14 Eco-Friendly Packaging that Inspires Change

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Using eco-friendly packaging to save the environment can also make your business sustainable and inspire customers.

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Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Packoi Team

With the right environmentally-friendly packaging design, you can promote sustainability and encourage your customer base to be more eco-friendly in their ways.

How? Keep reading this article to find out. Here, you’ll get specific ideas that will help you create sustainable packaging designs.

14 Eco-Friendly Packaging Ideas to Inspire Customers

Sustainable Packaging

Nowadays, the packaging industry is developing rapidly, and it is important to develop sustainable, environmentally friendly packaging and reduce the carbon footprint. There are many eco-friendly packaging ideas that you can use for your products. At first, your primary concern is the product. You want to make sure the packaging can protect the integrity of your product.

But beyond that, you should also think about your customers. There’s a huge opportunity when you use sustainable packaging alternatives for your new packaging. Choose the best option that’ll help your customers practice sustainability.

For instance, one of the options is to use plantable packaging. But if your target market lives in urban areas where most of them live in apartment buildings or areas with no front or back yard, how can they plant your packaging after use?

Think about that.

Whatever form your packaging will take, make sure the customer has the means to follow through so they can help you be more eco-friendly.

To help you with that, here are the different packaging options that you can use to inspire your business to be more sustainable.

1. Recycled Packaging

This is the most common type of eco-friendly packaging available. Recycled packaging means all the materials used to create it are recyclable.

Once the original purpose of the packaging is completed, it can be sent to recycling facilities, where it can be processed and turned into something new. These can be renewed to have the same purpose, or they can be recreated as something entirely different.

This eco-friendly packaging can also mean it’s made of recyclable materials. Doing so will help lower carbon emissions and waste.

2. Reusable Packaging

Reusable Packaging

Another eco-friendly packaging solution is to make it reusable. If you have to use a packaging material that can’t be recycled, then at least make sure it won’t get thrown away immediately.

Design the packaging so the customer can reuse it. For instance, you can make a plastic container sturdy enough so it can be repurposed and used as something else inside the house.

Plastic bottles can be used to hold pens. Wooden boxes can be turned into decorative accessories that can store jewelry and other small items. Fabric tote bags can also be reused after the customer removes the product from within.

It’s up to you to encourage customers to reuse your packaging instead of throwing it away. This can help reduce everyone’s carbon footprint.

3. Refillable Packaging

Here’s another take on reusable packaging. Make it refillable.

Among the eco-friendly packaging options, this might be a bit more complicated to set up. You’ll have to set up a refilling station that’s accessible to your customers. But if it helps keep packaging waste low, the effort will be worth it.

If you choose to do this type of eco-friendly packaging, you have to make long-term plans to ensure that it’ll be implemented properly.

4. Furoshiki Packing

This is one of the eco-friendly packaging ideas that promote reusability. It’s a packing style that came from the Japanese. The idea is to use cloth fabric to wrap gifts and packages. This is a great alternative to non-sustainable options like plastic.

The goal is to use scraps of cloth that would have ended up in landfills. Instead, these fabrics can be repurposed to become packaging materials.

This can be an option for retail businesses that sell clothing or accessories. They can use excess fabrics from their production line as packaging.

5. Minimalist Packaging

Minimalist Packaging

Minimalism is one of the eco-friendly packaging that you can consider for your products. This means you’re keeping your design simple and reducing the layers of your packaging.

This type of packaging supports the idea of reduction. This effectively minimizes waste by choosing not to use certain materials.

But this will have to be well thought out. Simplicity in your packaging design is great, as long as it’s still aligned with your branding.

Not only that, the reduction means less space to print your message of sustainability. Ensure this isn’t compromised by giving customers a link to find more information about eco-friendly practices.

6. Mono-Material Packaging

Mono-Material Packaging

This eco-friendly packaging ensures recyclability. It means you stick to one type of material for your packaging.

You see, not all recyclable packaging gets recycled. Every material has to be segregated properly so it won’t be deemed contaminated.

If a recyclable material is contaminated, it won’t be accepted for recycling. For instance, paper packaging is recyclable, but the moment you use toxic adhesive to attach its labels, recycling facilities won’t accept them.

