4 Sustainable Packaging Practices Small Businesses Can Adopt to Reduce Their Carbon Impact
According to a 2018 UN memo, we have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe.
But unfortunately, no magic bullet can stop climate change.
Recycling alone won’t get us there. Neither will #LivingPlasticFree or shopping locally.
We all need to take stock and figure out new ways we can live sustainably.
For ThreeMain, that means taking a hard look at ourselves and implementing sustainable practices in every area of our operations.
From recyclable refill pouches to naturally-derived formulas, we’re always looking for new ways to reduce our eco-impact. And through our partnership with Salazar Packaging, we’ve even been able to make our packaging sustainable.
Salazar is a packaging company that believes green products should be packaged sustainably.
All of ThreeMain’s delivery boxes are 100% sustainable and 100% recyclable, and we couldn’t have done that without our sustainable packaging partner.
Through our work with Salazar, we’ve learned a lot about sustainable packaging, and today we want to share with you four ways to package your products sustainably so that your small business can be a little greener.
Sure, letting people copy your homework in middle school wasn’t the best idea, but if we’re going to stop climate change in twelve years, everyone needs to share notes.
The more we know, the more we can all do to make an impact.
4 Ways to Package Your Products Sustainably
1) Packing Peanuts Are Out, Inflatable “Void” Fill Bags Are In
If you’ve ordered a product that showed up on your doorstep in a box, chances are that product was insulated with packing peanuts.
Packing peanuts are great at keeping your goods from getting scuffed, marked, or damaged during delivery, but not so great at sustainability.
Packing peanuts are made of a non-recyclable chemical compound called “polystyrene-foam,” a.k.a. “styrofoam,” a.k.a. a carcinogen with occupational and family health hazards built right in.
Basically, traditional packing peanuts are as far away from sustainable as (SPOILER WARNING) the Night King is from sitting on the Iron Throne.
Fortunately, these days there are alternatives you can use to protect your products.
Salazar Packaging uses recyclable, biodegradable, paper-based loose fill inflatable void bags to package products without harming our environment.
That’s a win for the planet and for your customers when they don’t have to spend time vacuuming all those tiny pieces of plastic.
2) Smaller Boxes, Smaller Impact
Have you ever ordered a new toothbrush online and had it delivered in a 2 x 4 cardboard box? (We’re looking at you, Amazon).
There’s no reason to put products in boxes that are two, three, or four times their size, but more companies do it than don’t.
Buying a one-size-fits-all box is easier than buying boxes for each individual product, so a lot of retailers take the easy way out. Unfortunately, all of that extra packing space means excess materials, excess waste, and excess costs.
Using delivery boxes that are sized specifically for your products will not only save you money, but it will also save the environment.
How? Because smaller boxes use fewer materials and are less expensive to produce.
Work with your packaging manufacturer to develop boxes for each one of your products to put your company in a better place fiscally and environmentally.
3) Package With Recycled Materials
By 2050, we might have more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Ocean plastic ends up in the food chain, in our water supply, and eventually in our bodies.
As a planet, we need to reuse and recycle the plastic that’s already out there, rather than creating more.
So instead of buying brand new cardboard or microfilms for your packaging, consider recycled cardboard or plastic.
Using recycled plastic, cardboard, and other similar packaging materials not only removes plastic from our ecosystems, but it also lowers carbon emissions. Making new plastic takes a lot more time, non-renewable resources, and energy than recycling plastic does.
4) Remind Consumers to Recycle!
Let’s say that you’ve aced the sustainable packaging game.
Your boxes are made of recycled materials, they’re perfectly sized, and you’ve ditched the bubble wrap.
Your boxes are even 100% recyclable (go you!). As soon as your customer opens their box, they can throw the whole thing in the recycling bin.
But who’s to say they’ll remember to do that?
Habits are hard to break, and most people just aren’t in the habit of recycling.
It’s important to include a reminder on your packaging that keeps the cycle of reducing, reusing, and recycling going.
You’d surprised how big of an impact a simple “Recycle this box!” message can have.
We’ve learned a lot about sustainable packaging by working with Salazar Packaging, but we want to hear from you, too! Tell us out about your favorite sustainable packaging ideas below in the comments.
Want to learn more about what you can do to make your business more sustainable? Check out our guide on How to Create Sustainable Communities.