Concerns regarding widespread use of plastic products for packaging have been rising recently, indicating towards a necessity of more eco-friendly ways of packaging. Plastic that is largely used for packaging of products can be used only once before they end up in the trashcan of the home, adding to the already huge amount of plastic waste. Several organizations are therefore adopting more environmental-friendly ways for package designing of their products and are considering it a responsibility to consider the impacts of packaging on the environment. The Metsä Board of the Metsä Group has been conducting ‘Better with Less – Design Challenge’ for two years now, that is dedicated to inspire upcoming organizations to create more eco-friendly ways of packaging their products (https://www.metsaboard.com/Media/Product-news/Pages/the-better-with-less-design-challenge-2019-2020-packaging-design-competition-opens-for-entries.aspx). The event focuses on the need to pay attention to the nine million tonnes of plastic waste that is generated by corporations every year, and encourages newcomers to adopt more sustainable resources for designing their package. Adoption of sustainable packaging techniques is the essential need of the time and it is important to shift to biodegradable resources that can be either recycled or reused. No matter what product you sell, the packaging holds a major criterion for acceptance as it has to be both convenient and sustainable, economically and environmentally.
Eco-friendly package designing essentially refers to using environment-friendly materials for the packaging of a product in order to contribute to reducing the plastic waste created by business organizations every day. In today’s business market it is important to keep in mind several factors while considering the packaging of a product—it has to be convenient, eye-catchy as well as durable. The high competition in the business market makes it difficult for all organizations to make a mark in the packaging industry. Eco-friendly solutions like the use of paper bags or paper boxes can be considered as an effective means to combat the use of plastic for packaging purposes.
In order to meet the standard of the current business market, it has become mandatory to be a conscious stakeholder in the process and meet the requirements for environmental responsibilities. Companies that do not meet the requirement standard can be labelled as environmentally reckless and unfit to work at an international level. Along with that, the rapid degradation in the environment has made the customers more environmentally conscious than before. Businesses as well as individuals prefer to work with eco-friendly alternatives that would reduce their harmful impact on the environment. Hence, opting for packaging options that do not involve the use of non-biodegradable materials can be considered the most sustainable method to selling manufactured products.
The most important innovation in the packaging industry is related to producing completely biodegradable packaging products that can be used instead of plastic. Many Companies have started hiring agencies that produce biodegradable packaging products using paper, bamboo or corn starch. Biodegradable boxes or compostable bags can be made out of cardboard or biodegradable plastic, which is a better alternative to the regular plastic that is used. Paper cardboards are sufficiently available as a resource and can be composted at a fast rate. Replacing plastic with biodegradable alternatives can have significant effect on the environment and its sustainability.
However, simply substituting plastic with paper might not always be the most eco-friendly way after all. Extensive use of paper could lead to rampant deforestation, which is not at all an environment-friendly option to packaging. Instead, recyclable or reusable products can be used to make a greater difference in the process of eco-friendly packaging. Using products like glass for packaging can be considered eco-friendly as it can be reused multiple times without generating toxic waste. Being eco-friendly does not stop at banning plastic; rather, it encourages the widespread use of other alternative products that can be sufficiently reduced, reused and recycled. Several biodegradable materials can now be used to produce eco-friendly packaging options.
The benefits of eco-packaging are majorly related to the conservation of environment and its resources. With the rapidly changing business environment, resources are falling short and the demand for products is ever-increasing. The shortage of available resources indicates towards the need of adopting eco-packaging designs for sustainability. Eco-packaging reduces the stress on environment caused due to the packaging processes involving plastic or other non-biodegradable substances. Eco-packaging makes way for enhanced sustainability as it involves innovative techniques that do not affect the environment adversely. Steffani Cameron describes in her article “What is Eco-Friendly Packaging?” how the designing and production of suitable packages require adequate investment of resources and therefore eco-packaging emphasizes on reusable products like glass containers, which need to be produced only once and can be reused multiple times until it gets broken.
Eco-packaging increases the sustainability of a business as it makes responsible use of available resources and takes care of its environmental impacts. By using compostable containers, an organization can contribute to the protection of environment. In the long-run it is not only cost-effective but also a responsible way to conduct business. After all, the more we take care of our environment, the more suitable will it be for our businesses.
Kevin Keating highlights in his article “Eco-Friendly packaging: What Consumers Really Want” that most consumers today are more aware of their surroundings and how their actions impact their surroundings. He states that most consumers are willing to pay a higher price for a product that is environment-friendly and sustainable. Consumers believe that by buying products from socially responsible organizations also imply their contribution towards the environment. Therefore, most consumers are more comfortable doing business with organizations that are socially responsible and conscious regarding the failing environment.
However, studies have shown that most consumers follow the visual cues of packaging more than the environmental ones. More than sustainability, consumers are attracted by the design and print on the package, irrespective of their environmental impacts. Nevertheless, the importance of eco-friendly packaging is increasing day by day and more consumers are choosing environmentally responsible options over the ones that degrade the environment.