How sustainable is your Christmas packaging?

It’s that time of year again. The time that we do everything in excess, from food, to spending.

But does that mean you have to have an unsustainable Christmas?

As we all know, Christmas can be a time for spending time with loved ones and exchanging gifts, but with it is estimated that around 1 in 4 households will be generating up to 5 bags of rubbish this Christmas!

Much of children’s toys are packaged in plastic or oversized packaging which is bulky and often unnecessary for the size of the present inside. On top of that, there is wrapping paper which, often, you are unable to recycle, which then doubles the amount of waste.

Let’s not forget about the Christmas dinner. Single use plastics have come to the forefront of the sustainable packaging discussion, many of which occur as a result of food packaging.

How can you make your Christmas more sustainable?

It is everybody’s responsibility, to make small changes this Christmas in an effort to reduce the amount of waste created within the household. So, we have put together a few pointers that may help you make some more sustainable choices.

Recyclable wrapping paper

If you’re unsure about what wrapping paper can be recycled and what can’t, it’s important to check with your local recycling centre. Recycle Now have some great pointers on what you can do to ensure that your paper does actually get recycled if accepted at your local centre, including:

  • Making sure all sticky tape, bows and ribbons are removed before recycling
  • Only recycling simple wrapping paper that doesn’t have any glitter or foil as these cannot be recycled.

Present sacks

Another way to reduce the waste this Christmas is to purchase some present sacks & stockings. These can be brought back out every Christmas and eliminate the need to wrap your gifts or find recyclable wrapping paper.

Food & drinks using sustainable packaging

Many supermarkets are introducing refillable packaging services within their stores and this is likely to continue. Why not check out your local supermarket to see if there are any ingredients in your Christmas dinner that could be switched out for a more sustainably packaged option?

Ribble Right Size

At Ribble our aim is to introduce Right Size packaging to more and more manufacturers so that we can help reduce the overall waste when it comes to cardboard packaging.

 

Get in touch today to find out more about the benefits of Right Size.

Packaging in 2022 – The key solutions for the New Year

Since the beginning of the pandemic, retail has seen a significant shift to ecommerce shopping methods. With that brings increased need for additional packaging when transporting and shipping goods.

As a result, this will continue to increase the need for more sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

We have been exploring the key packaging solutions that we believe will become increasingly popular in the new year.

Packaging Automation

With COVID 19 continuing to be a threat across the globe, the automation of packaging will continue to be important for many manufacturers and distributors. This will reduce the amount of workers needed within one space and overall costs to the business too.

Not only that, automating your process will allow the business to increase their targets, which will continue to improve efficiency.

Ecommerce Packaging

The shift in consumer behaviour since the beginning of the pandemic is highly unlikely to ever return to pre-COVID levels. As a result, consumers will continue to expect a smooth and flawless experience – from browsing their purchase to placing their order and its delivery.

This means every detail, right down to the packaging must impress. Consumers are aware of the environmental issues facing the planet and with that they expect to see changes to the ways in which their goods are packaged and delivered to them. Reducing unnecessary and excess packaging is a crucial step in that process.

Reusable Packaging

Reusable packaging has become very popular in recent years and can be seen in more and more shapes and forms. Whether that is reusable plastic for cleaning products or paper bags that can also be used as wrapping paper.

When packaging isn’t necessarily reusable, it is important for consumers that it is made from recycled materials or can be recycled once used.

Ribble Right Size

At Ribble our Right Size Packaging solutions allows you to reduce excess packaging and create a sustainable alternative that reduces costs by creating custom packaging solutions to meet your needs. We use 100% recycled cardboard that is 100% recyclable, meaning it is the perfect sustainable solution.

The benefits for choosing Right Size can be seen in the reduced need for void fillers within your boxes due to the packaging being custom created for whatever you are distributing; you can improve your vehicle utilisation by up to 25% and the creation of a more environmentally sustainable packaging process.

Get in touch today to discuss how Right Size can improve your business packaging solutions.

Helping businesses to reduce waste and carbon emissions

“As terrifying as it is, climate change is setting us on a path of self-destruction.”

Ribble Packaging were delighted to have been able to take part in Insider’s Green Revolution. Discussing and highlighting the importance of sustainability within businesses in the North West and how we can play our part in meeting the challenges of the current climate crisis.

The article discussed how the record growth of ecommerce over the past year has put a huge strain on companies to meet demand, which has meant that we have seen shortages from raw materials to lorry drivers.

