Sustainable Packaging Ideas: From Outer To Inner Packaging - Read Here!

June 2, 2022
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Eco-friendly Packaging

Do you want to make your packaging sustainable?

Sustainable Packaging Ideas

Are you looking for ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint?

Or maybe you want to save money?

In this post, we're going to share with you environmentally-friendly packaging.

These will help you reduce your environmental impact. Maybe even cut down on your packaging costs!

Why Sustainability Matters

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with messages telling us to consume as much as possible. 

This message has become so pervasive that many people believe it's true.

In reality, our planet cannot sustain unlimited consumption. It's not sustainable.

And if we continue down this path, we will destroy ourselves.

The world is changing fast, and we need to change along with it.

We're seeing more and more companies making decisions that help protect the planet and its inhabitants.

When you use eco-friendly packaging, you reduce waste and save money. 

Not only that, but you also benefit from the goodwill that comes from being environmentally conscious.

People who buy eco-friendly products feel better about themselves and their purchases. They may even tell others about their purchase, helping spread awareness about sustainability.

And finally, when you sell eco-products, you get to be a part of the solution. You're helping to create a cleaner, healthier planet. 

What Makes A Product Sustainable?

Sustainability means different things to different people.

To some, sustainability means reducing waste and pollution.

To others, it means making products that last longer and don't break down easily.

And to others, it means creating products that are safe for consumers and the environment.

The truth is, there isn't one definition of sustainability. But there are many definitions, and each definition has its own set of benefits.

So when you're looking at eco-friendly packaging, consider these three aspects of sustainability: 

  1. Sustainability is about protecting our planet.
  2. Sustainability is also about protecting human health.
  3. Sustainability is not only about protecting our planet and human health. It's also about protecting animal welfare and nature.

These three are the core values we need to think of.

They're ideally achieved by optimizing renewable and recycled resources. Done consistently throughout the process of sourcing materials, manufacturing, and transporting.

Then, recycling or reusing the materials again in a closed-loop cycle.

When you create eco-friendly packaging, you're helping protect us humans, our planet, and its inhabitants. 

Sustainable Packaging Ideas

Outer Packaging

The outer packaging of a product is the container that holds the product.

Outer packaging includes: 

  • shipping box
  • bags
  • mailers
  • labels
  • tapes
  • stickers 
  • and other shipping materials on the outside. 

Corrugated Cardboard Packaging/ Box

Cardboard is recyclable, biodegradable, reusable, and compostable. It's also made from natural, renewable, recycled, and sustainable materials.

Plus, it's lightweight, inexpensive and readily available.

So, when you're looking for ways to reduce waste, cardboard is a great place to start.

And since cardboard is so versatile, it's perfect for packaging anything and everything - from food products to electronics.

Cardboards are so versatile and efficient. Even brands that don't give emphasis on packaging or corporate sustainability use cardboard boxes or other forms of cardboard in their business.

Corrugated cardboard can also be heavy-duty packaging. 

Plantable Packaging/ Boxes

Plantable packaging is packaging made from plants rather than petroleum-based materials.

Plant-based packaging is biodegradable, recyclable, and compostable.

It's plantable because it contains seeds - as in the seeds are embedded in the packaging.

So when you plant the packaging, its materials decompose and help the seed grow.

Plantable packaging is extraordinary. The environmental footprint of consumer products ends then and there when you plant them.

In fact, that doesn't only reduce negative impacts. Planting also provides benefits to the environment. It provides more plants and trees that draw CO² from the atmosphere. 

Compostable Containers, Boxes And Mailers

Compostable packaging is another great sustainable packaging solution.

It also doesn't only reduce negative impacts. It also provides benefits to the environment.

Compostable packaging is made from materials that break down easily. They break down quickly when exposed to heat and moisture.

This means they don't need to be disposed of in landfills, where they take hundreds of years to decompose.

Instead, you can bury them in your garden and give your plants and the Earth some nutrients.

There are several types of compostable packaging. Paperboard, biodegradable plastics, and plant fibres are some of the most common compostable packagings.

There are different ways to incorporate the seed in your packaging.

You can also use compostable packaging for that.

One is, as mentioned before, where the seeds are already with the packaging.

Another is where the seed is in a separate packet that you plant in compostable packaging.

A great example is Rhoeco's eco-friendly tea packaging. They designed a reusable and compostable smart packaging.

It comes with a seed stick that you can plant when you've finished the tea inside. Basically, the tea packaging converts into a starter plant pot.

There are also 100% compostable mailers available in the market. 

Biodegradable Paper Tape

Tape is an essential part of the packaging.

It seals the packaging to keep it safe until it's time for the recipient to enjoy the item.

But most tapes are made of some type of plastic.

