Sustainable packaging: How it benefits your small business

Sustainable packaging: How it benefits your small business

Posted: Thu 2nd Mar 2023

We all know that environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly important in today's business world, but what about packaging? Sustainability in packaging is a key element to protecting our planet, and can have a powerful impact on the way we buy and consume goods.

From compostable materials to biodegradable options, sustainable packaging products are revolutionising the industry. In this blog, we look at why this type of packaging is important and how, as business owners, we can make sure we're packaging our products in a greener way.

What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging is packaging that uses materials that are environmentally friendly and can be reused, recycled or composted. It helps reduce your carbon footprint and keeps harmful materials out of landfills.

Made from renewable resources (and plastic alternatives) such as paper, cardboard, glass and metal, sustainable packaging can be recycled or reused several times. This means fewer resources are needed to create new packaging.

Additionally, sustainable packaging solutions often use less energy in production than traditional methods and generates fewer greenhouse gases. For businesses looking to reduce their environmental impact, sustainable packaging using eco-friendly materials is a great place to start.

Why is sustainable packaging so important?

Sustainable packaging is a critical issue for small businesses. It's not just about being environmentally friendly — it also affects the bottom line. By investing in more eco-friendly practices, your business can lower its carbon footprint, save money, and attract customers who care about the environment.

Sustainable product packaging isn't just about using less material or recycling resources. It's also about choosing the right materials, such as cardboard, glass, metal and paper instead of single-use plastic. You also need to consider how to keep your products hygienic while still making sure they can be easily broken down or recycled.

Ultimately, sustainable packaging options matter because they help make a healthier planet while allowing businesses to remain competitive in an increasingly eco-conscious market.

How is sustainable packaging good for the environment?

Not only does sustainable packaging reduce plastic waste, but it can also prevent other pollutants from entering the atmosphere. It typically involves using materials such as paper, cardboard and bioplastics, all renewable sources that can be recycled or composted. Recyclable and compostable packaging won't end up in landfill, but instead will break down naturally and not contribute to global warming.

Additionally, sustainable solutions are often lightweight, which reduces transport-related emissions and fuel consumption during shipping. And eco-friendly packaging usually requires less energy for production than traditional plastics, thus helping to reduce carbon emissions.

Overall, sustainable packaging materials are an important step towards reducing our environmental impact and creating a more eco-friendly world.

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Moving your business to sustainable packaging: Top tips

The switch to eco-friendly packaging solutions might seem difficult, but it's definitely worth it in the long run. Here are some tips to help make the transition as smooth as possible:

  1. Start small. Don't try to make all of your packaging eco-friendly at once. Pick a few items and start there, then slowly expand until you've reached your goal.

  2. Look into recycled or recyclable packaging materials. These will reduce waste and show customers your commitment to sustainability.

  3. Ship items in smaller packages. This will reduce the amount of material used, and save on shipping costs too.

  4. Educate customers on best practice for disposal and recycling. By doing this, you're encouraging them to reuse or recycle where possible, while also teaching them about their own impact on the environment.

  5. Consider plant-based packaging. These materials are both biodegradable and compostable, so they won't end up in landfills or oceans like non-recyclable plastics do.

  6. Use eco-friendly labelling. Choose labels that are made from sustainable materials and can easily be removed from containers for reuse or recycling purposes.

  7. Reuse existing packaging whenever possible. If you come across reusable containers, bags or other materials that could be used again and again, don't hesitate to put them back into circulation. The aim is to avoid single-use packaging as much as you can, while adopting materials such as recycled plastics.

  8. Educate yourself. Keep learning about sustainable choices so you can continue making informed decisions when it comes to your own business's green packaging solutions. You can educate yourself using the online resources provided through the Plan it with Purpose programme of blogs, webinars and other content.


Plan it with Purpose Ireland: Helping businesses develop a better understanding of environmental and social issues

Plan it with Purpose: Sustainability discovery tool

Answer a series of questions about your business and get a tailored action plan that tells you where to find the support, resources and advice you need to be more sustainable. Take me to the tool


Relevant resources

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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