In recent years, there has been a significant surge in the demand for sustainably produced goods. With the average consumer now being well-informed about environmental concerns like climate change and plastic pollution, brands across all industries are under mounting pressure to fulfil their sustainability commitments.
Whilst luxury brands are increasingly recognising the importance of sustainability, many still find the idea of sustainable packaging daunting. The perception that sustainable packaging can detract from the luxury appeal of a product can be a significant barrier to entry for brands looking to make the switch. However, with the right approach, sustainable packaging can help luxury brands appeal to conscious consumers while still retaining their high-end image.
In this article, we explore five ways luxury brands can work with sustainable packaging, whilst retaining that all important luxury feel.
1. Work with responsibly sourced materials
Luxury brands can make a considerable change to their sustainability by transitioning to responsibly sourced materials. These may include materials derived from highly renewable or well-maintained resources, such as FSC-certified forests, or those made from recycled materials.
When sourcing materials, it’s crucial to consider the ethical aspect. Eco-friendly materials should be farmed and manufactured in a fair and safe manner for both the workers involved and the communities residing in that area.
Just because a material is responsibly and naturally sourced, that doesn’t mean it can’t be made to look and feel like luxury. The luxury fashion brand Burberry have recently launched a brand-new packaging campaign that is aligned with their movement towards eliminating waste. Their new paper packaging solution utilises FSC-certified virgin pulp blended with fiber from recycled coffee cups and continues to resonate with their brand’s luxury heritage. Take a look for yourself!
2. Understand the value of plastics
Although there is an understandable stigma attached to the use of plastics, it’s important for luxury brands to recognise that plastic isn’t all that bad. It’s not as black and white.
Because not all plastics are the same, some yield a greater value and are therefore more desirable in the recycling stream. On the other hand, there are lower-value (typically single-use plastics) that are harder to recycle and are more likely to be discarded and end up in landfill.
On top of this, plastics have certain benefits that can’t always be easily replicated by alternative materials. At their very core, they’re lightweight and durable, making them cost-effective and easy to transport as well as having a smaller carbon footprint in transit.
In short, it’s crucial to understand that in certain contexts, the use of traditional plastics such as PET may be a favourable option.
3. Concentrate on making recycling easy
The goal for a sustainable packaging solution that isn't designed for reuse is to achieve full recyclability. To achieve this, the package should be made from recyclable materials – fairly obvious, right? However, less obvious considerations include factors such as the packaging being made from one material making it easier to recycle without disassembling as well as the inks used and the overall structure of the package, such as how it fits together.
An easily recyclable package may utilise soy inks and water-based adhesives, which are recyclable-friendly, and can be easily separated into individual components by the end-user.
A popular eco-friendly approach is the mono-material package, which is made entirely from one type of recyclable material such as tin, paper, or one type of plastic. Such packages are easier to recycle and require less energy during the recycling process since there is no need to separate out different materials.
In the luxury sector, there may be some hesitancy to adopt such a stripped-back approach. Nevertheless, in some cases, this minimalistic approach may be the perfect solution for a straightforward product. Think facial care, lipstick, and anything else in between.
4. Encourage package retention
Encouraging end-users to retain packaging is a simple way to prevent it from ending up in landfills.
The most straightforward method is to increase the perceived value of the package by using premium materials and finishes or adding a touch of personalisation.
To promote retention, luxury brands can also use their creativity to take a luxury package beyond its primary purpose. They can design packages with interactive or playable online features, or produce packages that have a clear secondary function, such as a jewellery box for example. These innovative and modern approaches to packaging can encourage consumers to keep the package for long-term use.
5. Collaborate with like-minded packaging suppliers
True sustainability is never achieved through the efforts of a lone business. It must be a collective effort that involves a host of participating parties throughout the lifecycle of a product. From the sourcing of materials through to manufacturing and supplying, sustainability must be achieved at every level to make a real impact.
Luxury brands should collaborate with like-minded packaging suppliers who share their sustainability values and goals. By working together, such suppliers can help luxury brands stay up to date with the latest sustainable packaging trends and innovations, enhancing the brand’s reputation and appeal to eco-conscious consumers.
Sustainable packaging solutions from the experts
At Swiftpak, we pride ourselves on delivering the very best sustainable luxury packaging solutions. With over 45 years’ experience and a trusted in-house packaging design team, we can ensure a successful solution that your business deserves.
If you’re interested in making the most out of your packaging, get in touch with our expert team today. We’d love to show you how our bespoke packaging process can drive business growth.