Think about it – the packaging that you choose to display and preserve your product can be the very first interaction that a consumer has with your company and your brand. With only a small space to sell this brand as well as the product inside, it’s well worth getting right.

In an ever-growing eco-conscious society, it’s now not enough to just create a well-designed product that serves its purpose and stands out on the shelf. That’s only half the battle. Companies need to also be aware that consumers now really care about what their packaging is made of.

Unique packaging
photo credit: Hubble / Unsplash

Arguably, this shift in consumer behaviour is the result of the widely reported effect of waste packaging materials on the environment. This has led to a more cautious approach to shopping, with many consumers actively trying to decrease their plastic consumption in a bid to shop more sustainably.

Plastic pollution

Each year, around 300 million tons of plastic is produced worldwide. Of this, 50% is single-use plastic which is effectively useless after it’s served its purpose. While some plastic can be recycled, much of it has to go to landfill or ends up being disposed of incorrectly, damaging the environment.

To counteract this, there has been an increase in reusable plastics – however, it’s still hard to come across a product that isn’t packed in plastic. In fact, 40% of the plastic produced worldwide is made into some form of packaging!

To add to the issue, waste plastic that is not disposed of safely can cause a number of environmental issues including injury – and even death – in fish and animals. It can also cause contamination of food and water as microplastics work their way up through the food chain. With an estimated 8 million tons of plastic still finding its way into the oceans each year, it is so important that more businesses begin to implement more sustainable forms of packaging.

Compostable packaging example
photo credit: TylerPackaging.co.uk

Compostable packaging

The good news is that, although there is still a way to go, many companies around the world are choosing to move towards more environmentally friendly packaging choices. These include reusable or recyclable packaging and also compostable packaging.

It is important not to confuse the terms biodegradable and compostable when deciding on sustainable packaging. Biodegradable means the packaging can be broken down by bacteria or other living organisms, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe for the environment. Compostable on the other hand, means the packaging is made from organic matter and can actually break down to form a nutrient-rich compost.

This nutrient-rich compost acts as a natural fertiliser that gives plants the right nutrients to grow healthy and strong. It can also help to neutralise soils contaminated by hazardous waste. Compostable materials also help to promote biodiversity, supporting an important and prolific ecosystem. It reduces the amount of waste we produce, lessening our reliance on landfills and it can even capture and destroy 99.9% of chemicals in contaminated air.

Businesses around the globe have a responsibility to provide consumers with a sustainable way of shopping, and actually, 49% of consumers are willing to pay a bit more for eco-friendly packaging. Now could be the ideal time for your business to move towards a greener way of packaging your products.