Sustainable packaging: it is more complicated than thought beforehand. Not only the used materials are important, also the packaging process, the logistics and the purchase and discarding behaviour of the consumer are important aspects. The Netherlands institute for Sustainable Packaging has drawn up seven tips to help you start:
Pay attention to the functionality of the packaging to help the consumer getting the most out of the product by using the packaging. Proper packaging must protect the product against damage, extend the shelf life and help the consumer with dosing.
2. No harmful substances
Ensure that the use of harmful substances in the packaging is avoided in order to make sure that no harmful substances will enter the recycled materials or the living environment.
3. Economical use of materials
Use the raw materials efficiently by being careful with the materials you use and ensuring that as little material as possible is lost during the packaging process. In addition, it is important that the packaging can be reused or recycled.
4. Pure material flow
Provide a readily recyclable and pure material flow by using, if possible, one material type per packaging component so that the consumer can easily separate these parts. Also keep in mind that the packaging can be emptied properly so that after use no residues of the product remain. A good separation of the recyclable packaging waste again yields raw materials for new packaging.
5. Recycled or recyclable raw materials
Use as much recycled or recyclable raw materials as possible, creating an increasingly closed material chain.
6. Efficient logistics
Always take the logistics of the product into account while developing the packaging. Design the packaging in a way that the transport unit can be divided as efficiently as possible with as few empty spaces as possible. In addition, make sure the risk of product damage is as small as possible. This results in less energy consumption during transport, less pollution and less product loss.
7. Inform the consumer
Indicate clearly on the packaging how the consumer can properly dispose the packaging waste. Good waste separation makes the reuse and/or recycling of this waste much easier.
For more tips and information please take a look at the website of the Netherlands institute for Sustainable Packaging.