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Why Brands Are Embracing Sustainable Packaging Design

The growing popularity of eco-friendly packaging

It seems like sustainable packaging is everywhere these days. We know that consumers care about the environment and enjoy the power they have in addressing environmental challenges. They do this by aligning themselves with brands that provide greener solutions. To most consumers, “greener solutions” means reducing plastic packaging or providing sustainable alternatives.

What makes packaging sustainable? And where do you start with your brand?

Reducing plastic in your packaging design

Plastic reduction can be as simple as ‘right sizing’ your packaging.

Companies such as Unilever and Procter and Gamble began to prioritize sustainable packaging and convert their products to use less plastic, with cleaning liquids that were concentrated by 2X and 3X to do the same job. The result – smaller plastic bottles. Reductions in size meant less plastic, lower weight, better utilized shipping space, and thus less fuel used in transportation.

Reducing the amount of new plastic entering the waste stream is also a powerful solution to consider. Brands like Herbal Essences have started campaigns where they make 25% of their shampoo and conditioner bottles from old plastic – or plastic found in the ocean and on beaches.

Substituting plastic for alternative packaging materials 

If reducing plastic packaging is not an option for your brand, then consider substituting plastic for containers made from aluminium, glass, or paper. Not only are these options 100% recyclable—and much easier to recycle than plastic—they have been used as packaging materials for decades, so a decent infrastructure for recycling them already exists.

Removing plastic from the package design outright  

Plastic removal is where we ask ourselves: ‘Do we really need that plastic there?’ For example, do we really need those plastic windows that are part of many cardboard boxes? This mix of materials just makes the package unrecyclable and we can design beautiful, sustainable packaging without those windows.

Many products, especially household paper and club pack sizes, are showing up with layers of wrapping. These layers of plastic are not only unnecessary, they can turn off our environmentally minded consumers as well.

Packaging can be a major part of your brand’s sustainability strategy  

Whatever decisions your brand makes around packaging and sustainability, the important part is that you MAKE decisions to reduce your plastic use. Because helping reverse the plastic crisis is everyone’s responsibility.

At the Fish Agency, we established a goal of devoting 10% of our efforts to sustainable packaging design solutions. There are real opportunities for brands to lead the pack in this new and exciting marketing space. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have on how to capitalize on them.

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