Fortunately, there are also more sustainable packaging options than ever, with numerous innovations for source reduction, recyclability, reusability, and formats that support the circular economy.
Whether you’re an established brand looking for a more sustainable flexible packaging format or a startup that wants eco-friendly packaging from the start, it’s an exciting time to explore your options.
Here are some of the top eco-friendly packaging innovations to consider in your packaging decisions.
Packaging Made with Recycled Content
One of the biggest hurdles to more sustainable packaging formats is the compatibility of new films with products, equipment, closures, and other packaging components. Flexible packaging made with post-consumer recycled (PCR) content offers brands a drop-in solution for realizing sustainability goals.While recyclable films often require equipment modifications or other considerations, solutions like tru-IMPACT® packaging are compatible with your existing packaging equipment, making it cost-effective and seamless to switch from a legacy format. Additionally, these solutions give you the sustainability benefit from the start—because this format features content that has already been recycled, you don’t have to rely on consumers to follow through to realize the benefit.
Choose tru-IMPACT®solutions if:
- You want a sustainable flexible packaging solution but want to avoid equipment modifications
- You don’t want to rely on consumers to help you realize sustainability goals (i.e., follow through on recycling the package)
- Store drop-off programs are limited where you sell your products
- Your product or closure requires sturdier films, has unique barrier requirements, or has another caveat that makes recyclable features difficult to implement
Recyclable Flexible Packaging
While recycled plastic packaging offers numerous benefits for brands and the environment alike, several retailers are requiring brands to implement 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging within the next few years. On top of that, recyclability is a top priority for consumers, and they’ve become increasingly loyal to brands that share their values.
Fortunately, we’ve overcome several previous challenges with recyclability—now, recyclable films are more versatile and can accommodate more features than earlier versions. For example, packaging engineers have created recyclable packages with a wider variety of closures, greater puncture resistance, and more attractive finishes.
The infrastructure supporting recyclable flexible packaging has also improved. Now, more stores offer store drop-off programs, and the How2Recycle® initiative is gaining traction with consumers. So, it’s now perhaps more likely that the sustainability benefit will be achieved as opposed to in the past.
Recyclable packaging and recycled plastic packaging both have sustainability benefits. The one that works for your brand depends on your unique product, goals, and situation.
Choose eco-READY™ solutions if:
Recyclability is your end goal
Sustainability is central to your mission and you want to invest in it
Store drop-off programs and recycling infrastructure are developed where you sell products
You sell or want to sell products at a retailer with a recyclable packaging commitment
Your product and other packaging components are compatible with recyclable films
Sustainable Folding Cartons and Labels
Flexible packaging can be important in achieving sustainability goals. However, flexible packaging doesn’t work for all products or may not be feasible in the short term. If you’re packaging your product in rigid containers and want to add sustainable features to your packaging, you still have several options to consider.Tru-IMPACT®and eco-READY™ labels are excellent options for food and beverage brands looking to reduce reliance on virgin plastics and ensure packages can be effectively recycled. Folding cartons are also available in the tru-IMPACT® and eco-READY™ lines, giving nutraceutical, beauty, or fragile products the same protection and consumer experience benefits in a more sustainable package.
Finding the Right Solution for Your Product
Regardless of where you are in your sustainability journey, choosing the right packaging solution can feel intimidating. Here’s how to avoid common challenges in eco-friendly packaging:
- Understand your options. The packaging industry is continuously innovating within the sustainability space. Do your research to get up to speed on the options and value-adds available for your product. Have regular conversations with your packaging partner about the latest improvements and how to adjust your packaging to meet sustainability goals.
- Beware of greenwashing. As pledges to become more sustainable increase, so too do greenwashing practices. Choose packaging suppliers that are transparent about their definitions of sustainability and what they’re doing that truly benefits the planet.
- Test your solution. Whether you’re switching to a different packaging format or introducing a new product, it’s important to test the new option before it goes to market. Belmark can test your new packaging in our research lab to assess its performance and compatibility with your product.
- Choose the right packaging partner. Sustainability is an ever-evolving term and goal. Look for packaging suppliers who offer partnership, transparency, and a shared commitment to sustainability no matter where you are in your sustainability journey.
Choosing Belmark means working with a packaging partner dedicated to continuous improvement and innovation for sustainability and beyond. And, with a standard lead time of three weeks or less and no order minimums, you’ll experience unparalleled speed, flexibility, and service in getting your product to market.