If you only use one type of packaging material, there’s a higher chance that your packaging will be recycled.

Keep this in mind as you choose the sustainable packaging materials that you’ll use.

7. Bioplastics Packaging

This is an eco-friendly packaging solution that’ll hopefully get rid of plastic. Although we know plastic packaging is harmful, there are instances where it’s the best way to package products.

Take plastic bottles as an example. It’s still the best way to package beverages. Glass is too heavy, so it can’t always be the alternative to this.

Fortunately, experts have come up with a biodegradable packaging option.

Bioplastics have the same qualities as plastic, except that they come from biodegradable sources like wheat, meat protein, etc.

When sourcing this type of packaging, make sure you do your research. Not all bioplastics are considered to be biodegradable. You might end up with an option that’s more harmful to the environment.

8. Non-Toxic Packaging Materials

When looking at eco-friendly packaging options, make sure you consider all the materials you’ll use. That includes the ink, adhesive, and even the lamination for your packaging.

eco-friendly packaging

Even if you stay away from plastic packaging, you can compromise recyclability if you use toxic materials like petroleum-based ink or plastic-based lamination.

Do your research and find more eco-friendly packaging alternatives if you want to use specific decorative materials for your packaging. These include cellulose for lamination or vegetable-based ink for your printing needs.

9. Edible Packaging

This eco-friendly packaging is perfect for food products. To reduce waste, why not use edible materials so the customer can eat the packaging along with the food they ordered?

This is one of the clever food packaging solutions that’ll surely impress your customers.

Of course, this type of eco-friendly packaging may be a bit challenging to pull off. But with the right design and biodegradable packaging materials, you can make this possible. Just make sure you get the right plant-based materials that come from responsible sources.

10. Plantable Packaging

Plantable Packaging

This is another eco-friendly package that’ll help reduce waste. You can choose eco-friendly packaging materials that customers can plant in their gardens.

Make sure your packaging comes with instructions so your customers will know what to do once they remove the product from the packaging.

Of course, you have to make sure that your customer base has areas in their homes to plant on. Otherwise, they might end up throwing this away.

11. Compostable Packaging

Using compostable and biodegradable packaging is another way to be more sustainable. These eco-friendly packaging ideas involve using materials that can easily break down on their own.

That means compostable packaging won’t add to the growing waste in landfills. The customer doesn’t even have to throw them in the recycling bin.

The compostable packaging can be used in their backyards to enrich their soil for planting.

12. Corrugated Product Packaging

recycle packaging

This eco-friendly packaging seems like the simplest way to be sustainable. But make sure that the corrugated paper packaging is responsibly sourced.

Just because it’s paper doesn’t automatically mean it has an environmental advantage compared to the other materials. If it’s sourced illegally and leads to deforestation, then this won’t help at all.

Make sure you know where you’re getting the materials from so it doesn’t compromise your efforts to be more sustainable.

13. Anti-Microbial Packaging

This is a great food packaging option that can reduce food waste. Anti-microbial packaging has special qualities that protect perishables like food from spoiling immediately. Some of them contain shellfish elements that can reduce organisms that cause degradation in products.

These eco-friendly packaging solutions can help you hit two birds with one stone. You have eco-friendly packaging that can also extend the life of perishable products.

14. Smart Packaging

Can you use technology to create eco-friendly packaging? Absolutely!

Examples of these are packaging designs that show the freshness of the products held within. At the very least, this minimizes product waste.

smart packaging with code

You can also include QR codes or barcodes that customers can scan with their mobile devices. This will lead them to a page or app that’ll help them know more about the sustainable efforts made through your packaging.

There are many ways to implement smart packaging, so keep an eye out for new developments. It would benefit your brand if you were one of the first to use innovative solutions.

Packoi Printing Can Help Bring Your Plans to Completion

Creating eco-friendly packaging isn’t as complicated as you think. There are many ideas and options for you to choose from.

In the meantime, you can start partnering with the right company for custom packaging.

This is where Packoi Printing can help. We are FSC-certified, and we can help you find the best eco-friendly materials for your packaging needs.

Give us a call and we’ll gladly help you get started. Let’s discuss your ideas, and we’ll get back to you with a fair quote soon.

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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!

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