Sustainable Product Packaging Materials: Cardboard Boxes and More
Now, modern businesses are increasing their demand on packaging materials, not only because it is cost-effective, but they are also helping the environment. Companies all over the world are increasingly becoming aware of its importance and they are continually finding ways to contribute and do their share in protecting our natural resources.
And because sustainable packaging materials target the process of manufacturing, it is much more involved than just producing packaging.
For instance, the packaging manufacturing cycle currently includes the following: mining, extracting, or harvesting of raw materials, production of materials and supplier operations, packaging production and assembly, order fulfillment and distribution, retail sales, consumer use and maintenance, and packaging end-of-life (EOL).
The design process of sustainable packaging, therefore, must be carefully researched, designed, and implemented to maintain product integrity while minimizing costs.
In a sustainable packaging life cycle, however, intermediary steps are introduced in the manufacturing process to ensure the resulting products are sustainable to a socio-environmental and socio-economic standard in addition to being eco-efficient.
Below are three of the sustainable packaging materials that are widely used in the marketplace:
Safer Plastics -- Plastics are known as an evil packaging material, but that is not always true. Certain types of plastic, such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride, or vinyl), do have a negative environmental impact. While PVC is strong and versatile, its durability also makes the material difficult to break down after disposal. Other types of plastic, such as polystyrene (best known for its use in Styrofoam) are notoriously difficult to recycle. Safer plastics include recycled PET (RPET), which is produced with recycled water bottles and soda bottles. Minimizing the amount of plastic used in packaging can also help reduce costs and waste.
Corrugated Cardboard Boxes- Best known for its simple yet effective design of wavy, fluted mediums between linerboards, corrugated cardboard is one of the most affordable and recycled materials developed. Made with recycled materials, cardboard is widely reused again and again in both offices and homes, mainly for storing and moving items. Its versatility allows the material to be customized for any shape or size, which reduces wasted material and helps cut costs associated with fuel for shipping.
Inks and Adhesives - For comprehensive sustainable packaging solutions, make sure to not overlook the details! Water- and soy-based inks are eco-friendly alternatives to the more traditional oil-based materials. Water-based adhesives eliminate the sticky contaminants and residue often left on packages by chemical-based glues, which can deem the package no longer recyclable.
Many businesses are fully invested in being responsible socially and ecologically and would want to be branded as such. In addition, the benefits of reducing operating costs by creating a more efficient process and, thereby, minimizing waste, is very appealing to cost-conscious companies.