With the trend toward environmental friendliness, more consumers are on the lookout for packaging with minimal or no waste. This has led to the question of whether it is actually possible to package your product without any waste at all. If it is possible, then many companies wonder if it is practical or cost-effective. After all, you do not want to sacrifice your profit margin completely just to get a few more sales from eco-conscious consumers.
Depending on your industry, zero waste product packaging may be possible. At the very least, you can take steps to dramatically reduce the waste from your packaging, which should also appeal to clients.
Understanding Zero Waste Packaging
The definition of zero waste packaging is fairly straightforward. It means that there is no waste from your packaging. The caveat here is that many people consider that you can include packaging materials in zero waste packaging, as long as the client will recycle or reuse them. Therefore, a glass container that is fully recyclable, including its lid, would be zero waste packaging. If the glass is recyclable but the lid is not, it does not count.
The goal behind zero waste packaging is to limit the impact on the planet, both for you and consumers.
Try Not to Rely on Recycling
While making your packaging recyclable is a way to make it zero waste, this is not necessarily the best solution. Most recycling in the United States is single stream, so everything goes in a single bin and the recycling plant separates it. This, unfortunately, makes it harder for consumers to figure out what they can recycle. In other words, they may not recycle your packaging even if it is recyclable, or may do so incorrectly. To make it more confusing, the recycling codes and limitations can vary by location.
Consider Making Containers Reusable
One way to opt for zero waste packaging is to design your containers so they can be cleaned and reused. You would give clients a way to return their empty containers to you, then your company would sanitize them and reuse them. The caveat here is that you need to ensure that the transportation factor does not outweigh the benefits of reusing containers. This means you would have to somehow incorporate it into normal transportation or come up with a container that will cost nearly nothing to transport when empty. You also need to give customers an incentive to reuse the container, like a discount, coupon, or empty punch card to get rewards.
Give the Packaging a New Purpose
Take some time to think about your product and its packaging, then whether there is a way to reuse it. If, for example, you sell something in a can or bottle, could you include seeds and encourage customers to convert it into a planter? You could even design product packaging with a seed built into it.
Reduce Packaging Waste as Much as You Can
The bottom line is that even if your company is not ready to go with zero waste product packaging, you can take the initiative to see what you can do to reduce the waste. Can you opt for recyclable or recycled materials? Can you reduce the surface area slightly to reduce material used? Every bit adds up over time.