Key Points:

  • Sustainable packaging or green packaging, can help to both cut carbon emissions and generate less waste
  • Recycled paper, cardboard, and wrapping sheets are all readily available, being industry standard and made from earth-friendly organic materials
  • The manufacturing cost of eco-friendly packaging for small businesses is less than regular packaging materials, thus saving your business money

Melting ice caps. Record droughts. Piles of trash devastating beaches and oceans. Every day, it seems like another news story about how climate change and environmental degradation are harming the planet. What can environmentally-conscious online merchants do to help the situation? One answer is using eco-friendly packaging materials.

Eco-friendly packaging can be a major part of the solution! It is also commonly known as sustainable packaging or green packaging and can help to both reduce your carbon footprint and generate less waste, playing an important role in keeping the planet healthy. Here’s a closer look at just what exactly eco-friendly packaging is, what its benefits are, and some sustainable/eco-friendly packaging for small businesses that your company should consider if you want to play a role in protecting the planet!

Table of Contents

What is Eco-Friendly Packaging?

Eco-friendly packaging is a form of environmentally-friendly packaging often made of renewable or recycled materials that are safe and sustainable for both individuals and the environment.

The main features of sustainable packaging are:

  • Produces little to no environmental waste
  • Made from reusable or biodegradable packaging materials
  • Safe for people and the environment

What Are the Benefits of Eco-Friendly Packaging?

Eco-friendly packaging has a very positive impact on the overall environment, your business, and your customers. In fact, green packaging can even help your business be in the green financially too! Here’s a closer look at how sustainable packaging can help both the planet and your bottom line.

  • Eco-friendly packaging is easy to dispose of or reused. It’s highly biodegradable and recyclable, meaning that it's by far the best form of environmentally-friendly packaging available today. It also means you don't have to feel guilty about packaging waste
  • The production of materials that make eco-friendly packaging is also easy on the environment, meaning fewer carbon emissions and little to no waste
  • Fewer energy sources overall are used for the production of such materials, as most of the raw material is organic and natural
  • As most of the materials used are natural, it’s healthier overall for people. The lack of synthetic chemicals used to make it means it's much healthier for both people and the environment
  • Using sustainable packaging can boost your image in the market and among your customers. As more and more people worldwide become environmentally conscious, your company can be at the forefront by using recycled packaging for all your products
Sustainable Packaging Box
  • The manufacturing cost of green packaging is less than regular packaging materials, thus saving your business money
  • Green packaging also typically uses less material than traditional packaging, making it another win for the environment
  • Your client base can increase as Millennials and Generation Z are both often seen as more environmentally-conscious compared to prior generations. Many of them may choose to buy from a sustainable business as single-use plastics are certainly trending no longer
  • Sustainable and reusable packaging is versatile - you can use it in almost every industry
  • Compared to traditional packaging, eco-friendly packaging is not only more sustainable but also typically sturdier and offers more protection for items
Eco Friendly Packaging for Small Businesses

What Type of Packaging is Environmentally-Friendly?

If you decide to become an environmentally-conscious business, you’ll need to know what alternative eco-friendly packaging options are available. So, let’s explore some sustainable packaging materials for your company here!

1. Recycled and Reusable Packing Materials

Recycled cardboard, kraft paper, and wrapping sheets are all readily available, being industry standard and made from earth-friendly organic materials. Using them can have an instantly positive impact on the environment, as millions of cardboard boxes are thrown away as garbage every year.

Using 100% recycled cardboard and paper will lessen this load and can decompose easily, keeping the planet healthy!

2. Recycled Plastic

It’s challenging when you have to choose a packing material for items that need extra support. Plastic, while environmentally degrading, has long been an option for this, but the good news is that you can easily use recycled plastic packaging from other plastic materials that have been discarded.

These are much more eco-friendly and still, check the box if you’re looking for green packaging options!

3. Eco-Friendly Fillers

Biodegradable packing peanuts are available which can be used instead of EPS or Styrofoam peanuts. They often work better than the regular ones and are easy on the environment as well.

Similarly, bubble wrap is hazardous for the environment, as it doesn’t decompose, though you can use an eco-friendly option in place of it. One of the many options that you can use is a wrap made out of up-cycled corrugated cardboard to serve the same purpose as the bubble wrap. For insulation, you can use air pillows made of recycled plastic too!

4. Organic Materials

Cornstarch is an organic material taken from corn grains that has plastic-like qualities and can easily be used as a packaging material in many situations, making it a great option for sustainable packaging.

However, an even better organic option is mushroom packaging. With mushroom packaging, agricultural waste is added to mushroom roots to make organic packing materials. As it’s made from organic waste, this is a great biodegradable packaging option that also won’t impact global food supplies!

Other organic materials, such as seaweed, are additional eco-friendly packaging options to seriously consider.

5. Organic Fabric

Sometimes, businesses use plastic bags for packing items, though this is very harmful to the environment. Instead, organic fabrics are an excellent sustainable packaging option to consider. These fabrics include recycled cotton, hemp, tapioca, palm leaves, and more. These bags are both reusable and very environmentally friendly!

6. Compostable Mailers

Compostable/biodegradable mailers are constructed of organic components that can naturally decompose into the soil without leaving any harmful leftovers. The major advantage of 100% compostable packaging is that it can be converted into natural materials, such as soil or compost, much quicker than conventional plastic equivalents when disposed of and handled properly. It's easy to create a home compost so you can dispose of the packaging once it's finished. Here are some great tips on creating a compost pile or a home compost bin.

Sustainable Packaging: Ship to Customers While Saving the World!

With the climate changing and more and more trash piling up around the planet, why not do your part in protecting the earth? You don’t have to be Captain Planet to do it, of course - simply invest in sustainable packaging to keep both the world and your bottom line in the green! Making the switch to become more sustainable will also create a better post-consumer experience so your customers will remain happy!

Already send out products in environmentally-friendly packaging or are planning to in the future? Be sure to sign up for Easyship to access our global courier network with 250+ shipping solutions and take advantage of shipping rate discounts of up to 91%, and don’t forget to check out some of the eco-friendly brands across the world powered by Easyship!

Useful Resources

Is Sustainable Packaging More Expensive In 2022?

Sustainable Packaging Examples And Strategies

4 Green Steps To a Sustainable Supply Chain

6 Tips for Sustainable Order Fulfillment as an eCommerce Business

Sustainable Packaging: 5 Ideas Companies Should Embrace FAQ

What are some examples of organic materials?

Cornstarch, seaweed, and mushroom packaging are some of the most popular organic materials.

What are compostable mailers made of?

Compostable mailers are made up of organic components and naturally decompose in soil.

Is sustainable packaging the preferred choice?

More and more consumers are opting to purchase from businesses that use sustainable packaging so it is a smart choice to make the switch if you haven't already