Our Managing Director, Stephen Rector, explained; “Boxes are often too large for their products and so they are filled with non-sustainable ‘void-fill’ materials like plastic or polystyrene. It is clearly a hugely wasteful and inefficient method of getting the product out.”

Ribble customers usually see a 30% saving on corrugated costs and recovery of warehouse space with the elimination of obsolete packaging storage.

Stephen went on to discuss the ways in which Right Size packaging solutions can; “Streamline the entire process and mitigates or ideally eliminates void-fill and wastage by making the packaging perfectly sized to fit the product”.

Right Size packaging automation has allowed business over the past year to not have to rely so heavily on manual labour in a time when the pandemic put a serious strain on the labour reliant aspect of supply chains. The introduction of automation has not only encouraged waste reduction, but it’s also allowed businesses to operate in a more efficient, controllable and reliable way.

If you would like more information on how Ribble Packaging could help your business become more environmentally friendly, please contact us today.

The packaging process that is over 99% plastic free

Internet Fusion Group, a leading lifestyle e-commerce retailer with brands such as Surfdome and Country Attire, have created a sustainable packaging process that is over 99% plastic free. Investments in two Quadient CVP-500 automated packaging machines and switching to Corrugated Fanfold material from Ribble Packaging, have aided with their pursuit of an environmentally sustainable right size packaging process.

To highlight the full extent of their achievements, Internet Fusion have released a report investigating the environmental effects of paper-based packaging versus plastic packaging products. The report explores the full manufacturing process of both paper and plastic packaging, through to the recyclability and long-term environmental effects once a package has reached its destination. Head of Sustainability at Internet Fusion Adam Hall said” Our customers are tired of plastic pollution, and we are tired of the justifications being put forward for continued plastic production in the middle of a marine plastic crisis. When you dig a little deeper these arguments simply don’t stack up, so we felt it was time to share the decision-making process that has led us to our packaging being over 99% plastic free. Our customers choose us because of our environmental efforts and in turn we choose Ribble for the same reasons – it’s partnerships such as these that can shift a whole industry towards a more sustainable future”.

Right Size packaging specialists Ribble Packaging supply Internet Fusion with over 75% of their packaging material in the form of Corrugated Fanfold board, a versatile fully recycled and recyclable cardboard product that feeds many of the leading automated packaging systems in the UK.

Stephen Rector, Managing Director of Ribble Packaging, commented on Internet Fusion’s success: “It is fantastic to see that Ribble products are helping our customers in creating more environmentally sustainable packaging processes. We also see the need to improve our in-house operations to make them more sustainable.”

Earlier this year, Ribble embarked on a project to make their operations carbon neutral. “We understand the need to focus on the effects our manufacturing process has on the environment, this has led to us embarking on a carbon neutral project that will see us embrace new sustainable technologies and practices. Our products allow customers to create a more sustainable packaging process, but we can enhance these benefits by offering a carbon neutral manufacturing process as well.”

6 Sustainable Packaging Designs To Inspire

The packaging manufacturing sector is an £11 billion industry and a significant contributor to the UK economy.

It is also an industry that is continually evolving, thanks, in part, to technological changes. Public pressure is playing a role too, however; a recent WWF report showed a third of British people are concerned about the levels of packaging used in the products they buy.

Thinking of the response to programmes like Blue Planet II and environmental activists like Greta Thunberg, it’s probably not surprising. It does, however, mean that it’s no longer enough for companies to say they care about the planet. They need to prove their commitment to the environment. Moreover, sustainable product packaging is one of the easiest and most noticeable ways of doing this.

What is sustainable product packaging?

According to the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, sustainable product packaging is packaging that has a limited environmental impact and reduces that impact over time. Examples of this include:

  • Packaging that uses 100% recycled materials or can be recycled.
  • Production processes that make the best use of resources or source materials locally to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Packaging that is part of a circular economy, extending its lifecycle and usability.
  • Limiting the amount of packaging used, e.g. by reducing void filler (or doing away with it entirely).
  • Swapping single-use plastics for reusable or recyclable products such as cardboard, paper, bio-plastics or other bio-based materials.

It is worth noting, however, that – while all of this packaging may be sustainable – it isn’t always.  Plant-based packaging, for example, has been known to come from halfway across the world, including the rainforests. It’s important, therefore, that companies drill down to where materials come from and how they are manufactured when developing sustainable product packaging – just because the packaging says it’s eco-friendly doesn’t mean it’s sustainable. 

