Tips to Reduce Packaging Waste
Reducing your packaging waste can help your company achieve several goals. It will lower your costs because you will have to pay for fewer materials without changing the packaging significantly. It will also reduce your impact on the planet, as you will be sending less waste to landfills. Even if your packaging waste is recyclable, reducing the waste reduces the energy needed to recycle it.
While you are unlikely to reach the ultimate goal of zero-waste packaging, there are some things you can do to reduce waste further.
Try Minimalistic Packaging
Start by looking at your product packaging and seeing if it goes overboard or includes too much. Does your packaging include a box or bottle inside a box? If so, is that outer box necessary? Maybe it is for security or to protect the product. But if it is not, consider getting rid of it.
Resize the Packaging
One of the biggest sources of packaging waste is using boxes that are not the correct size. If you use a box that is too large, you are wasting materials on creating the box. Also, you will have to use more filler materials to cushion your product.
The good news is that no matter your product, you should be able to find a box of the appropriate size, thanks to custom packaging. This lets you get a box that fits your product almost perfectly, eliminating waste.
Reconsider Padding Materials
If you have to use a box with some empty space and then cushion your product, think about the materials you’ll use to do so. Styrofoam packing peanuts, for example, are not usually biodegradable or recyclable. You could reduce your packaging waste by swapping to packaging inserts with cut-outs designed to cradle your product and keep it in position.
Consider How the Materials Are Cut
As you resize your product packaging, consider its shape as well. Specifically, think about what it looks like when your packaging manufacturer cuts the material to start making your box. Odd-shaped boxes tend to have more scraps left over after creating the box than rectangular ones. Depending on the shape and manufacturer, you may be able to get creative.
That said, it’s not always worth opting for a rectangular box just to reduce the packaging scraps during packaging manufacturing. That is especially true if you will end up using more material overall.
Encourage Recycling of the Materials
No matter whether you are discussing packaging waste from manufacturing or after customers use your products, you can make a big dent in it by ensuring the materials are recyclable and get recycled. You can encourage customers to recycle and make sure your team understands the importance of recycling.
Train Your Team
Even if you do not handle the product packaging in-house, you should take the time to train your team on eco-friendly procedures. For example, if someone returns a product with a damaged box, encourage your team to recycle that box instead of throwing it in the garbage. Even small steps add up over time.