Eco-Friendly Packaging Tips

According to Forbes, approximately 165 billion packages are shipped each year… That equates to a whole lot of packaging materials! The United Nation estimates by 2050 there will be more plastic trash in the ocean than there are fish.

Packaging is one of the biggest offenders of creating waste. As online retail business continues to grow, the packaging problem becomes an even more pertinent issue to address.

Whether you are just making products for fun or you have started your own business, every decision you make as a creator has the capacity to make a difference, good or bad, on the planet.

If you’re ready for that difference to be a positive one, let’s start with the basic question…

What is eco-friendly packaging?

Eco-friendly packaging is packaging that is not harmful to the environment. There are many ways that you can limit your impact on the environment with your packaging choices. Here are a few characteristics to look for when choosing your packaging:

  • Easily recyclable
  • Landfill friendly (uses minimal space, such as a small bag or pouch)
  • Compostable or biodegradable
  • Utilizes as much recycled material as possible
  • Reusable
  • Repurposable (We love this one for candle jars! See our blog on 10 Creative Ideas for Repurposing Candle Vessels)
  • Using minimal packaging
  • Non-toxic
  • Made with renewable resources

Once you’re ready to green, it’s time to start sourcing eco-friendly packaging that suits your individual business’s needs and style.

Our Eco-Friendly Packaging Tips

RECYCLABLE BOXES

If you are running an online business or shipping anything, boxes are typically a must-have. Most cardboard boxes are easily recyclable and meet the criteria for being eco-friendly.

These boxes are made from 95% post consumer content. Using post-consumer recycled paper reduces your environmental footprint by utilizing materials that have already once served their intended use.

PADDED MAILERS

Padded mailers are an even more eco-friendly packaging option than recyclable boxes as they use less material and therefore, create less waste and take less space and energy to transport.

If you’re shipping non-fragile products or small items, padded mailers are an excellent choice!

STAND UP POUCHES

Eco-friendly stand up pouches are one of the newer innovations to hit the “green packaging” scene. Options are now available made from recyclable materials.

Stand up pouches are useful for displaying product on a shelf or containing a product that needs to be protected from moisture, such as bath salts, soaps, or bath bombs.

SHIPPING LABELS

If you sell your products online, we can almost guarantee you’re doing to be needing one of these!

Most shipping labels are not inherently recyclable on their own, due to the adhesive backing required needed to secure the label to the box. Shipping labels are landfill friendly due to the small amount of space required to discard them.

The paper used to create these shipping labels is made from 100% post consumer recycled materials and is compatible with most printers.

PACKING TAPE

Water-activated tape is an amazing choice for sealing your cartons. It is recyclable, biodegradable, and made from renewable sources.

It is easy to use and extremely sturdy. Water-activated tape is also cost effective as it requires less tape per seal than traditional carton sealing tape. Win-win!

BUBBLE WRAP ALTERNATIVES

Traditional bubble wrap is made from polyethylene, which is a type of plastic. Plastic bubble wrap IS recyclable, but it will need to be taken to a special recycling facility. You can find a local facility here.

Many bubble wrap alternatives are now available such as Geami WrapPak, Green Eco-Bubble, or Cellulose Wadding.

The papers used to create Geami WrapPak are either Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified or made using recycled content. WrapPak is biodegradable and 100% recyclable.

VOID FILL

This biodegradable void fill is made from organic corn starch. The packing peanuts are non-toxic and decompose in water.

Another option to consider is kraft paper made from 100% recycled content.

GLASS

Did you know that glass takes an estimated 1 million years to break down in the environment?

But don’t go switching your candle vessels so fast. Glass meets the requirements for being eco-friendly because it is infinitely reusable. Much of the candle glass you purchase is likely already made from recycled materials.

Offering candle “refills” at a discounted rate is a great way to bring back returning customers and reduce your impact.

Have you made the switch to eco-friendly packaging? Take these eco-friendly packaging tips and share it with us on social media by tagging @woodenwick and using the hashtag #woodenwick for a chance to be featured!

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