How to Avoid Causing Waste with Product Packaging
Product packaging has to be resistant to damage or tampering, resistant to bacteria for perishables, and preferably eye-catching to consumers. You may not stop to think that all of this packaging ends up in the trash, and often as litter that can harm the environment. Here are some ideas to help reduce the amount of harmful packaging you handle.
Issues with Packaging
There are five basic types of packaging:
- Wooden pallets, kegs, or crates used in transport and storage
- Plastics for containers, wraps, padding, and insulation
- Cardboard and paper
- Metals as containers, fasteners, or for added security or support
- Glass containers
Wood and paper may contain differing amounts of oils, glues, preservatives, dyes, metal oxides, and more. These chemicals and corroding metals can leach into the soil. Plastics and glass can linger for hundreds of years, endangering animal or marine life and leaving dangerous chemicals behind. In either case, the more that’s produced the more greenhouse gases are created during manufacture.
Use Recycled Materials
The typical solution among eco-friendly companies is recycling and using recycled materials. Recycled cardboard and papers are the most common, but most types of plastic, glass, and metal can also be recycled. Suppliers, consumers, employees, and the product manufacturers should be encouraged to adopt recycling practices in purchasing and waste management. You can promote this by such simple means as including a label, slogan, or environmental logo on your materials.
You could also go further by insisting that packaging materials be made from “virgin” materials. This would be materials made mostly or completely with organic additives. They can be recycled into other products, but degrade quickly in nature to harmless, non-toxic byproducts. Many sustainable woods can be purchased affordably and tossed out or recycled safely. There are also a number of biodegradable plastics, mostly made from corn. These plastics aren’t welcome in recycling centers, as they may contaminate other plastic types, but they can be discarded safely.
Light or No Packaging
Another way to reduce waste is to call on packaging companies like Packsize Now, LLC to redesign products so that materials aren’t used excessively. Large containers of heavy plastics should be made more compact and use lighter materials whenever possible. Items that are non-perishable or non-fragile don’t need air tight wrapping or excessive packing materials. Items that can survive delivery safely and securely on their own, such as non-sharp metal products or plush toys, don’t really need any packaging beyond an attached label. Just a slight reduction in materials can mean lower weights that save considerably on volume shipping costs over time.
Some or all of these ideas can work with products of virtually any kind. Less packaging materials means cost savings, while becoming known as an eco-friendly brand can boost sales. Eliminating package waste is a smart move for both companies and consumers.