The popularity of eco-friendly packaging is certainly on the rise. Nearly 75 per cent of consumers surveyed in a recent study said that they would be willing to pay slightly more for such alternatives. Many brands have decided to take an eco-friendlier approach when designing the packaging of their product.
What are some of the benefits of using these materials? Are there any unique advantages offered by ecologically friendly packaging that is not offered by traditional methods? Let us look at seven reasons why switching to this alternative is an excellent idea.
1. Health and Safety
Whether storing items within a warehouse or offering products to outdoor enthusiasts, safety is always a real concern. Traditional forms of packaging contain many chemicals and some of these can be quite harmful. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a prime example. Thankfully, eco-friendly packaging methods do not produce any toxins or similarly dangerous substances.
2. Offering a Lower Carbon Footprint
Were you aware that a single plastic bag can produce up to 33 grams of carbon dioxide? This is rather troubling when we consider the number of plastic bags which are simply discarded daily. Thankfully, eco-friendly packaging can virtually eliminate this carbon footprint.
The main takeaway point here is that carbon dioxide released into the environment is a major contributor to global warming. As climate change continues to exhibit its effects around the world, it only stands to reason those eco-friendly solutions represent the way forward.
3. A Superior Form of Branding
Many consumers are learning to embrace a more environmentally conscious attitude. This is more relevant when discussing the burgeoning millennial marketplace. Businesses that choose to adopt a greener approach are therefore more likely to create a positive and memorable brand identity.
Consumers are therefore much more likely to be interested in what the company in question has to offer. Additionally, this approach will often help to increase brand loyalty; ensuring that repeat purchases are made in the future.
4. The Presence of Biodegradable Substances
From eco-friendly flooring solutions to zero-waste kitchens, sustainable solutions are as varied as they are effective. The same holds for packaging alternatives. This involves the notion of biodegradability.
Biodegradable substances can be reabsorbed into the natural environment without causing disruptions to nearby ecosystems. Unfortunately, traditional materials such as plastic and polyurethane can cause massive harm to nature. Some chemical compounds may even require tens of thousands of years to fully break down.
On the contrary, eco-friendly packaging is entirely biodegradable. There are even times when the associated waste products can be used as compost for your garden.
5. Surprising Levels of Versatility
One of the reasons why past consumers were wary about eco-friendly packaging involved the misconception that they were only designed for a handful of purposes. The good news is that technology has now done away with this myth. There are hundreds of roles that eco-friendly packaging can employ within a home or business environment. Some examples include:
- Food products
- Packaging designed for transportation and shipping
- Storage vessels
- Textiles used to bind together items (such as hemp)
As the packages themselves can often be repurposed after use, the recycling process is vastly simplified. Not only does this once again lower the carbon footprint of a business, but it can save a substantial amount of money.
6. Catering to a Wider Audience
Competition is rife throughout the business community. Therefore, creating products and services which stand out from the rest is critical for long-term success. The use of eco-friendly packaging is, therefore, an excellent strategy to consider.
The global demand for green products is steadily increasing as consumers become aware of the astounding benefits. Therefore, businesses can now target a wider demographic as opposed to remaining stagnant within a niche market. Word of mouth may also cause more potential clients to become engaged with what a company has to offer if they know that it cares about the environment.
7. Helping to Eliminate Plastic from the Environment
One of the most compelling arguments for eco-friendly packaging solutions involves the devastating effects that plastics can have on the environment. Studies have found that plastics eventually find their way into the oceans of the world; causing irreparable damage to many marine species. Some of these species may eventually enter back into the human food chain.
Also, the production of plastic requires fossil fuels. This further exacerbates the overall carbon footprint and once again, causes greenhouse gases to be released into the environment. Eco-friendly alternatives are not associated with any of these downfalls.
The Environmentally Logical Solution
The seven observations above clearly demonstrate why eco-friendly packaging represents the wave of the future. Not only are individuals beginning to understand the associated benefits, but businesses have also come to appreciate how they can leverage the power of green packaging solutions.
Whether used for convenience, health or simply to save money, there is no doubt that alternative forms of environmentally friendly packaging are here to stay. Let us only hope that these options provide us with a bright future.
Paula O Gorman is the design and marketing manager at Promotive. Promotive are a design and marketing agency based in Ireland. Paula has helped many clients designing eco-friendly packaging for their brands.