Packaging consumption has always been one of the hot topics when it comes to focusing on sustainable design strategies.
86% of consumers in the young generation are willing to spend more on sustainable packaging. Though sometimes we overlook its significance, the packaging is one of the critical touch points between product and consumer. It's also one of the most visible aspects of a brand and a product's environmental footprint.
For example, a report from Ocean Conservancy shows that Plastic is the primary concern for environmental pollution. It was found in 59% of sea birds, 100% of sea turtles, and 25% of fish sampled from the seafood markets around the world.”
Sustainable packaging design is critical for brands to improve circularity, reduce carbon footprints, and increase recyclability. Retailers and brand owners often focus on circularity and greenhouse gases, but consumers have grown interested in carbon footprints and eliminating non-recyclable packaging.
64% of customers are more willing to buy from brands and retailers that provide sustainable packaging. So how can we ensure that packaging functions well and helps conserve resources?
Packaging consumption is the process of buying, opening, and using packaging. It includes the initial purchase of packaging and the repeated use to contain, protect, and identify products. Packaging consumption can be divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary packaging is the first layer of protection and containment for a product. Secondary packaging is used to group or protect multiple primary packages.
So, packaging consumes more material than the product and needs sustainability for environmental concerns.
Indian Institute of Packaging says that packaging consumption in India has surged 200% in the last decade, growing from 4.3 kilograms per person per annum to 8.6 kilograms per person per annum. That’s where eco-friendly and reusable packaging plays a key role.
Using sustainable packaging design is gaining momentum, and brands need to turn towards eco-friendly packaging throughout their entire life cycle, including their functionality marketing and even after their use has been fulfilled. Circular packaging is a key to reducing consumption. Circular packaging focuses on recycling, reusing, and reducing approaches, including minimizing the use of plastic material, designing for reuse, and using eco-friendly materials that improve the quality of recycled materials.
Here are a few ways to contribute toward the sustainable packaging:
For example, McDonald’s has set a goal to use recycled and renewable packaging by 2025. It has been set up to use paper straws, wooden cutlery, fiber lids, and reusable cups that can significantly reduce environmental harm.
Another example, Colgate launched a new environmentally friendly toothbrush with long-lasting aluminum handles and replaceable heads consume 80% less plastic, saving raw materials and reducing wastage.
Sustainable packaging has become a high priority for both consumers and brands. Implementing eco-friendly packaging in your brand's priority list is not an option - it’s a necessity.
Many have heard the saying,“reduce, recycle, and reuse.” Today, it’s essential for brands to reflect the same in their list. It helps reduce environmental problems and increases brand loyalty among consumers.
So, let’s dive deep into some sustainable packaging tips-
Reusable packaging is an excellent solution for sustainability. It reduces environmental impacts rather than becoming a waste once it's primarily used. That means it is not only limited to presenting the product on the shelf, but it can be used again for something else once purchased.
It includes reusable packaging like bags, pouches, cardboard cans, and boxes that can have a second life and not be thrown away immediately. If these reusable packages are attractive and captivating, they can become a decor piece for consumers' home decor.
The best example is the shopping bag that converts into a clothes hanger by H & M, and these bags are made up of 80% recyclable paper.
Mono-material packaging is simply using one type of material in manufacturing packages. As it consists of a single material, they are easy to recycle and increase the packages' livelihood. The overall recycling process becomes faster, easier, cost-effective, and more efficient.
Packaging that uses many different materials creates many hurdles to achieving recyclability. Packaging materials like glass bottles with paper labels can be easily disconnected before recycling.
Here are some advantages of using mono-materials-
Like, Unilever launched its knorr dry soup powder packaging made with recyclable polypropylene mono-material in Turkey.
Bioplastic is another trend to replace single-use plastic material for packaging. Bioplastics are prepared from biodegradable sources like starch, proteins, and polylactic acid.
Numerous brands have invested time, money, and resources to develop packaging that naturally breaks down into the environment without hurting wildlife. Customers are increasingly concerned about sustainability, and using them might shift the environmental burden by reducing carbon footprint. For example, bioplastics are commonly used in food packaging and can replace traditional plastic packaging material.
For example, bioplastics are commonly used
Coca-Cola is one brand that uses recyclable PET plastic bottles made with 30% plant-based material. And their team is working to create a bottle with 100% plant-based content that aims to have the lowest possible carbon footprint.
We often limit our creativity about packaging simply to use eco-friendly material or reduce over-use packaging. But, how about using other sustainable materials like the eco-friendly inks used for printing information and brand design.
So, what exactly is the difference between inks that are eco-friendly and not? Conventional ink uses mineral-based oil with pigments containing minerals that contribute to environmental pollution even if your packaging material is sustainable. On the other hand, eco-friendly inks are biodegradable, water-based, UV curable, Algae, and many more.
It’s high time to think and utilize eco-friendly inks, which have many benefits, from biodegradable to less likely to release chemicals.
Algae Ink™ mostly, a pigment type consistency are actually renewable, made with algae cells, which are widely used by conscious business owners.
Consumers are willing to pay a premium amount for sustainable products. In addition, eco-conscious consumers care more about sustainable materials because they are more concerned about the environment.
Customers are part of the change process that your brand is willing to take. Education and communication with your customers on how to dispose of packaging material are the keys to success in developing sustainable packaging. The in-shelf display is key to helping shift consumer behavior toward sustainable packaging.
Online images and videos are a good source, too but might be updated regularly. In-store consumers are more influenced to purchase based on environment-friendly impressions.
For example, Carlsberg created awareness about the new 100% biodegradable bottle made from wood fiber.
So, you all got an idea about why and how sustainable packaging is a key factor for the future.
But, how are consumers responding to sustainable packaging?
The Indian packaging sector is predicted to grow at nearly 27% between 2021 and 2026.
Here are some facts to check out:
The Indian market is large, and the pandemic has created more awareness about the environmental impact and plastic waste. Over one-fourth of Indians agree that brands need to focus more on sustainable and eco-friendly packaging.
More and more consumers are shifting their choice and realising the importance of using eco-friendly packaging. Unfortunately, human activities are harming the environment, and brands have no other choice but to migrate to sustainable solutions.
78% of Indian consumers changed their purchasing behaviour to reduce negative environmental impact.
Packaging has a significant environmental impact, so sustainable packaging design is important.
Brands need to find a way to reduce environmental impact and learn more about sustainable design. Some companies are already leading towards sustainable packaging, but others need to implement the strategy.
The good news is that our experts are here to help you out.