Innovations in sustainable product packaging

One of the best things about the push for sustainable product packaging is the innovation we are seeing in packaging design. Across the industry, companies are coming up with new and exciting ways to package products that reduce their environmental impact.  So, because we know changing packaging can be daunting, we’ve put together six of our favourite new sustainable packaging designs to inspire you.

Fat Face bags as wrapping paper

Fat Face bags as wrapping paper, sustainable product packaging

High Street and online retailer Fat Face have been focusing on sustainability across the board in recent years. This includes not just the materials they use to make their clothes but the packaging those clothes come in. It has reduced its carbon footprint by 8% since 2018. In part, this was down to making the move to recycled plastic bags for its products and recycled paper bags for its online deliveries. 

This Christmas, by using recycled paper bags in its stores that doubled as wrapping paper, it helped its customers reduce their carbon footprint too. Customers could recycle the wrapping paper too, which isn’t always possible with other brands.  Not only is this a great idea, it means customers have increased awareness of how Fat Face are doing their bit, which should – in turn – increase brand loyalty.

It’s probably worth mentioning that Fat Face isn’t the only brand looking to make their shopping bags more useful.  H&M, for example, have bags that turn into coat hangers, as do the HangBag Project and Transforma. Meanwhile, companies like Triumph Plants produce biodegradable wrapping paper embedded with seeds to reduce waste and have a positive environmental impact.

Rejuvenated compostable packaging

Rejuvenated compostable packaging

It’s not just Triumph Plants that are looking at producing products that are less likely to end up in landfill.  Packaging that is biodegradable or compostable is growing in popularity. Rejuvenated is a UK-based company that sells nutritional supplements. They have recently announced they are moving to compostable packaging, starting with a skincare supplement drink before rolling it out to other products. They will package the supplement in a bio-pouch which customers can compost at home.  

In addition, Rejuvenate now offer customers the option to purchase a metal scoop for their products rather than a plastic one (which they’ll be phasing out by the end of the year).  

Compostable packaging seems to be ideal for food-based products; other companies that have made the switch in the last few years include Tea Pigs (who also have no plastic in their tea bags) and Snact snack bars. However, it’s worth noting that while all compostable products are biodegradable, not all biodegradable products are compostable. Companies that are looking to make the shift to either need to make sure their customers understand how to dispose of the packaging properly.

The 60 Bag

The 60 Bag

Biodegradable products seem to have a wider reach than compostable products and can be found in all types of sustainable product packaging, including the 60 Bag. The 60 Bag is a good example of sustainability through the use of materials that have a low carbon footprint and result in minimal environmental impact. The bag is made from flax fibre. The fibre comes from industrial waste and producing the bag takes very little energy as a result. 

The bag looks good and has the strength needed for multiple uses. And, when it’s no longer fit for purpose (which can take a while), customers can be confident it won’t end up rotting in landfill for a hundred years. This is because the bags naturally biodegrade in 60 days. 

Garçon Wines flat wine bottle

Garçon Wines flat wine bottle

Most people would probably say ’round’ when describing a wine bottle and a few may say wine doesn’t come in bottles but in boxes. Garçon Wines, however, want to change that with their new, sustainable, wine bottle design. 

Their wine bottles, which are made from recycled materials (and are 100% recyclable), are flat. And, while this might seem a strange choice, the result is not only pleasing to the eye but cost-effective too.  First, they are 87% lighter than a traditional wine bottle. Plus, they are 40% spatially smaller. This means they need less packaging materials, require less storage space and have a lower carbon footprint. And, because of their design, Garçon Wines estimate each bottle saves the supply chain at least 500g of CO2. 

Gumipod chewing gum boxes

Gumipod chewing gum boxes

Gumipod is another company looking to change how we see traditional packaging by focusing on such a small part of our lives – chewing gum. Much of the focus of sustainable product packaging in recent years has been on larger packages full of void filler or wrapped in too much single-use plastic. Sometimes, however, smaller products can be packed in very non-sustainable ways. 

Chewing gum is a perfect example of this.  Little of the packaging that chewing gum comes in is reusable or recyclable.  Gumipod wants to change this. Their innovative new product is designed to move consumers away from wasteful gum wrappers and help keep the streets free from dropped chewing gum.  The boxes are made from food-grade recyclable plastic and designed to hold 12 pieces of gum on one side and 24 pieces of ‘used’ gum on the other. Hopefully, gum manufacturers will jump on this sustainable product packaging bandwagon.

