One of the most important concerns to consumers right now when buying products is sustainability. Brands need to continually improve their packaging to make it more sustainable throughout the supply chain. While efforts to switch to renewable energy and practicing recycling are top of mind, now it’s time for brands to turn their attention towards packaging. The question is how do you make your packaging sustainable and stand out? Here are six sustainable packaging trends to watch out for in 2022.
1. The Purpose is the Package
Packaging should be designed to get the most out of the least. The image to the right is a perfect example of how less is more. The package does exactly what it’s supposed to – allows for easy carrying and storage of oranges without the use of a plastic net.
2. Compostable or Biodegradable Packaging
The idea here is to have a second use for the packaging. Compostable or biodegradable packaging is a new niche trend that allows for a second life for packaging in our gardens. Seeds for wildflowers are part of the packaging so it can be thrown away into a garden to grow beautiful plants.
3. Using Different Inks
We often just think about the waste that the package itself creates but the inks used are also bad for the environment. Petroleum-based inks contain various volatile organic compounds that are dangerous to humans and wildlife. A better alternative is vegetable and soy-based inks. They are bio-degradable, easier to de-ink during recycling, and are less likely to release toxic chemicals when thrown away. Best of all, the color quality of these inks is comparable with petroleum-based inks.
4. Make It Recyclable
In order for packaging to be recyclable, it needs to satisfy three simple criteria: be separable, labeled correctly, and clean. Companies have to encourage their customers to actually recycle these products as some people may not be aware. Eco-friendly packaging designs can benefit marketing efforts. Recycling can be used as a topic of conversation to engage more people and good sustainable packaging choices can help increase thought leadership within an industry.
BOXED’s recyclable water bottles are made of paper instead of plastic and are fully recyclable.
Rather than simply recycling, packaging can also be designed for reuse. Is it compostable? Does it have a household use? Does it last long? The answers to these questions can help extend the life of packaging before it goes in the garbage.
5. Brand Image Doesn’t Have to Suffer
Sustainable packaging can be both luxurious and ethical. Brands such as Gucci and Burberry have proven that creativity and design ownership aren’t forfeited when creating a sustainable product. Materials such as stone paper, bamboo paper, biodegradable seals and organic cotton woven printed labels are just some of the ways fashion brands can meet their sustainable goals. We’ll see more luxury brands follow this trend as today’s customers want to work with brands that care about the environment as much as they do their products.
6. Replace Plastic
Depending on the type, plastic items can take up to a 1,000 years to decompose in landfills. Materials that can replace plastic are in high demand. IKEA has begun testing packaging made from mushrooms and replacing Styrofoam packaging with MycoComposite, a combination of agricultural waste and mushroom root. Pressed hay is being used in Poland for egg cartons. As demand for more sustainable business practices grows, companies will continue to respond and the massive increase in plastic use can reverse course.
Alternative packaging needs to be a win-win situation. Consumers get products that cause very little to no harm to the environment, while also getting value for money, while brands will see an increase in revenue and a simultaneous decrease in carbon footprints.
Sustainable packaging trends will continue to be popular given that regulators are demanding it, consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products and retailers begin to expect sustainability from the brands they carry.