What is Sustainable Packaging?

Sustainable packaging has been around for some time now and more and more companies are moving to sustainable products and packaging because of the demand of today’s consumer. Being sustainable is no longer a ‘nice to have’ business practice, it’s quickly becoming the norm which is why 74% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging. But, what makes packaging sustainable and what’s so wrong with normal packaging?

Packaging that is sustainable must be sourced, developed and used in a way that has minimal impact on the environment and reduced carbon footprint. This will usually involve the use of non-recyclable materials, i.e., those that have increased use of life cycle inventory (LCI) as well as those that are biodegradable.

Why is there an environmental issue with some types of packaging?

Usually, most products are packaged using materials that take a long time to break down which can lead to overcrowded landfill sites and litter pollution. Packaging also uses a lot of resources such as energy, water, chemicals, petroleum, minerals etc to produce, and manufacturing these can generate harmful air emissions including carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Due to this, many consumers are aware of the damage that non-eco-friendly packaging can cause to the environment. Overpackaged items have also caused uproar amongst many buyers complaining that companies aren’t being precautious enough.

With customer demands for businesses to be kinder to the environment, businesses and consumers alike need to know which materials and packaging are most harmful.

Types of packaging that are the problem:

  • Non-recyclable plastic packaging
  • Styrofoam
  • Packaging peanuts
  • Loose food packaging

Sustainable Alternatives:

  • Biodegradable bags
  • Paper & Cardboard packaging
  • Reusable packaging

Does sustainable packaging really cost more?

When it comes to sustainable packaging, people usually question why more companies don’t use sustainable packaging methods? The answer: it’s more expensive. But with more consumers expecting eco-friendly packaging, is this likely to change and is the cost worth it?

Think about it, with more people buying into sustainable packaging methods, more companies are having to manufacture it, therefore sooner or later the market price will reduce due to the increased competition.

Plastic packaging is becoming more expensive thanks to new government regulations and the introduction of plastic packaging tax. This tax will apply to any plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% of recyclable plastic. The additional cost will hopefully be the much-needed push for companies to switch to more sustainable materials and practices.

The biggest cost of all; our environment.

Whilst sustainable products and packaging are at a slightly higher price point than the non-sustainable alternative, the cost for many is completely viable. With non-biodegradable packaging being a huge cause of overfilled landfill sites, and the production of greenhouse gases, that can ultimately affect global warming; the reasons why you should switch to sustainable packaging are endless.

At Ribble Packaging, we’re delighted to be a sustainability-led business, offering environmentally friendly packaging solutions throughout the UK. We work with many of the UK’s biggest companies helping them create a sustainable packaging process that works for their business. If you would like to learn more, please get in touch to find out how Ribble can help you.

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