Accordion Packaging

Accordion Packaging

Not all sustainable product packaging, however, is new – some is just being rediscovered. Accordion packaging, for example, has been around for a few years but seems to be growing in popularity along with the trend for sustainable product packaging.  We’ve come across examples of it being used in clothing, chocolate, and beauty, and it seems to make perfect sense for those wanting to reduce the use of void fillers. 

The benefit of accordion packaging is that it really is a case of ‘one size fits all’ because containers can be made bigger or smaller depending on what is inside.  This is down to the fan-like folds that are used to create the packaging and can stretch as needed. Remember, though, as we mentioned before, the packaging is only as sustainable as the materials it is made from.  

While this design has the potential to be very eco-friendly and definitely ticks the box when it comes to reducing void filler, it still needs to be made from reusable or recyclable materials to be truly sustainable. 

Sustainable Packaging For Business Growth?

The packaging sector is constantly changing and evolving to meet consumer demand.  This has never been more the case than with sustainable product packaging. There are so many options out there for companies to change how they package and ship their goods that there is no excuse not to make the change. And, while the initial outlay may have a financial impact, in the long-term sustainable packaging is providing to not only be environmentally friendly but cost-effective for many businesses. Plus, it means something to their customers, which builds brand loyalty and will hopefully lead to continued business growth. 

Sustainable Packaging: The Must-Have Of 2020

Thanks to shows such as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet and activists like Greta Thunberg, the British public has become acutely aware of the damage plastic packaging is doing to our planet.

It’s no surprise, then, that according to a 2018 European Consumer Packaging Perception Survey, 90% of UK shoppers want easily recyclable packaging. 88% also want to know where their packaging comes from.

Unfortunately, plastic packaging isn’t easy to recycle. Businesses produce 80 million tonnes of plastic packaging every year; only 30% is recycled. The type of plastic is critical here.  For example, dark coloured plastic is harder to recycle. Recycling plants also reject food packaging that contains too much food waste. In response to public concern over plastic, last year the UK government set a goal of eliminating plastic waste by 2042. To reach this, much more plastic must be recycled.

With countries such as China turning away plastic for recycling, however, these targets may be hard to meet.  As a result, we need other solutions to meet environmental objectives and consumer demand, which is why it is so vital for businesses to look at sustainable packaging.

What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging is packaging that has a reduced environmental impact. Generally, materials are recycled, biodegradable or reusable.  Examples include paper and cardboard as well as reusable plastic, or plastic that is biodegradable or made from plant products. In addition, companies can make packaging more sustainable by:

  • reducing the number of materials used
  • increasing fill-rates
  • using monomaterials (rather than laminates).  

Using sustainable packaging in a business

It’s no longer enough for a business to pay lip-service to environmental issues.  Nor is it to make promises they will make changes in the future. They need to act now, reflecting the values of today’s consumers and government legislation.

One of the main barriers to companies using sustainable packaging in the past has been price. There’s a belief that sustainability is expensive. However, this isn’t always the case. Changes to packaging design and engineering mean implementing sustainable packaging solutions is both possible and affordable. 

Remember, just because the packaging says it’s environmentally-friendly, doesn’t mean it is. So, as well as price, when looking to make the change to sustainable packaging, businesses should consider:

  • Ingredients: Does the packaging use 100% recycled materials, for example, or come from sustainable sources?
  • Production: What production methods are used? What is its carbon footprint, and what steps are in the supply chain? For example, there is much talk at the moment of bio-based plastics (also known as bio-plastics). Made from food crops such as corn and sugar cane, they seem like a good option and a great way to reduce the use of traditional plastic. However, some reports are now suggesting that their impact on the human food chain could be significant, leading to price increases or food shortages.
  • Recyclability: Can the packaging be recycled easily? Do local authorities accept it. Or, will customers have to source a specialist recycling centre (as they do not for products such as toothpaste tubes)?
  • Reusability: How many times can packaging be reused? This links into the circular economy, which is growing in popularity.

Where a business isn’t sure if the packaging is sustainable, they must ask questions and do their research, looking to organisations such as the Sustainable Packaging Coalition or Forest Stewardship Council for guidance if needed.

What is the circular economy?

One of the major areas of discussion when it comes to sustainable packaging is the circular economy, a term that describes returning packaging for reuse for its original purpose. Examples of this might be refillable packaging, which has been trialled by companies such as Unilever, and means the packaging is used multiple times. Another example is seen in the rise of zero waste or zero packaging stores, which ask customers to bring their own containers.

