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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: 10 Ways To Create More Sustainable Packaging Designs

December 10, 2018

It’s hard to believe, but packaging accounts for one third of all trash in the United States. Most packaging that ends up in landfills can’t be recycled or degrade on its own. But packaging doesn’t have to be so wasteful. That’s why Orora is committed to helping customers find ways to decrease the effects packaging has on the environment.

By focusing on the three Rs of Sustainability – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - we’ve outlined 10 ways to create more sustainable packaging designs.

  1. Reduce the amount of packaging material used
    43% of consumers believe products are over-packaged or contain too much packaging material. Often, companies use too much packaging, package products incorrectly, or haven’t considered, newer more sustainable alternatives to the materials they have used for years. It is important to audit what you are packaging and how it is shipped in order to evaluate new alternatives that can reduce the overall amount of packaging material used. For example, switching from a multi-box master pack of one large box filled with multiple smaller boxes to shrink film when shipping products to a store to be sold on retail shelves can dramatically reduce the amount of packaging materials used.
  1. Reduce the amount of packaging that end up in landfills
    Packaging doesn’t have to be big and bulky. Develop packaging that takes up less space in a landfill by switching to materials that can be crushed or can degrade over time.
  2. Reduce the overall size of the packaging 
    With the rise of dimensional weight pricing and customer demand for more environmentally-friendly packaging, it is critical to develop packaging solutions that are based on understanding how the product is going to be shipped, stored and sold in order to design packaging that ships more efficiently.
  3. Reduce the amount of energy used in the manufacturing process
    Design packaging that uses less total energy required to produce, pack and transport it.
  4. Reduce the use of hazardous chemicals used in the manufacturing process
    Reduce or eliminate toxic materials in the manufacturing process that harm the environment. For example, switch to non-solvent, water-based inks and manufacturing processes instead of traditional label printing techniques or packaging techniques that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  5. Create reusable packaging
    Design packaging that can be reused for other purposes. In the e-commerce industry for example, switching from a corrugated box to a mailer with two seals creates a reusable packaging solution for the customer. The mailer bag can be shipped to the customer, and the customer can reuse the same bag with the secondary seal to return the item if needed.
  6. Create packaging that can be manufactured using renewable resources
    Partner with a packaging solutions provider that utilizes water, solar, and wind to manufacture packaging materials. For example, Orora utilizes these renewable energy sources to manufacture many of its packaging materials today, such as glass and corrugated.
  7. Increase the use of recycled content
    Switching from packaging materials that contain virgin materials such as virgin corrugated or virgin resins is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to create more sustainable packaging. For example, switching from PE foam end caps to 100% recycled corrugated end caps can provide the same level of protection.
  8. Increase the recyclability and recoverability of materials
    Use materials that have high recycled content or consumers can easily recycle curbside or at a local recycling center. For example, changing from wooden crates to megaboard boxes made of 100% recycled corrugated to ship products internationally or across coasts is a great way to improve the sustainability of your packaging.
  9. Use more biodegradable and compostable materials
    Increase the use of materials that can naturally degrade back into the environment. For example, switching from packaging materials such as bubble with high plastic content to a paper based cushioning material such as Ranpak WrapPak can create a more compostable solution.

It is important to focus on creating more sustainable packaging designs in order to meet consumers demands. They want to see change in the packaging industry—and they’re willing to pay for it. Recent polls reveal that 66% of all online consumers will pay more for products from environmentally conscious companies and 53% said they were willing to pay more for sustainable packaging options.

In addition, switching to sustainable packaging options is now often just as cost-effective as alternative packaging designs. Making this change can often lead to reduced time to package products, reduced material costs, and reduced freight costs.

For your next design project, consider working with Orora’s design teams to help bring the vision of a more sustainable packaging design to life. Our packaging experts and designers are constantly focused on reducing the amount of packaging used in designs and reducing packaging’s impact on the environment.

Let us help you create a more sustainable packaging design. Get started here!