Where Are All the Great Sustainable Packaging Options?

Where Are All the Great Sustainable Packaging Options?

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This put up is generously sponsored by noissue, whose aim is to make sustainable packaging simple, so you may get again to what’s most essential: your enterprise. As at all times, EcoCult solely works with manufacturers who we belief are making the world a greater place. Use code ECOCULT21 to get 10% off your first order.

Despite the truth that sustainable purchasing has turn out to be way more accessible than it was a decade in the past, and consumers are in fact buying more sustainably-marketed consumer goods, packaging remains to be a nightmare for each manufacturers and customers. Why does it appear so unattainable to seek out actually eco-friendly packaging choices? Why does it look like there may be at all times extra packaging than crucial concerned in getting a product from A to B? Why are there such large minimums? And does eco-friendly packaging need to be so ugly?

Problem #1: Excessive Packaging

Those of us who’re aware in regards to the quantity of waste we produce (as customers and enterprise house owners alike) get pissed off once we order one thing from a accountable firm or manufacturing unit, solely to seek out out it comes with an extreme quantity of packaging. Is it essential to have 5 completely different layers of paper and plastic in between the skin world and my merchandise? Unfortunately, the reply is: possibly. 

As the VP of sustainability, product, and enterprise technique at Mara Hoffman pointed out, if every part wasn’t shipped in some form of protecting materials, there’s a extremely good probability that by the point it received to you, it wouldn’t be within the good situation that you just’re anticipating from a model new merchandise. Especially in the event you’re ordering from a bigger model, your product goes by so many units of palms earlier than it will get to you that it must be packaged in one thing that’s each water repellent and sturdy sufficient to maintain the product intact amidst lots of turbulent journey. Patagonia’s extensive case study experiment proves that it is a fairly troublesome downside to unravel, particularly for bigger manufacturers which have extra advanced manufacturing processes.

Then there are the security considerations. Food packaging presents an extra set of issues as a result of they need to adjust to FDA security requirements, which prohibit food to be packaged in recycled plastic. Of course, merchandise like medical tools, drugs, and dietary supplements have to satisfy strict packaging requirements for hygienic and sterilization causes. The Chicago Tylenol murders in 1982, for instance, led to reforms of packaging for over-the-counter substances. Now, you’ll by no means discover OTC treatment within the U.S. that doesn’t have no less than two to 4 layers of packaging round it. Of course, that is much less of an issue in the case of trend, however nonetheless price contemplating within the larger image of packaging.

noissue ethical packaging

noissue ethical packaging

Problem #2: Non-Biodegradable, Non-Recyclable Materials

Of course, as a result of it must be water and tear resistant, most of this packaging is plastic. Sure, a few of it may be recycled, however most of it might’t. (And recycling shouldn’t be our first selection anyway—it nonetheless requires lots of fossil fuels.) Take the dreadful polybag, for instance. Pretty a lot every part you purchase on-line—from electronics and attire to dwelling items and meals—comes wrapped in a skinny, polyethylene, virgin plastic bag. They’re made out of the identical materials that plastic grocery purchasing baggage are, besides they haven’t come underneath any public scrutiny so there aren’t any bans, taxes, or disgrace for utilizing them. Sure, they’re technically recyclable in some locations, however they’re so low-cost and infrequently contaminated that even when customers really put within the effort to take them to the offered bin on the grocery retailer (since you’ll be able to’t put them in your curbside recycling), only a percentage of the baggage really get recycled into one thing new. (Keep studying for a way noissue is fixing our #polybagproblems.)

Problem #3: ‘Biodegradable Plastic’ Greenwashing

With elevated consciousness about how horrible single-use plastic is for our planet, ‘biodegradable plastic’ is popping up in every single place. These supplies are plant-based options that are supposed to clear up lots of the issues that plastic does (water resistance, and so forth.), however are produced from pure supplies and supposedly biodegradable. The downside: it’s extraordinarily exhausting to inform which of those ‘biodegradable plastic’ merchandise are literally biodegradable, and which of them actually aren’t.

Some of these kinds of bio-plastics merely break down into smaller and smaller items, inflicting microplastics or plastic-like bits which can be perhaps more destructive and even more durable to wash from our lands and waterways than complete plastic merchandise. Others, primarily oxo-biodegradable merchandise, rarely even break down at all. And others nonetheless can really be composted, nevertheless it must be at an industrial facility, not your yard compost (which means customers are a lot much less more likely to really get that good to the required location the place it may be damaged down correctly).

What To Look for In Eco-Friendly Packaging

Despite these issues, nonetheless, there are sustainable packaging choices on the market. Whether you’re a model trying to uplevel your sustainability efforts or a client who desires to have the ability to extra simply determine an organization’s eco-friendly packaging practices, right here’s what to search for:

Paper Over Plastic: Again, generally plastic remains to be unavoidable, however when attainable, paper is at all times higher as a result of it’s renewable and naturally biodegradable.

When Choosing Paper, Go for FSC Certified: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies that any product that comes from a forest has been sourced in an environmentally-friendly, socially-responsible, and economically viable method.

Safe, Non-Toxic Dyes: Packaging is most frequently bleached and dyed utilizing chemical substances which can be dangerous for not solely the setting, however for these dealing with the product as properly. Look for pure, unhazardous dyes like soy as an alternative of conventional petroleum-based ink. It’s additionally a lot simpler to recycle paper that’s been dyed with soy.