This isn’t a new idea (milk was once delivered by a milkman, for example, and bottles returned). Instead, it is one coming back into favour. It has been successful with beauty products, personal care, and dried food goods. As the idea gains traction, businesses should think about how to use the circular economy for secondary packaging. This is packaging used to pack and move goods before they hit the shelves.

Packaging design

As big-name brands become more focused on sustainable packaging, consumers are seeing lots of different designs enter the market. Some of these are incredibly creative. H&M, for example, has created a bag that converts into a clothes hanger, making the bag reusable and removing the need for a plastic hanger. Plus, the bag contains 80% recycled materials, somethings shoppers want to see.

In creating a convertible bag, H&M are appealing to their target shopper, younger people aged 18 to 35. The 2018 European Consumer Packaging Perception Survey found over 50% of shoppers in this age group considered packaging when making a buying decision. With their bag, H&M is hoping to build brand loyalty as well as reduce their impact on the environment.

When a business is considering what type of sustainable packaging they want to use, they should think about their audience as well as the product being packaged. For example, Biotka produces soy candles. Their customers are looking for natural products that don’t harm the environment. Biotka has reflected this by making their packaging from recycled material and using a minimalist design.

And, as with H&M, businesses should think creatively, giving their customers something more than the product they’re buying. For example, Monday’s Child sells children’s clothing. Customers can reuse their clothing boxes as they convert into dolls houses. UAU is another company who use their packaging creatively. UAU produce 3D art. Their delivery boxes are designed to be used as display stands.

Making a move to sustainable packaging

When a business moves to sustainable packaging, it can be tempting to do so all at once. This isn’t always the answer, however, as it can be disruptive. Businesses must remember to:

  • Make the change gradually, especially if a business has a lot of different products. 

Start with a single line, make the changes and look at how well these work. Then move onto the next line.

  • Use all existing packaging first.

It’s been paid for and to not use it costs money.

It’s much better to do both at once rather than one at a time, which can be more costly and time-consuming.

  • Do research, ask questions, and order samples. 

This way, a business will know what they are buying and how likely it is to work for their product line. Business could also do a test run of packaging too, sending it out to some customers and asking for feedback before making a final decision.

  • Look at how the new packaging impacts the bottom line. 

This may lead to increased costs, which could be passed on to the consumer. A business must understand if their customers will be willing to pay for any increase.

  • Let customers know how sustainable their packaging is. 

Consumers are a key driver for businesses to use sustainable packaging, so don’t be afraid to let them know what’s been done. At the same time, customers may become more aware of a product’s environmental credentials if it comes in sustainable packaging. It is worth, therefore, looking at the products themselves and see how green they are and whether they can be made any more eco-friendly.

Finally, speak to experts in packaging design and development. They can help businesses understand what types of sustainable packaging will work for them. They can develop prototypes and samples and act as a sounding board for a company’s more creative ideas.

The future of packaging

With the shift in consumer focus to more environmentally friendly products and the move by governments around the world to reduce the amount of single-use plastic that ends up as waste, companies can’t afford to not invest in sustainable packaging.

With innovations in packaging design and engineering, this is now more affordable than ever. Which means businesses don’t have any excuse for not making the change. That said, they need to make that change carefully. They need to understand their audience and what they want to see in packaging. And they need to understand the best solutions out there for their business and the products they want to package and ship.

Thinking outside the box could be essential here, which means talking to industry experts to make sure the sustainable packaging a business buys meets their needs. This will also allow them to understand new development in packaging, meaning they can stay ahead of their competition when it comes to sustainability. This, in turn, can lead to increased loyalty from existing customers. In addition, it opens up a potential new customer base of consumers who want to reduce their environmental impact act much as possible.

7 Ways To Make Your Packaging More Customer Friendly

Each year, the number of people shopping online increases.

In the UK, we have the third largest eCommerce sector in the world, accounting for over £500 billion annually in sales.

As a result, this means there is a need for online businesses to access a wide range of packaging options in order to ship their products.

For years, this need was filled with cardboard boxes produced to standard sizes, resulting in a need for additional – and often excessive – fillers such as bubble wrap.  Consumer trends, however, are changing, as are levels of environmental awareness, meaning traditional packaging methods are no longer acceptable.

