Over the past decade, we have seen a monumental shift in social attitudes as to how we produce, procure and consume goods. Lead by leading public figures including David Attenborough through his groundbreaking documentaries Planet Earth II and more recently, Blue Planet II, it is becoming ever clearer the impact that our current consumption levels are having on our planet and the animals with which we co-exist.
So, what can be done to help lighten our footprints? And how do we set about trying to create packaging which not only enhances a company’s brand and message but does so in a sustainable manner? Here at Wrapology, we have invested a great deal of time and effort in giving our clients the best options available to help your brand achieve these ambitions. Our basic message, however, is easy; when it comes to using materials and finishes - keep it simple.
One key issue with the concepts of ‘sustainable’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ packaging is that they are themselves very subjective terms. There are certain buzzwords and phrases which, much like the environment itself, can appear great on the surface, but be far dirtier the closer you look. It is important, therefore, that you not only know what sort of materials you are using but how they came into being.
The best example of this is when using ‘recycled materials’ to produce packaging. This is becoming an ever increasingly popular trend with companies such as Adidas and Manchester United most recently collaborating to produce English football’s first ever kit to be made from recycled ocean plastics.
On the face of it, this concept of using recycled materials is a fantastic use of matter but it is crucial that this recycling process is expertly managed as if this is not done, and if harsh chemicals are used to bleach papers, for example, any good done by using recycled materials is completely offset. Furthermore, there is also the problem of not being able to source where recycled materials have originated from; it is, therefore, possible that buying these recycled materials could be financing potentially illegal practices and unchecked deforestation.
There are, however, numerous possibilities open to you if improving your company’s sustainability is a goal for the present, and not one is more straightforward than moving to FSC papers. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a global forest certification system which enables you to identify, purchase and use products produced from well-managed forests and also offers tracked recycled materials. As an FSC certified company, we would always suggest this as in introductory step on the road to making your packaging truly sustainable.
Recently, there have been new products come to market including GF Smith and James Cropper papers that are now made from recycled coffee cups. Although these are likely to loosen the purse strings a fair amount, they are undoubtedly a fantastic product of great quality and are helping to tackle a very hot topic of the war on plastics.
As an environmentally friendly supplier, our basic message to any client who is looking to make their packaging more sustainable is to keep things as simple as possible and mix as few materials as possible. If you are creating a box to hold your product, try to use card and board fitments wherever possible and avoid plastic VAC trays. If you are thinking about adding a lamination to your bag in order to strengthen it, only do so if it is absolutely necessary for the bags intended use.
The fewer pieces you put into your packaging, the more you are doing to help.