What’s the Difference Between Recyclable and Reusable Packaging?

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you are looking for packaging solutions, click here.

Although recyclable and reusable packaging is considered sustainable, they’re not the same. Recycling involves the process of transforming packaging materials into something new. Reusing, on the other hand, is about finding another use for packaging without converting it into a new item.

Table of Contents

Last Updated on May 31, 2023 by Packoi Team

Recyclable and reusable packaging is an environmentally-friendly option that minimizes the need for single-use plastics. It might even eliminate the need to use them for consumer goods if done correctly.

In this article, you’ll get a more profound knowledge of what reusable and recyclable packaging means. You’ll learn the benefits of both and how you can use them to create a more positive environmental impact.

What Is Recyclable Packaging?

recyclable packaging

There are 2 ways to describe recyclable packaging. The first is it uses raw materials that can be recycled. The second is it uses recycled materials to put together the packaging.

When you think about sustainable packaging, recycling is usually the first thing that comes to mind. It’s a type of packaging that usually comes with a recycling symbol. It shows 3 bent arrows that form a circle. Instead of throwing the packaging and ending it in a landfill, it goes through recycling.

The recyclability of packaging will depend on the raw materials used to create it. Sometimes, even if the packaging is made of paper, you can’t recycle it if it has a lot of non-recyclable elements. This is why you have to be careful with what you’ll choose for your packaging materials.

What Is the Recycling Process?

This process starts with the recycling symbol. Put the symbol in the packaging so customers will know what to do with it once they remove the product. They’ll see that it should end up in recycling bins.

These could be bins on the curbside or drop-off depots where some people can receive cash or incentives for the dropped-off recyclable materials.

The materials will then be collected from the recycling bin or depots and taken to recovery facilities. Here, the workers will sort and clean the recycled materials before they are processed and turned into new materials.

While this seems impressive, you must know that every recycled material emits carbon dioxide when processed. This is why recycling is a bit controversial. But if it helps keep plastics from landfill, it’s still worth doing.

What Are Examples of Recyclable Materials?

There are many recyclable materials used in packaging. You have paper, glass, aluminum, and even biodegradable plastic. The use of biodegradable packaging is also important for environmental protection. Even if they have the recycling symbol, single-use plastics aren’t always recyclable. So ensure you check the materials before using them as your packaging.

Not only that, but it’s also important to consider how each of them is recycled. For instance, paper can only be recycled 5 to 7 times before they lose its integrity. After then, there’ll be new materials needed to create your packaging.

Other materials like glass or aluminum can be recycled many times and won’t ever lose their original state. This makes them effective food packaging materials – even if they’re recycled.

Why Is Recycling Important?

recyclable paper box

A recycling bin that’s filled with recyclable materials means one thing – natural resources will be conserved. That’s the main idea behind it. We want to preserve our forests and the natural element on earth so we don’t waste them.

You have to realize that not all materials are sustainable. Or they may be renewable, but it doesn’t happen immediately. So recycling helps ensure that there are enough resources for a long time.

But that’s not all. Raw materials that don’t come from natural resources still use up fossil fuels. If you can minimize the need for new resources, you can also save on that.

While recycling isn’t like like compostable packaging, it still helps reduce waste. It won’t keep the packaging from landfills forever, but it can be delayed for a long time.

What Is Reusable Packaging?

Another way to be sustainable is to use reusable packaging. It’s the straightforward solution to single-use packaging ending up as waste. This type of sustainable packaging allows you to prolong the value of the packaging – even if it’s used differently from its original intention. Beyond that, the benefits of sustainable packaging for your business are numerous.

If you’re creative enough and know how to sanitize appropriately, you can reuse almost anything. Glass bottles, tin cans, and food packaging can become decorative items around the house.

Or reusable materials can be cleaned and used as storage. If you use your imagination, you can always find something to do with packaging, so they don’t become waste.

In What Ways Can Packaging Be Reused?

Reusable packaging can be converted into anything that you want it to be. Food packaging made of glass or aluminum can be cleaned and used as storage for your kitchen. When sanitized, these two can protect dry food in your kitchen from contamination.