Consequently, online businesses need to find more customer friendly packaging options. Here, we look at seven such customer-friendly packaging options:

  • Package Size

The internet is full of customers commenting on the fact that their products were shipped in boxes that were much too big for the items inside.  And, while seeing an Instagram post of someone sitting in a large box that was used to deliver a small bottle of shampoo can be funny, it’s actually quite frustrating for customers who are left having to get rid of the packaging.  

Today, technology such as Right Size means that your packaging can be made to fit the products themselves, something customers will no doubt appreciate – especially if that packaging can fit through a letterbox.

  • Pack Smartly

If customers order more than one item from you, think about how these can be packaged to reduce the amount of packaging you use and the risk of any damage.  Can items be stored inside each other, for example, or can you use softer products to cushion those that are more breakable?

  • Harmful Products

Most packaging is mass produced, meaning it may contain chemicals that can harm the environment or cause allergic reactions in humans. Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact chemicals can have and want products and packaging made from less harmful alternatives.

Look for customer friendly packaging options, therefore, that are made from these alternatives; you can buy plastic packaging made from corn starch, for example, or have boxes printed with soy ink, which is biodegradable.  

  • Environmental Impact

One of the main reasons’ customers don’t respond well to packaging that is too large for their order is the negative environmental impact they believe it has; even if the packaging can be recycled, today’s consumers are environmentally aware and will see this as wasteful.  

Beyond this, however, your customers will want to know how sustainable your packaging is and the easiest way to let them know is to tell them by having it printed on the packaging – if it’s made of recycled materials for example – they’ll appreciate not having to search your website to find the answers to their questions.  

  • Excess Packaging

Excess packaging isn’t just bad for the environment; it’s bad for the customer, especially if it means they have to spend more time than is necessary for unwrapping your products.  When it comes to customer friendly packaging, remember, anything beyond what you need to keep an order free from damage is probably too much and won’t be appreciated.

If anything, it is likely to lead to the customer getting frustrated as they try to pull off additional plastic wrapping or snip through plastic ties.

  • Branding

People tend to order more online during peak times such as Christmas, at which point they may well get overwhelmed by the number of plain brown boxes arriving on their doorstep.  If they’ve ordered gifts for different family members, this can lead to frustrations if they don’t know what is in each box. And, while you won’t want to give the game away by not using any packaging (as Amazon did the other year), having your brand name printed on your packaging can go some way to letting them know just what is inside the box.  

  • Information Sharing

Depending on the products you sell and ship, there may be care instructions you need to share with customers.  Making this clear and easy to find on a box or bag will go a long way to creating customer-friendly packaging, especially if it requires customers to do something as soon as their order arrives – storing it in a cool, dark, place, for example.  

Packaging can be used to share information on other products that might be of interest too, or to thank customers for their order, something which will definitely be appreciated.

Paper: Who’d Have Thought It Would Be the Answer to Plastics?

In recent years, consumers have become increasingly concerned about the use of plastic packaging.

A 2017 survey by grassroots environmental group A Plastic Planet, for example, found 81% of people were concerned about the amount of plastic packaging being thrown away and 91% backed the introduction of plastic free supermarket aisles.

In 2018 the BBC aired Blue Planet II, and the interest in finding solutions to plastic waste pollution became a major focus for the UK government, who released a consultation to gain the public’s views on banning single-use plastics.

Many businesses have decided not to wait for the results of this consultation while others feel it doesn’t go far enough.  Last year, over 180 major companies including Tesco, Unilever, Nestlé, Birds Eye and Boots, signed the UK Plastics Pact, committing to eliminate single-use plastic packaging from their supply chains and replacing all plastic packaging with reusable, recyclable or compostable alternatives.

What, though, are these alternatives?  While some businesses are looking for technological solutions, others are turning to a more traditional product, one that has been around for 2,000 years – paper.

Paper has a long tradition of being used as packaging (archaeologists have found mirrors wrapped in paper from as early as the 2nd Century BC), but it wasn’t until the mid-1800’s that the use of wood-pulp to produce paper-based products made it much more affordable to produce paper. This was followed by the invention of paper bag cutting machines, making the use of paper as packaging much more commonplace.

Today, more than 400 million metric tonnes of paper and cardboard are produced worldwide each year; over 50% is used for packaging paper.

Benefits of paper packaging

One of the main benefits of paper is that it’s a renewable resource, one that can be re-used and recycled much more easily than plastic: the most recent UK government figures show almost double the amount of paper and cardboard (81.9%) is recycled compared to plastic (44.9%).

