Wholesale packaging is an essential aspect of any business that deals with large quantities of physical products. Not only does it offer protection during delivery and storage but allows for cost savings through bulk wholesale discounts. But despite the good, there is a common misconception that wholesale packaging is inherently unsustainable.
Here, we debunk this misconception and explore how sustainability can be integrated with wholesale packaging supplies.
Is wholesale packaging unsustainable?
As mentioned, many might assume that wholesale packaging is not sustainable for the environment. We can see why, and in some cases, it is in fact true. This is largely due to the fact a large volume of materials and resources are used during manufacturing, as well as the energy required to power factories, without any means of offsetting emissions.
However, wholesale packaging, and wholesale in general, can be done sustainably. To achieve this, businesses must look at the entire life cycle. How the packaging is made, how it’s used, and what happens to it after use is crucial. There’s also the size, types of material, and design of the packaging to think about, which can all be optimised to limit the environmental impact and carbon footprint of your business over time.
To put things into perspective, sustainable packaging can be defined using the following criteria:
- Is beneficial, safe and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle
- Optimises the use of renewable or recycled source materials
- Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy
- Effectively uses clean production technologies and best practices
- Meets market criteria for performance and cost
- Is efficiently recovered and utilises biological and/or industrial closed loop cycles
So, where to start with sustainable wholesale packaging?
As a business, sustainability should be integrated into how we think, not just with the goods we purchase. It should be built in from the very beginning, starting with your chosen wholesale packaging supplier.
When choosing a packaging supplier, transparency is key. It’s important to understand the source of materials, their processes as a business, and any other efforts made towards sustainability. A prospective vendor may claim their packaging solutions are ‘green’, without being able to detail how. So, do your research and be sure to partner with a transparent, experienced packaging supplier.
At Swiftpak, we know what it takes to offer truly sustainable packaging solutions. Not only do we offer sustainable packaging solutions, but everything we do is powered by the Swiftpak Impact. This means that as a Carbon Neutral Certified and Certified B Corporation, our mission is to make our customers’ operations as productive and environmentally friendly as possible. Our automated packaging waste reports allow customers to keep track of their impact, whilst our partnership with Ecologi allows for the offsetting of waste through tree planting to make a real impact on atmospheric CO2 levels.
Consider three key elements of sustainable packaging
Moving away from suppliers and focusing on the physical aspect of packaging now, sustainable packaging can be broken down into three main categories: preservation, reduction, and circularity. Whilst a good packaging supplier will help you achieve this as part of your sustainability goals, it’s always helpful to know what to look out for.
So, let’s explore each element of sustainable packaging in detail.
Preservation in packaging refers to the use of materials that promote conservation of the environment, such as those made from renewable resources. This reduces the use of materials that can harm the planet and its inhabitants.
For example, Styrofoam packaging, which takes hundreds of years to decompose, is commonly used as packaging peanuts. Although it has the potential to be sustainable, this depend on proper recycling practices, which is not always reliable from end users.
Made from natural, nontoxic sources, paper alternatives to traditional plastic packaging fillers are a great sustainable solution. Solutions such as honeycomb paper wrap, are designed to be easily recycled after use, and provide complete protection for fragile parcels.
Reducing packaging materials is a crucial aspect of increasing sustainability. For your wholesale packaging, this can be achieved to a higher standard using bespoke packaging solutions and for stock packaging, you can look to cut down on material usage where possible. For example, using a smaller standard size box that minimises voids for a reduction in void material usage. Or stretch wrap that is pre-stretched or stretched through a machine to significantly reduce material usage.
Circularity in packaging involves the use of recycled content and reusable products to minimise unsustainable material usage. This means using packaging that can be widely and easily recycled to be used again, and packaging that can be reused as packaging or repurposed after use for maximum return on the material.
When looking to place your wholesale packaging order, think about each of the three elements explained above. If it ticks all three, you’re one step closer to a sustainable packaging solution.
Achieve sustainable wholesale packaging with Swiftpak
In a world full of plastic-riddled oceans and excessive global warming, we’re on a mission to help make a positive impact alongside our customers. Why not join us towards a greener future in packaging? We offer free, non-obligation packaging audits that provide in-depth analysis and solutions on ways to reduce your environmental impact. Contact our friendly team today or explore our sustainable packaging solutions. Together, we can make a real difference.