The Importance of Eco-Friendly Packaging in eCommerce
Rebecca Fox

March 12, 2023

As an eCommerce business, it’s important to consider the environment when making decisions about your packaging. Using eco-friendly packaging is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment. 

There are many ways to make packaging more sustainable, from using recycled materials to choosing packaging that can be reused or recycled.

Customers are becoming increasingly aware of what businesses are doing in terms of sustainability, so using eco-friendly packaging can be a huge factor in your success. 

Why is Eco-Friendly Packaging Important?

Eco-friendly packaging is important for reducing the environmental impact of eCommerce because it uses fewer materials, is more environmentally friendly to produce, and is easier to dispose of in a sustainable manner. 

By reducing your carbon footprint, promoting sustainable business practices, and using eco-friendly packaging materials, you can ensure that your eCommerce store aligns with your customer’s values and that no huge environmental damage is caused.

Here are some of the benefits of using eco-friendly packaging in eCommerce.

Decreased Carbon Footprint

Switching to eco-friendly packaging reduces your business’s carbon footprint.

Packaging production is hugely energy-intensive and emits greenhouse gases that damage the environment and contribute to global warming. Creating new packaging from existing materials uses less energy than using raw materials.

In spite of their convenience and affordability, plastic, styrofoam, and other non-biodegradable packaging materials negatively impact the environment by clogging water drains, raising global temperatures, polluting water bodies, and adding to landfills.

Choosing sustainable packaging helps the environment and decreases your carbon footprint.

Improved Brand Image and Increased Sales

Your packaging is the first experience your customers have with your products. Using eco-friendly packaging shows customers that your brand is committed to sustainability.

There has been a growing awareness of the need for sustainability in recent years, to the point where 83% of customers consider the environment when making purchasing decisions and 78% think that businesses could be doing more to be eco-friendly. 

In a world where customers increasingly prefer buying from eco-friendly brands, using eco-friendly packaging improves your brand image and increases your chances of attracting environmentally-conscious customers.

Reduced Waste

More and more eCommerce stores are taking measures to reduce packaging waste and use more recyclable or reusable materials.

Over 2 billion tons of waste end up in landfills worldwide every year, with 91 percent of packaging waste being sent to landfills

Certain states in the US have established regulations around packaging waste, especially in regard to single-use plastics, shopping bags, and increased recycling.

To reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in landfills, switch to compostable or recyclable packaging, or reuse packaging from returned products.

Types Of Eco-Friendly Packaging Solutions

Choosing the right packaging material will help your online store reduce its carbon footprint, improve its brand image, and increase sustainability.

Corrugated Packaging

Corrugated packaging is made up of around 70% to 100% of recycled material.

Manufactured from paper pulp, corrugated packaging is commonly made from pine trees and can also be created from woodchips and by-products of many types of paper-making processes.

The materials used in corrugated packaging usually come from sustainable forests, where harvested trees are replaced with seedlings to start the process again. This makes corrugated packaging highly renewable. 

Besides being easily recyclable and renewable, corrugated packaging can also be reused, helping to further reduce packaging costs and environmental impact. Many corrugated boxes are designed to be easily collapsible and fully reusable.

Compostable Packaging

Compostable packaging is made from organic materials that break down in a reasonable period of time and leave no toxic chemicals or harmful particles behind. 

The most popular type of compostable packaging is bioplastics, which are plastics made from renewable resources. Bioplastics help reduce the use of fossil fuels for plastic production and can be made from materials such as corn, wood, algae, sugarcane, and more. 

One of the most commonly used bioplastics in packaging is PLA, which is a functional, renewable, and comparable replacement for traditional plastic packaging often made from cornstarch or sugarcane.

Another example of a compostable packaging alternative is mushroom-based packaging called mycelium packaging, which is used as a replacement for Styrofoam.

Recycled Packaging

Recycled packaging is made of recycled materials, as part of a circular economy. By using recycled materials you give a second life to plastics or cardboard that have already been produced and used.

By using recycled packaging you can reduce the use of natural resources, decrease landfill waste, and prevent pollution by minimizing the need for raw materials.

Recycled Plastics

Using 100% recycled plastic is a great way to maintain your commitment to sustainability even in cases where plastic packaging is the most practical solution for your business and shipping needs.

You can reduce the need for raw materials by using recycled plastic for your packaging. It is important to note that most plastic can be recycled only 2-3 times, which means that even recycled plastic packaging will eventually end up in landfills.

Recycled Paper and Cardboard

Paper and cardboard are among the most recyclable materials that prevent waste pollution. When striving to maintain a high level of eco-friendly packaging, be sure to use recycled cardboard and paper that have been obtained from post-industrial or post-consumer sources.

Sustainable Packaging is the Future

Take part in reducing the environmental impact of eCommerce by shifting to eco-friendly packaging.

From recycled plastics to biodegradable packaging, there’s a wide variety of options available for eco-friendly packaging, and you can choose to use whatever suits your products best. 

Assess the packaging your eCommerce store uses and see what you can change to make your business more sustainable.

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