Four ways SMEs can reduce their packaging plastic

Cost-effective and eco-friendly packaging


Saving money in small businesses is often a huge criterion for many companies. But it is possible to save money without compromising on quality and still help towards saving the planet from pollution. One can and still have a clear conscience that they are not contributing to their landfill problems nor endangering our marine and river life in seas and waterways.

Plastic is not your only ‘go-to’ option

Everything these days seems to come wrapped in plastic from the food that is consumed, to the packaging used for goods. Many packaging suppliers now produce cost-effective packaging that has been recycled, or that is ‘green’ and therefore will not hang around in a landfill for years on end. Some packaging can take hundreds of years to break down, meanwhile polluting the planet with no end of toxic substances.

Knowledge is key – take some time to investigate what packaging is reusable and recyclable, and avoid single-use plastic at all costs. Single-use plastic is the main protagonist in harming the environment. At the same time, make customers aware of your care concerns, and they will respect you for it. A simple, friendly note put in with their shipment showing your commitment will impress them and probably gain you more business.

Plastic bags and plastic bottles are now being recycled in a big way – a lot of packaging started life as these items, and manufacturers are now realizing that this type of packaging do more harm than anything else, particularly wildlife, where it becomes entangled in their natural habitats and consequently inside them as well. Just a few sensible steps and executive decisions to ban this type of plastic will make a huge difference.

Cardboard can be the king

It may seem like an old-fashioned idea to use cardboard, but it is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to package goods. Cardboard, when returned to the earth, degrades quite quickly in comparison to plastic, particularly when in touch with a body of water or weather elements such as rain or snow. Marine life worldwide can fight their way through cardboard, but not through the plastic.

Many companies tend to use boxes that are far too large for their items. Make sure the packaging is as snug a fit as possible to avoid copious amounts of wrapping inside and to cut down on cardboard overall. Compare single-walled with double-walled cardboard and choose the right type for your organization to protect whatever it is you are shipping out.
There is no need to buy packaging in large runs or limited sizes in the case of a small company. Suppliers are now providing small businesses with better-mixed choices and shorter runs, as they have become more aware of their customers’ needs and obligations.

Plant-based packaging

An innovative alternative to cardboard, plant-based or recycled food-based packaging is a growing market. It may sound odd but it’s environmentally friendly and not expensive.

This style of packaging can be used both as a container and also as protective layers within the packaging to hold the product in place. It is strong and plastic-like when made from material such as cornstarch. Packaging made from mushrooms is also an option. Made from waste materials, it degrades extremely quickly.

Seaweed is another option for packaging. Some manufacturers are already using it to make alternatives to bottles.

Create your 3D packaging

While the initial up-front cost of a 3D machine is the first thing that comes to mind but after dealing with the initial budgetary constraints, packaging size no longer remains a problem. Packaging can be produced to suit different products. Food-based material (such as Polyactic Acid, or PLA) can also be used although there are other more expensive options.

The article was submitted by NuPrint UK. 

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