As soon as you receive the product you ordered online, the first impressions of that product come from its packaging. Consequently, good companies focus a lot on their packaging style. After all, they don’t want you — the consumer — to think poorly of their product even before you have opened it. This is where the challenge lies. And this is where plastic packaging shines.
Sustainability in Packaging:
Achieving sustainability in packaging is a crucial step in ensuring the supply chain remains sustainable as well. In logistics, packaging could be a high-impact step that a company can take as an effort toward SDGs. As the carbon footprint of both — the consumer and the company, i.e, the majority of the product’s life cycle is reduced in this process.
On the other hand, green packaging aka sustainable packaging is not as simple as just replacing plastic wrappers with paper. They come with their own set of challenges that make it difficult for companies to make the switch.
When it comes to the packaging of products, the material of choice for many industries is plastic. Their advantages are hard to beat — they’re durable, lightweight, and most importantly, cost-effective. This becomes one of the top reasons based on which companies struggle to switch to sustainable packaging.
Safety of the Product:
Green packaging mostly uses biodegradable materials. They tend to be less durable than plastic. Because of this, the shelf-life of the product is reduced. Moisture may leach outside the packaging. Hence, it becomes risky for companies to start adopting eco-friendly packaging.
The Durability of the Packaging:
Biodegradable materials used in eco-friendly packaging, mostly cardboard, and paper, aren’t as durable as plastic. Your package gets tossed around a lot while in transit. To survive that, the packaging needs to be firmly entrenched.
Cost of Packaging:
When a relatively small brand has an eco-friendly label, it is safe to assume that there is a Green Premium associated with it. As Bill Gates calls it the difference between manufacturing an eco-friendly option and a carbon-emitting one.
Sustainable packaging would need considerable time before it gets embraced everywhere and becomes a cheaper option than other non-eco-friendly ones. The technology has not yet scaled to the level of mass adoption.
Branding and Versatility:
Using vibrant colors, big texts with loads of information about the product would become difficult for brands to incorporate into their statement packaging labels. For this reason, FMCG brands are stuck with plastic packaging for now.
Different products make use of different types of plastics depending on the kind of product. This versatility is yet to become of the green packaging industry. Although technologies like corn starch pouches, and paper tapes are being developed, again, it is still early before scaling, especially for FMCG brands.
Cooperation from Customers:
Packaging products in a sustainable manner is just a piece of the pie. Without proper disposal by the customer — which is you — green packaging has no use. For all its glory, sustainable packaging needs to tackle this one huge problem. Educating customers via government or commercial campaigns becomes crucial in ensuring that a circular economy materializes or is implemented.
Government bodies (and NGOs) responsible for municipal waste management would have to ensure that these wastes are properly identified, segregated, and recycled.
It should be clear by now that sustainable packaging is not just a simple adoption strategy. Though, it can be implemented widely. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution that ensures all the participants in the life cycle of a product do their part sustainably.
There is hope. Big e-commerce chains, like Amazon, have started to embrace green packaging in India. Also, mainstream food delivery apps like Zomato and Swiggy are taking steps in the right direction. With Single-Use Plastic Ban from July 2022, companies will be forced to incorporate green packaging in their supply chain. Read this blog to understand why companies should adopt eco-friendly packaging.
Would you be willing to pay slightly extra when brands offer a Sustainable Packaging option?
You can check out our Foldable Tote, Sanitary Pouch, and other eco-friendly fabric bag items, available in a variety of colors and designs, to ensure that you are staying sustainable at an individual level.
Contributed by: Sayee Saran