Acid-Free Paper: Paper that has acid in it’s what causes it to turn out to be yellow, brittle, fade, and general deteriorate over time. Buying acid-free paper not solely means it can last more and may be reused extra, however you additionally received’t have to fret about it deteriorating in the event you purchase in bulk and retailer it in your workshop. It additionally implies that in the event you’re packaging issues like paintings or clothes, you received’t have to fret about acid seeping off the paper and onto your merchandise.

Excess Materials: Don’t underestimate what’s already round you. Can you employ leftover material scraps to wrap merchandise? Can you reuse packaging that got here from some other place?

Truly Compostable Synthetic Alternatives: Even although “biodegradable plastic” just isn’t really biodegradable, that doesn’t imply there aren’t a couple of pure and really biodegradable choices on the market. To change non-recyclable styrofoam, you should use corn foam, which is biodegradable, yard compostable, water dissolvable, and even edible. For breakable items, there’s a extremely modern packaging choice known as MycoComposite, made by Ecovative Design, which is produced from mushrooms and isn’t solely biodegradable however can also be C2C Certified, flame and water-resistant, and may be customized molded to suit your product.

There are a number of corporations making polybag options which can be actually yard compostable. TIPA makes a couple of sorts of baggage that are verified to decompose in your house compost. Wave is an organization that makes plastic different baggage out of cassava starch, that are additionally yard compostable. ComPlast makes dissolvable or yard compostable polybags, trash baggage, and pet waste baggage that are additionally made out of cassava root, vegetable polymers, and pure resin. While it’s superior that extra corporations exist which can be making actually biodegradable plastic options, we nonetheless have two issues. First, most of those corporations have minimums which can be basically impossible for small and medium sized companies to satisfy. Second, sorry however… these baggage are ugly!

Then there may be noissue’s completely backyard compostable mailer, which is a polybag recreation changer. It’s waterproof, sturdy, write-able, stick-able, and printable, and it’s a lot stretchier than a regular polybag.

The mailers are produced from a mixture of PBAT (a compostable, bio-based polymer) and PLA (which is made up of plant supplies like field corn and wheat straw). They’re certified by all three business certifiers: TUV Austria, BPI, and Dincerto, which implies they meet American, European, International and Australian requirements—together with certifications to your home dwelling compost. To acquire these certifications, the product should break down inside 90 days in industrial compost and 180 days in home compost circumstances, together with worm farm compost. After degradation, they need to go away no dangerous residues behind. Plus, these mailers have a shelf lifetime of about 9 months earlier than they structurally start to interrupt down.

Accessible Minimums: Many small and medium sized companies that wish to swap to sustainable packaging merely can’t afford to buy the minimal order quantity. Even if they might match it into the price range, there’s probability they wouldn’t have the ability to get by an order that vast earlier than the baggage would begin to break down. noissue’s minimums are ridiculously low in comparison with each different firm on the market: solely 100 for his or her mailers and 250 for his or her tissue paper, stickers, and tape.

Beautiful and Brandable: As a small enterprise or startup, your branding issues. Aesthetics matter. “Eco-friendly” doesn’t imply your packaging has to look “crunchy” anymore. One of the issues that units noissue aside is that each one of their merchandise are fully customizable, so every part you ship to your clients is completely on model. You can check out some of the gorgeous packaging creations that other businesses have used here.

If you’re a sustainable small enterprise proprietor, the staff at noissue feels your ache in the case of packaging choices. That’s really why they began the corporate within the first place. They had been engaged on a earlier endeavor, wanted packaging for it, and couldn’t discover what they had been searching for. 

So now, they make premium, customizable, and attainable packaging merchandise for manufacturers at any stage of enterprise. They could make you branded tissue paper, mailers, stickers, and tape. Its kraft mailersare produced from 100​% Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) licensedrecycled paper, which means all uncooked supplies ​come from​ recycled paper supplies, with no virgin wooden pulp used. They’re additionally printed with soy-based inks, which is an eco-friendly different to petroleum-based ink. Businesses also can choose recycled, padded mailers, that are made from 100% recycled plastic. For tape, noissue presents customized packing tape which is water-activated and out there beginning at simply 5 rolls. And it additionally has totes bags which can be produced from 100% Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) licensed cotton. It too is compostable, printed on FSC Certified paper, and makes use of a starch-based adhesive which prompts when moist, stopping storage points and avoiding the issue of wax/plastic coating on most customized packing tapes out there in the marketplace.

noissue’s pricing is tremendous easy, and you may get a quote for precisely what you want (measurement, colours, portions) in seconds. When saved out of daylight in a cool, dry location, the paper, stickers, and tape final years. When uncovered to solar and moisture, it nonetheless takes about 9 months for them to start out fading. They plant bushes with each buy, too. Their aim is to make every product ‘noissue,’ which implies noissue for the setting, noissue to design, and noissue for small companies to order.

Consumers, whereas it’s essential to remember the entire points that manufacturers face in the case of sustainable packaging, we are able to proceed to speak with corporations and allow them to know we would like much less plastic, extra recycled, and extra compostable packaging choices. The subsequent time you open up a field full of plastic, ship the model a word and ensure there are choices on the market for sustainable packaging, like noissue and Ecovative Design (for bigger, extra fragile gadgets) who’re doing issues proper.

Use code ECOCULT21 to get 10% off your first order at noissue.