The Benefits of Sustainable Packaging

What is sustainability?

Irreversible changes in the Earth’s climate systems are underway, with climate scientists warning that if humans don’t address their actions, then global temperatures could increase by 5 degrees Celsius; raising sea levels by 20 – 30 feet, which will make large parts of the planet uninhabitable, with a complete loss of the world’s coral reefs, and amazon rainforest.  

Sustainability is the avoidance of depleting natural resources in an effort to help retain an ecological balance, and to prevent the tipping point of global warming. There are three pillars of sustainability: Social, Economic, and Environment. None of the pillars have a clear and consistent definition, yet true sustainability is said to occur when the three pillars are balanced and in equanimity with one another.

Social sustainability:

Also referred to as the ‘people’ pillar of sustainability. Social stainability involves giving priority to the welfare of a given set of workers in a company, community, or the globe. Social responsibility includes environmental justice, human health, resource security, education, and other important social elements within society.

Economic sustainability: 

Also referred to as the ‘profit’ pillar. This pillar requires a business to allocate financial resources in a responsible way, so that it will allow them to be used on a long-term basis. Equally important for economic sustainability, is to make money and grow a company without negatively impacting the other two pillars, people, planet, or environment. Economic sustainability includes job creation, profitability, and proper accounting of ecosystem services for optimum cost-benefit analyses.

Environmental sustainability:

Environmental sustainability focuses on the well-being and health of the environment. The pillar includes water quality, air quality, and the reduction of environmental contaminators, such as greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the problem?

Plastic manufacturing began in the 1950s, and since its launch, the globe has produced nine billion metric tons, with more than half of it ending up as waste material. 141 million tons of plastic packaging continues to be produced globally every year.

A third of the plastic packaging entered into global markets leaks from collection systems. The production, use and disposal of which contributes to about 1.8 billion tons of carbon emissions annually. The UK has sent 446,000 tons of packaging to landfill since 2013.

As a result of this, attitudes are changing in the UK and across the globe that aims to reduce the statistic of harmful waste products that are worsening our ecosystems. In 2016, the UK achieved a 44.9% recycling rate, with 60 – 70% of surveyed consumers suggesting that they would pay more for sustainable packaging.

What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging is packaging that is more sustainable or better for the environment than regular packaging. In order to determine whether or not the packaging is earth friendly, manufacturers such as Perfection Box will conduct a full life-cycle assessment as a means of determining a product’s environmental impact – rather than solely looking at what they’re made of.

How is your packaging recycled?

The following is a step-by-step depiction of a typical recycling process:

1.      Collection

At first, the recyclable packaging is collected and taken to their respective recycling facilities.

2.      Sorting

Once the packaging has been collected, they need to then be sorted into their respective materials. Machines are the driving force for sorting the materials depending on certain properties such as weight/mass, material type, colour, and how the material was made.

3.      Washing

Materials such as plastic must be washed in order to reduce impurities, such as: labels, food and drink residue, and adhesives.

4.      Resizing

Also referred to as ‘pulping’ or ‘shredding’ for some materials. In the case of plastic, the material is shredded into granules that are relatively equal sizes, making them easier to process, transport and reshape.

5.      Separation

The granules are then identified and separated further, depending on their density, how thick or thin the particles are, their melting point, and colouring. The separated plastics are processed all together.

6.      Compounding

Finally, the granules that match one another are smashed and melted together into pellets. These pellets then serve as the material that can be processed into other products.

What are the benefits of using sustainable packaging?

Improving your brand:

Using sustainable packaging allows you to better fulfill your corporate social responsibility. In doing so, you are able to ensure that your brand, business, and products are received better by your target market. In contemporary markets, people are more willing to buy from companies that are willing to invest in doing good for the environment.

Targeting the green market:

There is currently a growing market for consumers who will buy ‘green’ products wherever possible but are willing to spend more in order to assure they are able to do so. Using recyclable and sustainable packaging will help you reposition your business in order to better target this market.

Increased customer satisfaction:

When a customer is able to see that it is much easier to recycle or dispose of your products, they will incur a higher level of satisfaction from buying your product. 

Increased sales:

Expanding your market reach by targeting new demographics, improving your brand image, and increasing both customer loyalty and satisfaction, it’s likely that you will incur an increase in sales.

Potential cost reductions:

Although switching to recyclable packaging may require an initial investment, it is possible that it will reduce future costs, as less materials will be wasted or charged as waste.

Savings in logistics:

By reducing the volume of materials required to deliver your product – through switching to more eco-friendly packaging design – you can reduce transit costs, storage costs and warehouse costs, leading to stronger profit margins.

Conclusion

As highlighted above, there is a severe demand for sustainability initiatives in today’s world. If something is not done to drastically reduce our carbon footprint and level of waste produced as a species, then we will force the world into a tipping point of no return – increasing sea levels by 20 – 30 feet; eliminating many places on earth, including all of our coral reefs, and the Amazon rainforest.

Attitudes are changing around the globe in support of sustainability, with more and more businesses taking the initiative to change their packaging so that it involves more renewable materials. 60-70% of surveyed consumers suggest that they would pay more for sustainable packaging.

If you are looking to get on board and contribute in your own way to the reduction of carbon emissions across the globe by changing your packaging, then here at Perfection Box, we are here to help. Whether you would like bespoke postage boxes, or you are building your own box, requiring cardboard moving boxes, cardboard storage boxes, cardboard pallet boxes, or cardboard post boxes, we will have you covered.  Be sure to contact us for more information on how we can help you to make a difference!