Eco-friendly packaging ideas
It’s time we start reducing our carbon footprint and taking responsibility for saving our Mother Earth. By turning to green packaging ideas, we can take our first step towards conserving our environment.
In the not so distant past, when plastics didn’t exist and technology wasn’t that advanced, simple people used simple means of packaging. These included the use of wicker baskets, cloth bags, jute bags and not forgetting brown paper bags.
Cut to the present when large-scale production arises, paper is replaced by polyethylene bags, wicker baskets have been replaced with thermocol coffins, jute bags and cloth bags have been replaced by plastics and more plastics. Let’s conclude by saying that, with the amount of waste that is generated daily, isn’t it true that the Earth is turning into a huge garbage can? The surprising fact is that a large part of this waste consists of packaging waste made of non-biodegradable material. Styrofoam, plastics, scrap metal and foil used in bulk to package essential products sit in landfills for hundreds of years before breaking down. This, in turn, affects the environment in general and is, without a doubt, the slow death of Mother Earth.
Considering the damage we are already doing to the planet, we can step back and do our best to reduce our carbon footprint. The smallest step we can take to reduce our carbon footprint is to change the way we package our products. There are many environmentally friendly packaging methods, all we have to do is take advantage of the available resources. The mantra that will help keep the Earth green is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Let’s go on the green mission then, with our biodegradable packaging ideas.
Take out the plastic, use bioplastic instead
We know that plastic is resistant and is used for most of the containers, however, it is not easily degradable. The biggest disadvantage of plastic is that it contains toxins that can pose a danger not only to humans, but also to other living organisms and to nature.
Consider this too.. The PET bottles used to package soft drinks and mineral water are for single use; but they often find a place in most home refrigerators and are known to cause liver problems and reproductive difficulties.
Coming back to the topic, instead of plastics, it uses bioplastics which are made from organic substances and are 100% degradable. Bioplastic breaks down in the environment faster than regular plastic that is made from fossil fuels. Packaging food in cellulose acetate, a bioplastic, is a better option than a regular plastic container or plastic wrap. If you are wary of using bioplastic, opt for glass bottles. Glass that can be recycled and reused is another better option that you can experiment with. There was a time when glass was used to make bottles to house your favorite cola. I guess it’s time to go back to using glass instead of plastic.
Replace Thermocol with Recycled Paper
Widely used to protect fragile products from severe temperatures and from cracks or scratches, thermoplastic is indispensable when it comes to packaging. Made by expanding polystyrene granules, this thermoplastic sits in landfills for years without ever breaking down.
Here’s what happens… You’ll be dead and gone, but a single Styrofoam cup from a takeaway stand will take about 500 years to degrade.
Instead of using thermoplastic or Styrofoam, use recycled paper along with cornstarch pellets to protect breakables. Cornstarch peanuts degrade in 10 days. In addition, they are also soluble in water and the best thing is that they do not contain toxic substances that can generate contamination.
Forget Styrofoam, Try Paper
It adds to the thrill value of gift wrapping, but Styrofoam isn’t one bit good for Mother Earth. In addition to being used as packaging peanuts to cushion fragile products, Styrofoam is also used to make supermarket-available egg cartons. Made from Styrofoam, Styrofoam can be recycled and reused, but it’s still harmful to nature.
Think about it… Styrofoam or Styrofoam particles are known to be asthma inducing and carcinogenic.
Why trust Styrofoam when you can use scrap paper to insulate breakable items? Keep all that shredded paper handy, it will be used when packing. Additionally, the paper is recyclable and can be used to make handmade paper that is made into attractive gift wrap. The amount of paper discarded in the bins can be sent to the production units, so that it can be used for packaging. In addition, you can even use cardboard or recycled paper rolls to insulate your goods.
Go traditional, try wicker
Oh! Those golden years when everything was shipped in wicker baskets. Why not venture back into those good old days once more and ship goods in wicker and cane baskets? The best thing is that the material is 100% degradable and even reusable. Also, wicker slippers come in different shapes and sizes and are attractive too, you never know your business could skyrocket if you go natural.
Trivia…A little organic paint or polish, and your wicker basket will be as good as new!
You would be inspiring others to keep up the trend if you turn to natural wrap ideas. Wicker baskets can also be used as great storage caskets as they are definitely lighter compared to other materials.
What about twine?
Adhesives prevent the packaging from opening during the shipping process. Staying in the natural mode, you can opt for threads that are made by twisting the thread. All you have to do is pack the merchandise in cardboard boxes, wrap it with twine, tie it, and cut off the ends.
Why this? Once it wears off, it will turn to dust and you won’t have to worry a bit.
If you are not sure that the rope will stand the test of time, we suggest you opt for paper-backed adhesive tapes. Another good option is to try water-activated tape that is made from animal glue.
Decorate, don’t profane
Instead of using plastic ribbons to decorate your gifts and items, decorate them with handmade paper and some dry decorations that you find around the house. Use dried leaves, flowers and acorns, sprinkle them with a little glitter and you have a personalized gift, ready to send to your loved one.
Clever use Not much can be done with plastic ribbons, dry decoration, on the other hand, can be used over and over again.
You can also make your own paper bags. All you need are old newspapers, a needle to sew the bag, and some thread to make the handle. Decorate the bag with a cutout from an old card or some dried leaf decorations and you’ll have a stylish bag to flaunt. The best part about using homemade bags and paper to pack your produce is that it’s cost-effective and, in more ways than one, good for the environment. So to speak, as much as possible, use biodegradable paper and items to pack your gifts and ship products.
Your input matters, and here’s how you can help…
Make use of something natural
How about buying your coffee packed in gunny bags instead of bottled or laminated versions? The same goes for groceries and your daily essentials. As a consumer, you can promote the sale of food packed in jute bags instead of polythene bags/containers. This will automatically motivate the producer to opt for natural packaging.
Why jute? They are natural, elegant, biodegradable and, without forgetting, durable.
Paper bags are another good option when you want to pack beans or coffee beans. In addition, they save printing paper, since the instructions can be printed directly on the bag instead of having another sheet of paper inside. How can you help? Bring your own paper bag or cloth bag to the store. This way you will save on packaging.
it is more than cheap
The main problem with the packaging is that the items come in oversized boxes. Choosing a box that perfectly fits the item being shipped helps reduce the amount of packing peanuts that go into boxes. Be sure to use peanuts made with cornstarch, or better yet, use paper balls.
You can contact the manufacturers and let them know that you prefer smaller packages.
Boxes made from recycled paper are a safe bet when it comes to packaging. In addition, you can also use wooden boxes to transport your goods. Boxes made from recycled paper can be reused to store products and the plus point is that they can be folded or flattened for easier storage.
There you have it, with so many green ideas, I can see Mother Earth smiling. Let’s take a step towards a greener and healthier planet. I’ll end with Michael Jackson’s famous lyric from Heal The World, “…Heal the world, make it a better place for you, for me and for the entire human race…”.