Even if paper ends up in the rubbish, it decomposes with little harm to the environment, unlike plastic: on average, a paper bag takes one month to break down while a plastic bag takes ten years.

Paper packaging is a flexible and affordable way to preserve, protect and transport a wide range of items.

Cardboard (or containerboard), for example, is strong, sturdy and comes in a range of sizes, making it ideal for shipping everything from household items to works of art; paper bags are perfect for shoppers wanting to take home groceries and store food such as coffee, tea, snacks, or sweets; and paper sacks make shipping bulk dry goods easy and affordable.

Paper bags generally have flat bases, unlike plastic bags, which make them stable and easier to store on shelves or in cupboards; they are also safer as you cannot suffocate in a paper bag and paper is much less toxic than plastic. Cardboard packaging is generally boxed-shaped, making it easier to stack, reducing the amount of space needed in warehouses, along with costs to businesses. All paper packaging is easy for companies to brand, making paper packaging a great marketing tool as well as a practical method for storing and transporting goods.

What next for paper packaging?

As consumers push for more sustainable packaging, companies are looking for ways to give their customers what they want.

McDonald’s, for example, recently announced it would make the change from plastic to paper straws in May 2019, and Morrisons are moving to paper bags too.

Beyond this, paper packaging manufacturers are looking at innovative ways to produce paper and package products.

In Germany, the US and Canada, for example, sweet manufacturers are looking at packaging their products in edible paper while in California, one company has been funded to impregnate compostable coffee cups with seeds from local trees and plants while another has developed a paper bottle that can safely be used with liquids including water and laundry detergent.

As a result of these changes, the market is set to grow considerably, with some estimates suggesting the global green packaging market will reach $237.8 billion by 2024.

This presents huge opportunities for paper packaging manufacturers to develop packaging for products typically packaged in plastic and for companies to attract consumers searching for eco-friendly options when making a purchase.

Custom Box Making For Product Manufacturers Explained

When companies are tasked with getting their products directly from their production lines into the hands of their customers, it can be a struggle to find a way of not only effectively transporting the product but also presenting it in a memorable and outstanding style. Using custom boxes as a product manufacturer can deliver the branded impact that your customers will appreciate, remember and sometimes even share online.

Giving your products the right packaging and branding is vital in today’s modern world, where the majority of goods are bought online and delivered without the customer ever having stepped foot inside a store. Custom box making gives product manufacturers a unique edge and the chance to stand out from competitors.

What Are Custom Boxes?

Whatever your business is selling, the chances are your products needs packaging, either for shipping to online customers or for selling in stores. Traditionally boxes and packaging had to be purchased as standard sizes and shapes and used for all your products. This often resulted in small or awkwardly shaped products being packaged in large boxes with a lot of filler.

Custom boxes give you the ability to make product packaging in any shape and size, making it possible to create a box that perfectly fits your product.

Custom Boxes On Demand

For businesses looking to create beautiful and sustainable custom packaging, then an on-demand custom box-making machine could be the perfect option. These give you the ability to create custom boxes for every order which will not only cut down on costs but also give you the ability to create several custom packages to fit any product.

On-demand box-making machines can make just one box or batch produce hundreds, making them ideal for both one-off orders and large shipments. If your business produces various products of different shapes and sizes, then an on-demand box making solution can help to provide custom packaging to fit any product.

The process is simple and straightforward, a custom box making machine can be placed on the production floor or in a factory and is fed by a continuous concertina of folded cardboard. Your products can benefit from added protection as every box is a perfect size, reducing damage and issues during transportation and shipping. Transport costs can be significantly reduced by increasing vehicle utilisation and eliminating void space in your product’s packaging, resulting in more room on delivery vans for more stock.

better transport packaging

A Greener Solution

Custom box making is more sustainable than traditional methods in many ways, and often reduces a company’s overall costs. By creating custom sized boxes that perfectly fit your products, you will be dramatically reducing the amount of waste packaging your company creates. Not only will you reduce the amount of cardboard used to create the box itself, but also reduce the amount of filler needed to pack the boxes, which will help to cut down on the amount of plastic ending up in landfills.

It is possible to create custom boxes and on-demand packaging using 100% recyclable packaging.

By creating custom boxes that waste less space, you will be increasing your company’s transport utilisation. This means there are fewer vehicles on the road and an improved carbon footprint for your brand, as well as reduced transportation and fuel costs with fewer vans to run. Custom boxes not only save space on vans but also within factories and offices, eliminating the need for storing various sized boxes. By clearing up box clutter in your workspace, you can better utilise the space to store other materials or products.

