The Three R’s of Sustainable Packaging

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Packaging is one of those processes which have traditionally been considered non-sustainable, mostly due to the use of non-degradable components for packaging purposes. However, with time and the global environmental issues becoming a cause of concern, manufactures all across the globe are moving from plastic packaging to more eco-friendly degradable form of packaging. A term known as “sustainable packaging” or “green packaging.”

How to Ensure Sustainable Packaging

Sustainability has always been built on the three pillars or the three R’s namely, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”

Reduce

Contract packagers and packaging designers should ensure that the unnecessarily big packets are not made for even the smaller products. Reduction of the use of paper and plastic can cause a big impact if the bigger picture is taken into mind.

Reuse

The design and sourcing of packaging components must be carried out using material that can be reused in the course of time. Avoiding non-degradable, plastic packaging is the first step towards reusing existing packaging resources.

Recycle

Much of earth’s resources are non-renewable and thus wasting them puts a lot of strain on the already fragile ecosystem. Recycling the available resources, and thus putting them to use again, is the best move forward.

The Biggest Hurdle for Sustainable Packaging

Although sustainable packaging and use of alternate degradable sources for packaging purpose has seen around 20% growth in the last 5 years, it still encompasses a very small portion of all components produced when the overall packaging in the world is concerned. Amazingly, less than 5% of companies choose sustainable options. The biggest reason of is everyone’s unwillingness to pay extra for sustainable packaging.

But there are other reasons as well. For example, shelf life of product is often diminished with the use of sustainable films. Also, many people feel that the look and feel of sustainable packaging materials is inferior to
standard packaging.

However, with time, people’s mindset towards sustainable packaging is bound to change and the current stats are pointing in the right direction. As more sustainable materials become available, packaging companies, designers and suppliers may need to encourage customers to buy more eco-friendly materials. But until it is perfected, the one thing that must be ensured is that the primary function of packaging: to protect and preserve the contents of the product, is not forgotten.

What are your thoughts? Do you use sustainable packaging in your packages? If so, why? If no, why not?

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