Reduce, reuse and recycle - the mantra of the eco-friendly movement, these three little words are more than an edict. They've grown, evolved and become a tagline for the "green" revolution, and they're ripe for the plucking by savvy business decision-makers.
Packaging fulfillment is an arena readily elevated by embracing this sustainability, both from an in-house standpoint and a direct-to-consumer angle.
What does your packaging look like right at this moment? If you aren't sure or think that there may be room for eco-friendly improvements to your packaging approach, it's time to take a critical look and infuse more green into your business– via your bottom line.
It's Not Just About the Shelves
Packaging at the consumer level is only a fraction of your product's journey from factory to store. How are you currently shipping your product out to retail outlets or end consumers?
If you aren't incorporating recycled materials, you'll eventually get left in the dust. Recycled packing and shipping materials can take a number of forms, such as dissolvable cellulose "peanuts" or recycled cardboard clamshells in lieu of plastic bubble wrap. If appropriate, you might also consider using cast-off product materials. Major tea manufacturer The Republic of Tea packs their DTC products by using tea bag sheet scraps for box filler.
The Big Guys Are Doing It Too
Sustainable packaging fulfillment is no longer the realm of scrappy startups. Heavyweight players like Colgate-Palmolive and Coca-Cola are throwing their sizeable hat in the ring after realizing how much money they could shave off costs by redesigning their packaging.
In the food and drug industry, some boxes are shifting to pouches, which in addition to shipping more easily and passing on an eco-friendly benefit to the consumer, actually help protect the product. In some cases, the new packaging might even help stretch shelf life. The fact that sustainable packaging approaches are just beginning their climb into public awareness works in your favor— by making the switch to pouches, undyed boxes, recycled materials, or other materials that customers currently associate with pricey organics and startups, your product will benefit from a communal "luxury" perception.
Loud and Proud
A sustainable approach to packaging is one of the few ways a company can cut costs and boost consumer engagement and interest at the same time.
Eco-friendly status is an excellent talking point in marketing materials, and it helps to build a positive association with your brand that, if leveraged properly, will be accorded to your product itself.
Take advantage of green initiatives by placing them in high value "real estate" areas in your packaging layout, and don't be shy about mentioning them on websites, in commercials and other consumer outreach points.
An Eye on the Future
The environmentally-friendly approach to business may have started as an unusual twist to snag customer interest, but it's morphed into a culture and expectation. Sustainability has become a goal rather than an attribute.
Governmental and other regulatory bodies are increasingly considering and requiring adherence to certain environment-minded benchmarks— from factory waste output to end consumer castoff. Even taking the long view of recent benchmark rollouts, it's not difficult to see the trend in action and imagine where regulations are heading.
By investing in sustainable packaging fulfillment—for both materials and procedures— before they're mandatory, your company will prevent the costs and delays of production hiatus for retrofitting down the line.
Sustainable packaging processes are beneficial at several points.
- They're more likely to line up with future compliance regulations.
- They help communicate your company's positive ethical stance to the end consumer.
- They offer a tempting bullet point to nearly every form of advertising media.
If you aren't currently using sustainable packaging, talk with your fulfillment team about incorporating eco-friendly materials or procedures. You'll likely notice a positive change very quickly.