Guide To Sustainable Business Materials For The Environmentally Aware

In recent years, many businesses have come under fire for using unethical packaging strategies. If your business is selling goods online, there are many ways you can ensure your packages are sent safely in the most sustainable way as possible.

Campaigns Against Waste

Millennials have made their minds up and more of us are becoming concerned about how the companies we love are packaging their goods. There is a campaign devoted to reducing packaging waste.

 The “Make It, Take It Campaign” is a collaborative effort that aims to pressure businesses into taking responsibility for packaging waste. Matt Prindiville, associate director for UPSTREAM and co-founder and coordinator of the campaign says that:

“Companies often design packaging without thinking about what will happen when we’re finished with it. Many types of packaging, often plastic or multi-layered, are impossible to recycle or compost.”

Worldwide brands like Amazon are taking note of this problem and have taken on board widespread criticism over their packaging technique. In the past Amazon have struggled to get their packaging system right and have faced what can only be described as a ‘cardboard crisis’.

Since 2008 Amazon have been using FFP (frustration-free packaging), this system means that parcels are easy to open, due to the elimination of materials like steel wire ties and hard plastic clamshells.

What Is FFP?

Even if you are a small business, there is a lot you can learn from the FFP ideology. We have already read that Amazon is now using a simple, wire free strategy, but there are other benefits of using this method:

Recyclable – Amazon’s style is sustainable; as the majority of packaging products they use are made from recyclable materials

Protects Products – As well as using recycled materials, the brand tests all of their packages to make sure that they are well protected, before they are sent to the customer.

These two factors are extremely important to online customers and statistics are showing that customers would even pay more for a sustainable product. Over 80% of customers say that it is important for businesses to construct programs that are environmentally friendly.

What Type of Packaging Should My Business Be Using?

The cardboard box is going nowhere, so make sure you are using it right. Cardboard is one of the best materials to use for eco-friendly packaging. Corrugated cardboard boxes can be made from 100% recycled materials – make sure you are letting you customers know this.

First impressions do count and second boxes can look extremely unprofessional. Follow the advice of packaging experts, Big Brown Box, they recommend fresh large packing boxes as “boxes that you could pick up from the local supermarket or shop may not be as durable and may be more susceptible to collapsing if they get damp or wet.”

Just because corrugated cardboard is recyclable doesn’t mean your business loses out on protection. Double-walled corrugated cardboard boxes are particularly study, as each box has a Kraft paper outer lining that is added by packaging specialists for added protection.

Protecting Your Corrugated Cardboard Boxes

It seems pretty obvious, but if your business is not using protective packaging inside of cardboard boxes, you should be. Packaging news writer, Ruth Price believes that:

“Protective packaging is not only crucial to the environment but also to business profits which can be impacted greatly by wasted produce.”

Chances are, you have probably received something faulty from an online website. This can be extremely frustrating for the customer but damages can also lead to increased costs for businesses as they need to replace goods.

Goods are not the only thing that is compromised as manufacturing, shipping, and labor all need to be added to the cost of replacement.

Brand Reputation and Protective Packaging

If you have received poor feedback about your packaging strategy, you are not only wasting your customer’s time, but you are wasting your own time. Once your business has replaced the new product, it doesn’t end there as the original damaged that has been returned, needs to be disposed of. If this process is happening time and time again, the product’s carbon footprint will be multiplying.

These types of incidents can be extremely damaging to your brand’s reputation. Chances are your customers will spread the word of your poor service, whether that be online via trust pilot or face to face with a family member.

Filling your boxes with protective materials like bubble wrap and loose fill chips will give your online business a professional edge. Online shopping means that businesses can trade with customers across the world. If your packages are traveling a longer distance, your customers will expect extra care from their supplier to be taken, to make sure their items get to them in one piece.


Guest Post written by Melissa Lang. Melissa specializes in marketing and branding. From Glasgow, Scotland, Melissa has a keen eye for all things design.