation now, as the shift towards going green is well and truly underway. But just how much of a big deal is it?
The impact of packaging waste on the environment
Man-made materials like plastic are durable and inexpensive, but they come at a huge price, and that price is the precious ecosystem of our Earth.
First off, let’s state the obvious: plastics are not biodegradable. This means that almost every piece of plastic that has ever been made is still hanging around somewhere on this planet.
But as bad as plastic is, it’s not the only offender – tin, glass and plastic-coated paper products can take hundreds of years to decompose, too. Whether it’s put in landfills or just dumped into the environment, packaging waste is filling up our land and oceans at an alarming rate.
With only 18% of plastics being recycled and more and more waste ending up in our water, research predicts that by 2050, the mass of plastic in our oceans will exceed the mass of fish.
In the last two decades we have doubled our worldwide production of single-use materials, showing the need to make changes now to set ourselves up for the future.
One estimate predicts plastic production will see a four-fold increase by 2050. In other words, this packaging cycle is a big problem that's predicted to get worse.
So, you may be asking, is there anything you can do as a small business to help? Absolutely! It’s time to get stuck into sustainable packaging.
Why sustainable packaging is good for business
Clearly, packaging waste is a big environmental problem. But there’s good news: businesses and consumers alike are starting to take action.
The recent ban on plastic bags in shops across Europe and other countries in the world was a huge cause for celebration. Zero-waste shops are emerging proudly and with great popularity. Money off at the coffee shop when you bring your own KeepCup is a total win for the environment and your wallet each morning.
These developments are all proof that the world is taking notice, and we want things to change.
Consumers like to vote with their dollars with businesses that are creating good in the world, so giving them an easy way to choose more sustainable packaging will drive customer loyalty.
Research has shown that over two-thirds of consumers take sustainability into consideration to such an extent that they are willing to pay more to support brands and businesses who reflect their own eco-awareness. This is even more popular with the up-and-coming Generation Z.
By matching your business values to this rising economic force and starting your sustainability journey now, you could establish your business as an eco-front-runner and reap the long term benefits.
So, how do you take the first step towards sustainability in your business?
How you can make a difference
First, reduce the amount of material that is used in your packaging.
Identify areas to eliminate or reduce plastic in your supply chains. Do you really need that extra layer of bubble wrap? Or a smaller box inside a bigger one? Less packaging material saves waste, and it can also save you money.
Next, think about what your packaging is made from.
Can it be recycled, composted or re-used? Compostable and recyclable materials break down within roughly a year, which is a far more preferable option for consumers than plastic that hangs around forever. Here at noissue, we have a range of bio-degradable packaging solutions, from our awesome compostable mailers to tissue paper and stamps that use soy-based ink.
If uprooting your entire packaging system seems like too much, just start with one aspect that can lead to a gradual change. Check out our blog dedicated to eliminating plastic from your packaging for ideas on how to produce beautiful, biodegradable boxes!
Make sure you educate your customers.
You may have spent time and effort finding the best sustainable packaging for your business, but your customers could wind up left in the dark unless you let them know exactly what you’re doing. Shout it proudly from the rooftops, like our compostable mailers do!
Championing your use of sustainable packaging will make your customers feel great about their purchase, as opposed to receiving a package full of wasteful material.
Join noissue’s Eco Packaging Alliance and shine a light on your eco-efforts.
For every order you make, we plant trees for you in areas of need. So far, over 12,000 have been planted across the world! Promote this good deed you’re part of by putting a cute badge on your blog or website.
Let your customers know exactly what they can do with the packaging they receive.
It’s not just your eco-message you need to be clear about – you also need to include specific instructions on what to do with the packaging. This includes if it belongs in the recycling bin, in the compost or can be re-used in a different way. This will eliminate any uncertainty and ensure their experience is one of excitement and not frustration.
All in all, being sustainable doesn’t mean putting a hole in your pocket.
Alongside all the benefits that come with improved relationships and loyalty with your customers, your business can also increase efficiency and reduce costs when boosting the life-cycle of products and packaging.
There are many simple ways to easily incorporate eco-conscious packaging into your business and current packaging process that are affordable. As a first step, you could start by swapping out regular tape for our plastic-free tape that won’t compromise the recyclability of your packaging.
Our plastic-free packaging tape and compostable paper stickers are a non-toxic, biodegradable wrapping option. They're totally customizable, totally sustainable and one step closer to saving the planet.
With the focus on environmental factors on the rise, it’s critically important that businesses adopt sustainable strategies to minimize their waste.
Luckily, there’s a massive range of cost-effective and unique solutions to keep your packaging green.
By reducing your carbon footprint, not only will you be keeping one foot ahead of the trend – you will also leave a positive mark on this wonderful world we call home.
For more sustainability advice, check out our blog.