Happy Customers

Today it is more important than ever to make sure your customers are satisfied and happy with your service and products, and that includes the packaging it arrives in. No one wants to receive a large box filled with plastic peanuts for a small product; customers want their products to arrive in a reasonably sized package. Reducing the amount of packaging cluttering your customer’s homes and bins will give them faith in your business and its dedication to the environment.

Every company wants their brand to give off the right messages and choosing a sustainable, environmentally friendly packaging solution can do exactly that. Custom box making for product manufacturers is an easy and simple process, especially with on-demand box making machines available to businesses of all sizes.

The process of creating the perfect sized boxes for your product range is hassle-free and convenient, and there is no need to be a packaging design expert to get started with custom box making. Whether you are an online retailer or large corporation with many shopfronts, custom box making can help to minimise costs, low your carbon footprint and build brand awareness effortlessly.

5 Styrofoam Peanut Packing Alternatives

Pressure is mounting on business owners to do away with plastic and non-biodegradable methods of packaging. While it was once socially acceptable to tip tonnes of non-recyclable Styrofoam peanuts into your delivery boxes, people today are quite rightly calling for a move towards sustainability.

Nevertheless, it can be difficult to know where to start when looking for viable alternatives to packing peanuts. So, here are the five best styrofoam peanut alternatives we believe business owners should trial packing their products in.

Avoid packing material completely

While this is an obvious one, many people feel that packing material is a necessity. However, by having the perfect sized boxes for your products, you can eliminate, or at least reduce the amount of packing material you need. You can purchase on-demand cardboard boxes which are made to fit the product you want to pack, so you don’t need excess packing material.

Alternatively, if you can’t afford to get your boxes personalised to fit your products, consider collecting waste paper and cardboard for shedding. Though it won’t look quite as smart, it will still be an effective packing mechanism, and you could even leave a little note in each of the boxes to customers detailing why you pack in this way – that way, if they are eco-conscious they will be aware about your companies caring, good nature and might buy from you again. Many people will appreciate this more than they will unnecessary packing peanuts exploding onto their kitchen floor.

Unbuttered Popcorn

Putting unbuttered popcorn into your boxes sounds like an odd thing to do. Since it isn’t a particularly well-known method either you might be worried about what your customers will think. However, it’s just as effective, often cheaper, and once again you can always leave a note explaining why you use popcorn to pack products.

The only drawback for using this method is that the popcorn is easily crushed and can become quite messy if the box is bashed around too much. You could always wrap your product in recycled paper first if you want to ensure no popcorn-dust collects on your product. This is especially important if you are packing any form of technology, where there are charging port nooks that you wouldn’t want dust to collect in.

Corn Starch

Corn starch packing peanuts are now widely used as an alternative – and it’s nearly identical to Styrofoam peanuts. These strong peanuts look and feel almost the same as Styrofoam and will keep your product safe.

Moreover, it is easy for your customer to dispose of them after they have unpacked their goods. Leave a note to let them know they can simply run them under cold water and watch them dissolve. They will appreciate this easy method of disposal and the space you have saved in their bins or recycling requirements.

Coconut Husk

Coconuts have innumerable benefits, both as a food and drink source and as a packing material. The husk of the coconut is not only incredibly strong, but the fibre it contains is also non-flammable. However, while that is fantastic for durable packaging, it can mean they are difficult to dispose of after their use.

Some companies have begun combing thermoplastic with the husk to make it compostable, too. Whichever option you choose though, you will be doing more good for the environment than you would have been using Styrofoam peanuts.

Sphagnum Peat Moss

The natural material, Peat Moss, will provide a springy protective layer around your product. It’s extremely adaptable since it mushes together easily so it will work with your product no matter its shape or size. You could either purchase this versatile plant in bulk, or you could make a name for yourself as an eco-company by growing it in-house.

There will be no need to worry about where it will go after its use either since it is a natural source of packaging. This means it is compostable and therefore it will be just as easy for your customers to dispose of it as the dissolvable corn-starch peanuts.

Business owners want to know that the alternatives will just as efficiently prevent damage to your product as the Styrofoam peanuts did. These alternatives will undoubtedly be just as capable. Moreover, though it might take your customers a little bit of getting used to, if you keep advertising the reason for your strange packaging solutions you may even become more memorable due to your whacky packing unique selling point

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