The UK generated 5,533,000 tonnes of paper packaging waste in 2020 (provisional figure from The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs). 66% of this material is already recycled, but we know that we can do better.
According to Wikipedia, “sustainable packaging is the development and use of packaging which results in improved sustainability. This involves increased use of life cycle inventory and life cycle assessment to help guide the use of packaging which reduces the environmental impact and ecological footprint.“
Consider the packaging as an integral part of your product and think how you can make the most of it. Making the packaging reusable in a number of ways, can benefit the environment and your customers.
There are a number of ways that you can give your packaging a second life:
1. Make your packaging something to treasure. Well-designed desirable packaging that customers want to keep and re-use provides a constant reminder of your brand and is a great long-term marketing tool. Design something that adds value and don’t just see your packaging as a means to transit your product from the manufacturing site into the hands of your customer. This keeps your brand in their mind for longer than it takes to consume your product.
2. In the simplest instance your packaging can be reusable for the customer to return products to you. Adding some simple features to your packaging can make it serve as the packaging if a customer needs to return their products. Damage in transit will then be reduced as you aren’t asking your customers to repackage the product in whatever packaging they might have in their kitchen drawer!
3. If you are offering a service (where the customer needs to send you something to work on and then return, e.g. servicing an item) then the packaging needs to survive the journey and the customer will see that you are protecting the environment by reusing the packaging and also caring for their product whilst it is on its journey. You can even use part of the internal packaging to share messages with your customers to show the personal service that you are giving.
4. Once all of these uses have been exhausted then use your packaging to remind and encourage customers to recycle correctly so the packaging ends up in the recycling waste chain and then gets turned into more packaging (recycling rates have dropped from nearly 80% in 2017 to 66% in 2020, partly because we are holding onto old boxes longer than we did before).
Benefits of giving packaging a second life:
- Preservation of the resources of our planet now and for the future.
- Reduction of packaging ending up in landfill if it is correctly labelled and seen as an added value component of the product.
- Increase in brand recognition.
- Less damage to products being returned.
- Customers are looking for companies who are using sustainable packaging.
Giving your packaging a second life, alongside ensuring your packaging is sustainable is the best solution for everyone and the planet, so please bear this in mind when you are designing and using your packaging.
Please get in touch to have a chat about how your packaging can double as your silent sales tool and preserve our planet.