When it comes to being more eco-conscious, the onus is on the business world especially. Manufacturing, packaging, transportation and a host of other practices have not been the most environmentally friendly, and that is putting it mildly. One of the biggest areas in need of improvement is product packaging, which is rife with eco-unfriendliness. Many businesses have developed a growing interest in being greener for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to stay in the good graces of consumers who have a growing interest in purchasing products from companies trying to be a better friend to the environment. Here are some ways businesses can green up their packaging practices.
Do Not Ship Unnecessary Items
As technology advances, many things that needed to be sent in physical form can now be downloaded right from the internet. If your company makes software for example, you can easily send the license, documentation and other information right to your customer’s email. If you typically include extra components for certain products, such as extra cables for a printer, instead of just automatically sending them out, require customers to specifically request them; this way only people who want or need the items will be getting them.
Re-Evaluate Your Packaging Size
This tip will not only help you reduce packaging waste, it will also save you money by allowing you to buy smaller boxes—less material means less expense. To offer adequate protection, a box usually only needs to have about 2 inches of space around the product; if you have more than this, whether because you think you need it or because you think bigger packaging makes the product look more appealing, you will be adopting a greener practice on several fronts—less box and less filler materials.
Use More Eco-Friendly Packaging and Filler Material
Choose box materials that are easier for consumers to recycle, such as cardboard. You might also consider reusing packaging materials your shippers used to get products to you.
Filler to protect the product inside the box is a huge thorn in the earth’s side. The waste created from Styrofoam, plastic and other less-than-earth-friendly materials damages the environment on several fronts. Good choices include recyclable paper. Bamboo is also making some headway in the packaging product world—this grass is durable and highly sustainable.
Help Your Customers Be More Eco-Friendly
Businesses not only have the opportunity to green up their own practices, they can help their customers be more eco-conscious as well. Try and use materials that your customers can re-use in some way. You might opt for cloth packaging for certain items or making cleaning products in refillable bottles.
Look Into Waste Exchange Programs
A lot of material used in the packaging process has the potential to be put to use again but instead ends up being tossed out. You can revise this practice by participating in waste exchange programs. You can get rid of what you no longer need and it can go off to someone who does; likewise, you can receive materials you need for your packaging processes.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing tips and advice for businesses to be more eco-friendly and reduce waste. If you are in need of bags for your business, check out the selection at StockPKG, which provides a variety of products, such as the poly bag.