Boxes can be reused as storage or gift box for the holiday season. If you unleash your inner artist, you can probably find a lot of uses for all the reusable products around your house.

There are a lot of videos online that share great advice on transforming different products into a work of art. Use that to your advantage.

How Can You Encourage Customers to Reuse Your Packaging?

reusable bags

The best way to encourage your customers to reduce waste and reuse your packaging is to tell them. Use the space in your packaging to educate them about how they can help conserve natural resources.

Give them instructions on what to do with your reusable packaging. Please provide them with options to convert the packaging into something useful.

If the space in your packaging doesn’t allow it, put an insert so you can be more graphic about your suggestions.

You can even explain how their efforts to reuse your packaging can protect our natural resources. That could help encourage them to be willing to take on your suggestions.

Why Is Reusing Important?

Resuing helps reduce waste by keeping the packaging from ending up in landfills. If you have reusable containers, your customers can use that indefinitely.

But that’s not all.

Since it minimizes the need to get a new container, you’re not just helping reduce waste, and you’re also being energy efficient. After all, creating new products requires the use of fossil fuels. Less energy will be used by eliminating the need for a new container.

Apart from that, you can also help the customer save money.

It’ll positively impact the natural environment because your chosen sustainable materials are also reusable.

Which Is Better: Recyclable or Reusable Packaging?

It’s hard to say which is better as a sustainable packaging option, recycling or reusing. Both of them can help reduce waste and preserve our limited resources. But if you’re clear about how these two help the environment, it’ll be easier to make your choice. Of course, the packaging that fits your product will also play a role in your choice.

So if you can’t avoid using single-use packaging for disposable products, your option is clear. You need to use recyclable packaging. That way, the materials can be processed and transformed into something else.

But if your packaging is durable, encouraging your customers to reuse it should be a good idea. Give your customers an idea of converting reusable packaging into something that can stick around in their houses.

Is It Possible to Reuse and Recycle Packaging?

recyclable food packaging

If you don’t want to choose between reusable and recyclable packaging, don’t! You can make your packaging do both with the right design and expert tips.

It all boils down to what you’ll use to create your packaging. Your product will take center stage when you’re choosing suitable materials. If you’re designing for food packaging, you need a sanitary container to protect the perishable and edible products.

Using recycled paper or cardboard for that can still work if you’re sure it comes from a trustworthy manufacturer. But if you know your customers will be picky about this, opt for glass or aluminum instead. These two can be reused and recycled depending on their shape and design.

Benefits of Reusing and Recycling Together

If you think you can recycle and reuse your sustainable packaging, that’ll bring many benefits.

First, having reusable packaging that can eventually be recycled will keep it away from landfills for a very long time. Your customers can use it until they grow tired of it, and then they can drop it off to be recycled.

Combining both can also help the customer save money. If your packaging can be converted into a storage box, they don’t have to buy one. They can reuse what you have.

And imagine if, instead of recycling, you could give your customers the option to compost the packaging. That compostable packaging can save them money on fertilizers.

As for your business, the fact that you’re innovative enough to combine these sustainable options will surely impress your target market. They’ll think that you’re very serious about your efforts to save the environment. It’ll also make them appreciate your creativity and ability to be innovative with your packaging.

recyclable items

Make Your Packaging More Eco-Friendly. Packoi Printing Can Help You Find the Perfect Solution.

You don’t have to choose between using recycled or reusable materials to make your packaging more eco-friendly. You are free to use both.

You can choose from many options if you want to go down this route. The best thing you can do is talk to an expert about this.

Packoi Printing is a company that offers FSC-certified packaging and specializes in eco-friendly packaging. We can help you identify the best option for your products.

Give us a call, and let’s brainstorm. We can give you a fair quotation for your sustainable packaging in no time.

Request Free Quote Now!

Share The Post Now:


Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

You may also find these topics interesting

Send Your Inquiry Now

Get Free Sample Now!

Free standard sample can be provided for your evaluation according to your requirements.