There is a growing emphasis on business sustainability worldwide. Whether this means having designated recycling bins in the workplace or using electric vehicles for logistics, businesses are always looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. 

An often overlooked area in the world of sustainability is packaging. Think about it: millions of consignments are packaged up for transit every day. People then receive their parcels, rip them open, and forget about the packaging. But what happens next? 

Chances are the packaging is not eco-friendly or properly recycled, so ends up in a landfill site where it will stay for the next hundred years. 

So, how can you truly make a difference when it comes to packaging? 

To help you weigh up the options, in our guide, we have listed all the pros and cons of eco-friendly packaging and how you can make the switch to make a change.

What is Sustainable Packaging?

Sustainable packaging is any packaging that considers the whole life cycle of the packaging from sourcing to manufacturing to transportation to use, and finally, to disposal. Sustainable packaging is more of a blanket term that eco-friendly packaging comes under. Eco-friendly packaging refers, more specifically, to the packaging materials that have reduced environmental impact. They are commonly composed of biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable materials. 

The Pros of Eco-Friendly Packaging 

1. Reduces Carbon Footprint

By implementing eco-friendly packaging, you can reduce your carbon footprint! 

This is because eco-friendly packaging is typically made from recycled materials, meaning less energy needs to be used, creating completely new packaging. Reducing the amount of energy used to create new packaging also means less carbon emissions, causing your carbon footprint to be smaller.

2. Biodegradable 

Typically, eco-friendly packaging is made from materials such as recycled plastics. But it can also be made from biodegradable materials like plant-based sources or potato starch.

These materials mean eco-friendly packaging can be biodegradable and disintegrate. Generally, used eco-friendly packaging will be taken to industrial compost facilities where it can be broken down properly but if there is the case that packaging has been littered, it can also biodegrade on its own. 

3. No Toxins 

Traditional packaging can be made from petrochemical or synthetic materials containing harmful chemicals. 

Additionally, adding heat to some traditional packaging can release toxic chemicals. Eco-friendly packaging, on the other hand, is allergen-free and non-toxic because it is made from natural materials. Using eco-friendly packaging means you don’t have to worry about any harmful chemicals you might encounter when using traditional packaging.

4. Brand Reputation 

Incorporating sustainability into businesses is becoming increasingly important, so much so that customers are now actively searching for businesses that value sustainability. 

By making the switch to eco-friendly packaging, you can elevate your reputation, showing your customers you care about sustainability and the environment just like they do. You may gain some new customers by using eco-friendly packaging, meaning your customer base will increase. A win-win for everyone involved! 

5. Reduce Ocean Pollution

One of the biggest contributors to pollution in the oceans is rubbish and plastic waste. You can help reduce this by using eco-friendly substitutes. 

By choosing eco-friendly options over regular plastic packaging, you can contribute to reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans. With eco-friendly packaging being biodegradable, this form of packaging can disintegrate in the ocean and leave behind no toxic chemicals should it end up in the sea. 

Eco-Friendly Packaging: The Pros and Cons Grabbit and Run Couriers
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The Cons of Eco-Friendly Packaging 

1. More Expensive

Unfortunately, even with all of its benefits, eco-friendly packaging is more expensive than traditional packaging. 

For bigger companies, this may only slightly affect their production costs. However, this can be detrimental to small businesses that cannot afford to make the switch even if they want to be more sustainable. This can cause smaller businesses to stick to traditional packaging to save on cost. 

2. Less Durable 

Eco-friendly packaging has been said to have less tensile strength, meaning it is more prone to punctures and tears compared to traditional packaging. 

It can be difficult to source a durable and eco-friendly packaging option for heavier items. This means eco-friendly options may be better suited to smaller, lightweight items. Given the ever-advancing technology, a new form of eco-friendly packaging that can handle heavier items will be created in the future. Just watch this space! 

3. Cultivation of Crops

A common problem with eco-friendly packaging is that it is often made from plant-based materials.