Your biodegradable packaging and eco-friendly and sustainable practices won't be complete if you're using conventional tape made of plastic. That will still create packaging waste and plastic waste.

Although it's thin and you may not feel its presence as much as the box, we use a lot of tape in the packaging.

Sustainable Packaging Ideas: From Outer To Inner Packaging

So, it makes sense that we also make the tape we use eco-friendly.

The most common eco-friendly tape available these days are water-activated paper tape.

Besides, these tapes aren't only eco-friendly; they're design-friendly and are customizable.

So, they are an excellent addition to your custom packaging strategy. 

Eco-friendly Stickers 

Similar to tape, stickers are also commonly used to seal and decorate the package.

They're also mostly made of plastic and printed with petroleum-based inks.

But now, stickers made of acid-free paper and soy-based inks are available in the market.

They're a great addition to your eco-friendly branding.

They're customizable. So, you can use them to add decoration and personalization to your packaging - responsibly! 

Inner Packaging

Inner packaging pertains to the materials immediately surrounding the product.

Their main purpose is to keep the product safe inside the outer packaging.

Inner packaging includes:

  • package fillers
  • wraps
  • tapes
  • stickers
  • and any cards or supports for the products. 

Using sustainable inner packaging also reduces the damage of excess and unnecessary packaging.

With sustainable materials, you can pack as much as you want. It won't mean more plastic in the landfills, just more materials for your client's compost heap or compost bins and more cost for you. 

Sustainable Inks

Ink is another part of the packaging often overlooked when making our packaging sustainable. And that would be a big mistake because the ink can potentially make something not compostable!

Why is ink not sustainable? Because the ink is actually made from petroleum.

Fortunately, inks made of soy or linseed oil and other vegetable-based ingredients are available now. 

Starch Packing Peanuts 

Starch packing peanuts are an eco-friendly alternative to the commonly used Styrofoam packing peanuts.

They are the eco-friendly version of packing peanuts.

They're made of plant-based materials such as corn starch and potato starch.

They are dissolvable; that's why they're also known as "dissolvable packing peanuts."

They are also biodegradable, compostable, and non-toxic. They're non-toxic and plant-based.

So, you can technically eat them. Your stomach will be fine - no guarantees for your taste buds, though, because they don't taste like peanuts. 

Mushroom Packaging

Mushroom packaging is another 100% biodegradable, compostable, and renewable packaging material option.

They are made of residues from farming and fungus roots.

Mushroom packaging is usually moulded to the shape of the item. That is to ensure a snug fit and superior protection, much like EVA foam packaging.

They're great addition to make your sustainable products and outer packaging fully eco-friendly. 

Paper Pulp Packaging

Paper pulp packaging works like mushroom packaging.

They're moulded to the shape of the item for utmost fit and safety.

They're made from recycled paper pulp and other natural fibres like wood pulp and bamboo pulp.

They are 100% recycled, compostable, and biodegradable.

These space-efficient fillers are also lightweight. 

Corrugated Bubble Wrap

Corrugated Bubble Wrap is a sustainable alternative to foam, bubble wrap, or other inflatable packaging.

Corrugated Bubble Wraps are made of recycled and upcycled cardboard.

This cardboard comes from post-industrial and post-consumer waste and can be recycled again.

The lightweight and malleable corrugation of the cardboard acts like air pockets in bubble wrap. They cushion your fragile items.

There are other innovative packaging fillers with the same concept of expanding paper. GreenWrap and Flexi-Hex Air Sleeve are also great eco-friendly packaging fillers. 

Crumpled Paper

Crumpled papers are also a great option for filling up spaces in packaging.

They're lightweight, cheap, and recyclable. They can also be biodegradable and compostable.

They come in many colours to match the aesthetics and packaging of the product.

You can use tissue paper, coloured paper, or any paper.

Paper can be more expensive than other materials, especially if you use a customized one. But, if you're willing to pay for quality, you'll get your money's worth! 

Crinkle Paper

Crinkle paper is made of very thin strips of paper.

You can buy an already shredded paper or make your own with sheets of paper and a shredder.

Crinkle paper is much lighter than crumpled paper. 

Kraft Paper

Kraft paper is durable and versatile, making it a great eco-friendly packaging option.

It's made from recycled materials and is biodegradable.

Some kraft paper is also food safe and makes great food packaging.

Its production process is also eco-friendly. Its iconic brown colour is a result of using fewer bleaching chemicals throughout the whole production (compared to other paper).

It's a strong paper, so it's great as a crumpled packaging filler. 

Final Words

These days, even being carbon neutral isn't enough; we should aim to be carbon negative.

Sustainable Packaging Ideas

That is why eco-friendly packaging design solutions are needed now more than ever.

Manufacturers and consumers alike should work together so that all aspects of packaging include the concept of sustainability. 

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