Save the Packaging, Save the World

September 27, 2018 by Terese Kerrigan
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Eight Packaging Ideas that Save the Planet and Your Wallet

Supply chains are feeling the pressure to adopt sustainable practices and they’re starting with how products are packaged for transport.

Product packaging says a lot about a brand. It’s a thoughtful way for a brand to differentiate itself from other brands. Apple packaging, for example, is one of a kind. The white matte boxes and custom molds are signatures of the brand. One of the best parts of the buying experience is taking the item out of its wrapper. The term “unboxing” describes when users of high-tech products record videos to celebrate a new product’s arrival.

Fans of unboxing videos enjoy visual demonstrations of the packaging and the product inside. The look and feel of a product’s wrapper are vital to closing the sale. Packaging not only influences the buying decision; it attracts brand loyalists and promoters. How are brands balancing revenues with the interest of lowering their shipping costs by switching to sustainable packaging options.

Today’s brands are tasked with exploring new packaging concepts that allow them to cut shipping and material costs without jeopardizing a brand’s image. When a product is shipped inside an outer carton, you’re paying more to ship air and bubble wrap. The extra packaging and space increases emissions and fuel usage too. The best way to strike a balance between the planet and profits is to consider packaging that doubles as a shipping container.

Here is a round-up of eight sustainable packaging ideas that reduce waste and shipping costs:

1. Think outside the shoe box.

Taco Bell asked us to “think outside the bun” and now Viupax asks consumers to think outside the shoe box. The company creates sustainable footwear packaging that uses less paper and occupies less space than a traditional shoe box.

2. When the box is unavoidable, wrap it.

Stealthwrap is a product by Sealed Air. An ultra-durable and lightweight solution, Stealthwrap protects inner packaging while allowing the product to be shipped without an outer container or box. This is the best solution for brands that don’t want to change their product packaging but want to reduce waste.

3. What’s it made of?

Plant-based packaging as well as packaging made of 100% recycled plastic or paper are not new ideas, but more and more brands, like The Coca-Cola Company, are adopting the philosophy as a way to appeal to enviro-conscious consumers. Recycled packaging can be lighter than non-recycled materials, which cuts the cost to ship.

4. A snugger fit.

Shipping a bottle of wine doesn’t have to require an inner and outer box. Die-cut wine bottle packaging, like this one from Denzil Makes, protects glass without bulky materials that drive up shipping costs. The custom corrugated cardboard fits like a glove.

5. Forget paper or plastic.

Cloth bags are now showing up at doorsteps. Fashion brands might be able to fix their wasteful reputation by switching to bags made of waterproof textiles. This design by RePack makes it super convenient to ship orders and returned products.

6. If the shoe fits.

Shoes don’t have to be packaged side-by-side. How about toe-to-toe? A tube mailer offers brands a unique and fun packaging solution that doesn’t break the bank.
tube mailer packaging

7. Who needs a box and lid?

Not Patrick Sung, the creator of packaging made of corrugated cardboard that folds into any shape you want. They’re called UPACKS for short. This is a fantastic solution for anything that needs to be prepared for shipping, but may not fit inside a box or bubble mailer.
upacks patrick sung

8. Transform your thinking.

HangerPak makes a shipping package that double as a clothes hanger. Not only does the packaging protect the item – in most cases tee shirts – during shipping but it also can be up-cycled as a hanger.
Dornob eco friendly packaging blog

Take a smart step toward saving money and the environment by reviewing how products are packaged for shipping. Consumers and brands may need to change how they think about packaging. Is it utilitarian or functional? Or, is it impractical or unnecessary?

Take those space-saving plastic clamshell containers for example. They may cost less to produce and ship, but they can be difficult to open without a sharp object.
Paper Mart Clamshell containers

By switching to new packaging solutions like the eight listed above, we may be able to eliminate wasted space inside mostly empty shipping containers. Brands don’t have to sacrifice their image to practice sustainability. In fact, brands that find a way to incorporate sustainability into their brand positioning and messaging have a greater chance at hooking enviro-conscious consumers. If you could choose between a product with flashy packaging or sustainable packaging, which would you choose to buy? Either way you look at it, there are a growing number of sustainable options from which you can choose.

FreightCenter can help you get your ship together and avoid embarrassing packaging fails. Once your stuff is boxed up and ready to go, head over to our freight rate calculator. Just click for quotes, print shipping labels and ship. It’s that easy.

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