For example, if the packaging is made from corn starch, large areas of land will be needed to grow and reproduce corn. Many people have an issue with this as the corn could be used for food to help those in need, which could be deemed as a more worthy cause. 

4. Not Always Recyclable 

The biggest selling point of eco-friendly packaging is that it is recyclable. However, if eco-friendly packaging is contaminated, it cannot be recycled properly. Even though this type of packaging can be biodegraded, it will end up in landfill, creating more waste than initially intended. This increases businesses’ carbon footprint, meaning using eco-friendly packaging could be counterintuitive. This can be mitigated, though, by properly disposing of eco-friendly packaging as much as possible. 

Different Types of Sustainable Packaging 

Now that you know the pros and cons of eco-friendly packaging, you might be wondering what types of sustainable packaging are available to you. Many different new and innovative forms of eco-friendly packaging are being developed every day, but here are the most common ones. 

Biodegradable Plastics

Probably the most common form of eco-friendly packaging, biodegradable plastics are regularly used worldwide. Made from plant-based materials or potato starch, this packaging can reduce your carbon footprint and prevent harmful chemicals from being released into the environment. 

Pros: 

  • Reduced carbon footprint 
  • Prevent harmful chemicals from being released
  • Versatile

Cons: 

  • Limited availability 
  • Require proper disposal 

Recycled or Upcycled Plastics

This form of sustainable packaging uses plastic waste as its main material source, preventing it from ending up in the oceans or landfills. 

Pros: 

  • Reduces the amount of plastic waste 
  • Conserves resources for other uses 
  • Energy saving

Cons: 

  • Quality may be lower compared to new plastic packaging 
  • Limited recycling facilities 

Paper Based

Another form of eco-friendly packaging frequently used today is paper-based packaging. This can come in the form of corrugated boxes, honeycomb paper wrap, or paper used to fill voids in boxes. 

Pros: 

  • Biodegradable 
  • Recyclable 
  • Made from a renewable source 

Cons: 

  • Requires a lot of resources for production
  • Impact of deforestation 

Mushroom Packaging 

A lesser-known packaging alternative is mushroom packaging, also known as mycelium packaging. This type of packaging uses mycelium combined with agricultural waste, such as straw and sawdust, to create the material used for this packaging. 

Pros: 

  • Lightweight 
  • Biodegradable 
  • Compostable 

Cons: 

  • Hard to obtain the resources to produce mushroom packaging 

Deliver Your Parcels Safely With Grabbit and Run 

So there you have it, a rundown of the pros and cons of eco-friendly packaging. 

With so many options out there, will you make the switch? 

Whether you choose eco-friendly packaging or not, we are here to deliver your parcels. At Grabbit and Run, we offer a range of delivery services, including same-day delivery, next-day delivery, and even international delivery. No matter where you need your parcel delivered to, we have an experienced driver ready to transport your items. 

And remember, we also have a guarantee of up to DOUBLE your money back if your delivery is not on time! 

Contact us today to have your parcels delivered by professionals! 

Eco-Friendly Packaging FAQs

What packaging is the most environmentally friendly? 

Any form of eco-friendly packaging that can break down easily is your best option! From mushroom packaging to paper-based packaging, these options are biodegradable, meaning you don’t have to worry about getting these products to a particular facility to be properly disposed of. 

How do you know if packaging is eco-friendly? 

In terms of eco-friendly packaging, the key features you need to consider are whether the packaging reduces the environmental impact and if it can be broken down easily in the environment or reused in some way. 

Sustainable packaging differs from other types of packaging in that it focuses on the overall impact on the environment. From sourcing materials to manufacturing, transportation, use, and disposal, sustainable packaging focuses on the whole picture. 

What packaging doesn’t harm the environment?

Paper-based packaging, such as corrugated cardboard, is the least likely to harm the environment. Even if it ends up in landfills, it can easily break down naturally. This process can take as little as 3 months, which is a big difference from traditional packaging, which may take up to hundreds of years to decompose. 

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