By now, we’re all aware of how important it is to reduce our impact on the environment. Not just in our personal day-to-day lives, but at a wider scale with the need for sustainable business decisions too. .
There are many ways to reduce the environmental impacts of a business – such as local sourcing, increased remote working, and reduced energy consumption. But what many don’t realise is the full extent of many packaging materials that are negatively affecting our planet.
Starting from production, through to the transportation of packaging, then onto the retailer and consumer, this is a process that often generates a significant footprint.
Because of this, a continuous wave of innovative and sustainable packaging alternatives hit the market - and we’re here to enlighten you with five of the best to consider as a business.
So, if you’re looking to become more sustainable as a business, read on as we explore sustainable packaging alternatives worth considering.
1. Paper bubble wrap
Bubble wrap, everyone’s familiar with bubble wrap. It helps to protect fragile items during shipment, and is then found by a child and popped until no more bubbles remain.
Although bubble wrap offers adequate protection for fragile items during shipment (as well as a five-minute distraction for kids), it’s made from plastic – so not the most eco-friendly packaging out there.
Thankfully, though, there’s an eco-friendly alternative to bubble wrap that works just as well, if not better.
Not only is Paper bubble wrap 100% recyclable and biodegradable, its highly absorbent against external factors, making it a fantastic replacement for bubble wrap.
Paper bubble wrap can often be purchased in a variety of colours as well, giving you the option for a more ‘on brand’ package that your customers will remember.
2. Paper tape
Sticky tape, Sellotape, plastic tape, however you refer to it, it’s not a sustainable solution for sealing your package. The main reason being it consist of polypropylene and therefore cannot be recycled.
Paper tape on the other hand is a sustainable solution for sealing your package, and comes in a variety of types to suit your packaging requirements.
There’s regular paper tape, reinforced paper tape, machine tape, paper tape with branding, whatever you need, you’ll find a paper tape solution that does the job for you.
3. Cornstarch packaging
Over the past few years, cornstarch has become increasingly popular as a material used for packaging. It often replaces the traditional polystyrene which is disposed of in landfill but unable to fully degrade.
An example of cornstarch being used in packaging is with PLA, a completely biodegradable product with insulating properties ideal for food and pharmaceutical deliveries.
To learn more about cornstarch and PLA packaging, view our ultimate guide to PLA. Here we talk about the process of manufacturing, the limited impact it has on the environment, and the many advantages this packaging an bring to your business.
4. Biodegradable foam chips (packaging peanuts)
There are several reasons why traditional packing peanuts are no longer used to the same extent they once were. The biggest reason? Their environmental impact around the world. Traditional packaging peanuts are made from a polystyrene foam, which contains cancer-causing chemicals.
When these peanuts get disposed of and sent to landfill, they become a threat to waterways and natural ecosystems – extremally dangerous for both humans and animals.
Made from natural, nontoxic sources such as wheat, biodegradable foam chips offer the same protection as traditional peanuts, but without the harmful drawbacks. They dissolve naturally in water and can be thrown into compost piles after use. Also, biodegradable foam chips don’t carry an electrostatic discharge, so won’t stick to your clothes!
5. Sustainable and recycled plastics
Many believe that plastics are the sole problem to our planet’s environmental issues. Although, this isn’t the case. Of course, plastics do play big part in the problem, and we’re not suggesting they’re super eco-friendly, but they’re not all as bad you may think.
Plastic is only deemed harmful to our environment because of the way we, as humans, carelessly dispose of it.
The reality is, most plastics can be recycled many, many times, are extremely durable, and cheap to produce – making it a fairly sustainable material to use for packaging.
Take plastic pallets for example. They can be re-used countless times to support the onloading, offloading, and transportation of packaged goods.
Sustainable packaging alternatives from Swiftpak
At Swiftpak, we strongly believe in supporting the health of our environment and stock a range of sustainable packaging products to help your business do the same.
Whether you’re looking to avoid the plastic packaging tax, or just want to become more eco-friendly as a business, we have the packaging solutions for you.
Contact our expert team today and we’ll guide you in the right direction. We’d love to help fulfil your sustainable packaging needs.