There has never been a better time to focus on sustainability. Considering the ever-worsening climate crisis and extreme levels of plastic pollution all around the globe, some might even say that sustainability is the only thing that we should be focusing on. Our planet’s future is fully in our hands, and we only make it worse by ignoring the problem.
Unfortunately, at the individual level, there’s only so much change we can enact. Over 70% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are thanks to just 100 companies, and just 20 of those companies are responsible for an entire third of global GHG. So while trying to reduce your own carbon footprint is still a really good idea, we need to also start enacting large-scale change.
This kind of change doesn’t happen overnight, and it can’t come from just one source, but if enough people start the movement, we can make some waves and help our planet out. Manifest Commerce’s solution? Redesigning the entire supply chain from head to toe with sustainability at the top of our priority list, and proving that efficiency doesn’t have to come at the expense of our planet.
One of the major ways that we’re working to accomplish this goal is through eco-friendly packaging. We know that designing and using reusable packaging isn’t going to single-handedly save the world, but it’s a step in the right direction. Additionally, with your help, and an ever-increasing pressure on the world to become more sustainable, we could really start to make a difference!
Keep reading to learn more about eco-friendly packaging, and how you can help it change the world of shipping for the better.
What’s Sustainable and What’s Not
Because it isn’t necessarily a standardized term, eco-friendly packaging can mean a lot of different things to a wide range of people. Obviously, a plastic bag is not very environmentally conscious, but what fits the definition? To keep things fairly simple, we’ll follow the definition that the Sustainable Packaging Coalition provides! They have a complete version you can read here, but put simply, environmentally friendly packaging should:
- Be beneficial and safe throughout its life
- Be sourced, created, transported, and recycled using renewable energy
- Be manufactured using clean technology and good practices
We think this is a great way to understand eco-friendly packaging because it is very clear in its definition and shows how broad you should be thinking when you’re talking about becoming earth-friendly! Making all of your packaging out of recycled materials is a fantastic step towards sustainability, but if it is being sourced, manufactured, moved, or repurposed in a way that isn’t also sustainable, then it can still have a negative environmental impact.
Certainly, in a perfect world, all environmentally friendly packaging would adhere to the standards set above. However, while the movement is still catching on, we appreciate packaging that fulfills even part of the definition! One step in the right direction is better than no steps.
This is where Manifest Commerce comes in. We work with retailers across a variety of industries to encourage the switch to more earth-friendly packaging designs! We are committed to being 100% plastic-free and also provide 100% recyclable packaging materials.
Eco-Friendly types of Packaging
Making the switch to environmentally friendly packaging doesn’t only apply to businesses either! As we work to create a more circular economy (a regenerative system designed for sustainability), every decision to use eco-friendly packaging can help, including your choices.
When you’re considering what type of packaging products you’re going to use when shipping or sending something, you have a few options that work best with the environment. Each option will have its own benefits and uses, so take some time to really research the best method. At the end of the day, you need to find the material that can balance protecting your package and protecting the planet at the same time.
Paper and Cardboard
Just because they’ve been around for a while doesn’t mean that these packaging solutions don’t work! Paper and cardboard have been around for decades in the shipping industry, and for the most part, they provide a biodegradable, low-impact option for packaging manufacturers.
Note: To get the most out of paper and cardboard products, try to opt for 100% recycled materials, as this can ensure your packaging can be recycled again after its use.
As plenty of people in the food and wellness industries have demonstrated, going plant-based can help you significantly reduce your environmental impact and lower your carbon footprint. The same could be said for finding plant-based packaging alternatives!
In fact, plant-based packaging materials are going through a relative boom at the moment, and you can find a variety of new, biodegradable materials out there. From cornstarch to sugarcane and mushrooms, companies are consistently coming up with new and creative solutions to the recycling dilemma.
Note: Though it is promising, do some research on a particular material before you use it. Though some products may carry the label “biodegradable,” this can sometimes be misleading. In particular, be cautious of “recyclable plastics.” Though sometimes these can be bonafide, earth-friendly materials, often, they can simply be a product of greenwashing (trying to appear eco-friendly for profit).
Fabrics and Fillers
Beyond the above options, there are still plenty of biodegradable possibilities, though they may be harder to find and/or utilize. If you want to keep the earth in mind, but don’t really have many options at your disposal, try re-using an old piece of fabric or clothing that you no longer need. Though it isn’t immediately recyclable in some senses of the word, it helps to grow the idea of a circular economy and doesn’t introduce new waste to the system.
Similarly, if you must use filler materials for a package that is traveling a long distance, you can opt for better options than the traditional packing peanuts. There are biodegradable packing peanuts made of starch and wheat, or you can simply use old newspapers!
Sustainable Fulfillment Solutions
At Manifest Commerce, we’re committed to reducing the impact of e-commerce waste and fixing the problem of dirty supply chain logistics. For every step of the fulfillment process, we’re working towards solutions to make e-commerce logistics greener and more earth-friendly.
We aim to fulfill, package, and deliver your packages without a cost to the climate or your bottom line. Learn more at our website, and learn how you can green your business with the help of Manifest Commerce.