Sustainable Packaging Examples, Ideas & How To Get Started

Eco-conscious brands should consider packaging made of sustainable materials. If being earth-friendly is a big part of your brand, it is also possible to use connected packaging solutions to inform and engage consumers. Discover the latest options for sustainable or recyclable pouch packaging and find out how to make the switch.

What Is Sustainable Packaging?

Packaging that can be recycled and used again is considered sustainable. For example, polyethylene packaging meets the How2Recycle #2 Resin Identification Code for HDPE recycling streams and can be marked with a store drop-off symbol. 

Companies that prioritize sustainability should factor in every layer of film used in packaging. Monomaterial packaging is the most readily recyclable, but may not provide the protection from air and moisture that products require. When different types of resins are combined, packaging may become more difficult to recycle and less sustainable.

The results of a recent survey of more than 15,000 consumers in the United States, South America and Europe found that two out of three participants considered environmentally friendly packaging important. Nearly three-fourths of the respondents were willing to pay more for products in eco-friendly packaging.

How To Get Started with Making The Switch to Sustainable Packaging Materials

Once a company makes pursuing sustainable packaging a priority, it can be helpful to reach out to a packaging provider that specializes in sustainable materials and digital printing. These services work with brands to create sustainable custom printed stand up pouches, lay flat pouches, films and rollstock.

In addition to the packaging materials a producer chooses to use, it is also important to factor in the ink used to print packaging. Polymer-based inks are compostable and are not a source of hazardous air pollutants. These services may also offer solventless lamination, which can help to keep volatile organic compounds out of packaged products.

Once a brand selects sustainable packaging materials and printing methods, there are many options for package design. For the best outcomes in terms of disposal, brands should display appropriate recycling codes or symbols on packaging.

Sustainable Packaging Examples and Ideas

Product packaging made of Mylar or polyethylene is sustainable and can display high-resolution designs. The increasing adoption of sustainability as a shared priority for consumer packaged goods means that packaging does not literally have to “go green” to draw attention to brands’ focus on sustainability.

In addition to package designs that display recycling codes, smart packaging with a QR code can direct consumers to a webpage describing the environmental focus of a brand or product. From sourcing and production to distribution and disposal, the packaging materials and design of products can focus attention on sustainability.

Switching over to sustainable or recyclable packaging is not prohibitively expensive with the right approach. Working with the right packaging supplier and printing service can make it possible to order smaller minimum print run sizes. Look for a company that offers recyclable or compostable materials, polymer-based inks that do not release hazardous air pollutants and solventless lamination. Changing packaging materials and methods is an important step toward reducing any brand’s carbon footprint.

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