CTI Packaging & Fullfillment – Smart Packaging

What Makes Packaging “Sustainable?”

Seedling inside lightbulbProduct makers are increasingly interested in sustainable packaging — but what does it mean to be green or eco-friendly when they package their products? Because sustainable practices are good for their companies, their images, and the environment, progressive companies are now making sustainability part of their missions and values. But what makes a package sustainable? Is a paper package inherently “better” than a plastic one?

In 2005, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition completed version 1.0 of the definition of sustainable packaging to provide a common framework for improving all steps of the process. Packaging that is sustainable

  • is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy,
  • optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials,
  • is manufactured using clean production technologies, and
  • is made from materials that are healthy through the product’s lifecycle.

But developing a sustainable package is not as simple as producing and using packaging that follows green practices. Product makers need to consider the lifecycle of the package while also optimizing the use of environmental resources with as little impact as possible.

There are many stages in a package’s lifecycle that impact the environment and affect overall sustainability, from extracting the raw materials for creating the package to putting it in a landfill, or recycling, incinerating or composting it. To be sustainable, the idea is to design packages in a way that reduces or eliminates the need to extract new resources and reduces or eliminates pollution.

Small changes — such as decreasing the amount of material used without compromising shelf life, or changing the shape of the packaging design to optimize packing and shipping — can make a big difference. Product makers are also adding labels to educate consumers about how to treat a package at its end-of-life with recycling and sourcing information. The SPC developed a How2Recyle label to provide consistent recycling information.

Because sustainability is complex, product makers need to know how to make informed choices, so that any claims they make about sustainability are backed up in practice. That’s where Combined Technologies Inc. comes in. Consult with us about options for improving your package sustainability.

[cta]Looking for a more sustainable package? We can help you design environmentally friendly packaging that’s still cost-effective. Contact us online, by email, or by phone at 847-968-4855.[/cta]

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