Reduce, recycle, reuse. Three basic commands that require an exponential effort to implement. Of course, all businesses want to be environmentally friendly, and as the government incentivizes “green” business practices, the push to be eco-friendly only grows. But how does a company change its production process to accommodate evolving expectations around recyclability?
A business can only improve its environmental impact by gathering data about its current carbon footprint. So, the first order of business when planning to reduce eco-impact should always be seeking professional carbon footprint analysis. Thorough carbon footprint analysis gives businesses the crucial information they need to structure a plan for reducing their negative environmental impact.
The packaging industry, in particular, should undertake carbon footprint analysis regularly. Eager to shed its place as the #1 offending industry when it comes to plastic waste, the packaging industry is in the midst of a transformation. An industry-wide shift is occurring. Companies are moving away from using pollutive materials like styrofoam and toward products made of recyclable plastic, paper, and composite products.
Once packaging producers have had a comprehensive carbon footprint analysis, they can reduce their negative environmental impact by switching to sustainable packaging. The following are 5 ways in which packaging companies can begin this process.
5 Ways To Switch to Sustainable Packaging after Carbon Footprint Analysis
- Sustainable & Biodegradable Materials
The best way to reduce the footprint of your packaging is to change your packaging itself. Use biodegradable materials, including
– Organic or Recyclable Fabric
Be sure to review the production costs of these products before blindly grabbing the first “sustainable” label. Emissions associated with shipping and manufacturing can compound quickly, potentially negating the positive impact of switching materials.
Using recycled materials in packaging is a great option when weighing the results of your carbon footprint analysis. As with sustainable materials, however, it is essential to look at the change holistically. For example, paper is less hearty than glass or metals and can often cost more financially and environmentally than non-recycled alternatives.
Recyclable plastics are an excellent alternative, as they are often made from recycled plastic, and are fit for recycling after use.
On the flip side of the recycled materials coin are recyclable materials. The secret here is to use standard materials compatible with established, widespread recycling processes. Think locally – make sure your packaging can be put in the recycling bin at the mall food court and still make it to a second use. Such packaging should be easily disassembled and have clear instructions for sorting.
- Communicate With Customers
Informing customers that you are investing in the environment by changing your packaging goes a long way in building consumer goodwill. For example, a two-cent increase in unit price becomes much more palatable for buyers when the packaging clearly explains that the increase has been done for the sake of the environment and recyclability.
The easiest step to reducing the footprint of a consumer-facing packaging business is to make a renewed commitment to reducing waste. Minimizing packaging is a good place to start. Removing extraneous layers of packaging, eliminating styrofoam peanuts, limiting bubble wrap, reducing the use of adhesives, and printing directly on packages to eliminate labels are all excellent strategies to significantly cut down on material waste.
Comprehensive carbon footprint analysis is the first step to improving your carbon footprint. Contact Becher Plastics today for more information about how you can make a more positive environmental impact.