How to Create Sustainable Packaging

By: phase1
November 1, 2017

Over the past 10 years or so, the packaging industry has been moving in the direction of environmentally-friendly packaging. This move has, and continues to be, driven by a host of factors, which include:

  • Retailer requirements
  • Public perception
  • Economic issues, particularly those involving petroleum
  • Governmental agencies

With so many influential factors, developing eco-friendly product packaging has proven to be a challenging process. While that’s the case, the process has also been revealing in several key ways. The process has shown that completely sustainable product packaging simply doesn’t exist in today’s marketplace, for instance. This revelation shows that the goal of developing environmentally-friendly product packaging is to make incremental improvements with each development to reduce the environmental impact that packaging has overall.

The process has also taught manufacturers that trade-offs are necessary when it comes to packaging. From glass to paper to plastic and aluminum, every packaging material has its pros and cons, making it necessary for companies to choose materials based on their own applications and mission.

Finally, the process of developing sustainable product packaging has made it obvious that packaging already has a small footprint when considered in the context of the supply chain. In fact, packaging is often responsible for less than 10 percent of a product’s carbon footprint with raw material manufacturing and consumer usage being responsible for the majority of a given product’s carbon footprint.

However, while packaging is responsible for a minor part of an item’s total carbon footprint, it’s still a vital component of the supply chain. After all, if packaging fails to protect products or it’s ineffective at motivating consumers to buy and consume them, all of the energy that was used to produce these products will have been wasted.

How to Switch to Environmentally-Friendly Packaging

Just because creating sustainable product packaging is challenging, it doesn’t mean switching to environmentally-friendly packaging is. While there is currently no packaging that’s 100 percent eco-friendly, greener packaging may still be available for your products. Since consumers are increasingly aware of how eco-friendly products are, you can make your products stand out by making the switch to environmentally-friendly packaging.

Here are some tips to help you make the move to eco-friendly product packaging:

  • Adopt a Lifecycle Approach: You can use a Life Cycle Assessment tool to learn about the environmental impact that different packaging options have. While many LCA tools are readily available, it’s important to pick one and stay with it. That’s because different tools may measure the same packaging differently as sustainability metrics and standards continue to evolve in the future.
  • Evaluate Every Aspect of Your Packaging: To make the move to sustainable product packaging, look for packaging that won’t sacrifice the integrity of your products and that’s produced using less material. Advances are always being made with containers, caps and other packaging components that reduce the package-to-product ratio.
  • Make Packaging Reusable: Depending on what you sell, you may have an opportunity to make your packaging reusable while reducing your product’s carbon footprint. If you package food in a container, for instance, you can use a container that consumers can use to store other foods after they’ve used your product.

Work With Phase 1 Prototypes

For more than 10 years, Phase 1 Prototypes has been making prototypes for companies that want to minimize their product’s carbon footprint. One of the hardest things to do is find a business that can keep up with the eco-friendly advancements being made in product packaging.

We’re recognized as an industry leader because we’ve successfully created numerous proprietary substrates when we’ve created prototypes for clients who wanted to literally do what no one had done before. If you can design sustainable product packaging, we can make a mockup of your design. Give us a call to learn more now.


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