2016 Sustainable Packaging Trends
The year 2016 has seen many changes in lifestyle and thought on the environment and sustainability. One of the most prevalent places that this can be seen is in the consumer goods marketplace. Consumers are becoming more and more susceptive to wholesome packaging that helps keep our Earth healthy. Here are some of the recent trends in the consumer goods marketplace:
Post Consumer Recycled Content
Recycled packaging continues to grow in popularity. You will find many brands that use post-consumer recycled (PCR) content in their sustainability initiatives, but some are now taking this to the next level. Newton is a running shoe manufacturer who saw the importance of embracing sustainability. Newton created a shoebox made entirely of recycled pulp. They molded the unsightly recycled pulp around their shoes to make for a cool and unique box. The consumer marketplace saw this as a selling point, and it made for a successful marketing strategy.
Bare Minimum Packaging
Amazon is another company that is striving to be sustainable and has found that reducing packaging can actually add value to the consumers. Customers now have the option to choose “frustration free packaging” when choosing a shipping method. Frustration free packaging helps reduce waste by shipping a product in the absolute bare minimal packaging required to get from point A to point B successfully. This has been a big hit for Amazon customers and for the company as a whole. Since the start of this program, Amazon has certified over 200,000 items that are available to ship frustration free.
2016 saw some dominant brands make major strides towards light weighting their packaging. Light weighting is a technique that focuses on decreasing packaging weight, which reduces material usage and lowers costs throughout the supply chain. One company that has used this technique very effectively is Coca-Cola. Here are some of the things that Coca-Cola is doing to help reduce resources used in packaging:
- Trimmed the weight 20-ounce PET plastic bottle by more than 25 percent
- Shaved 30 percent from the weight of our 12-ounce aluminum can
- Lightened our 8-ounce glass bottle by more than 50 percent.
When exploring light weighting options, it is important to remember to balance the environmental impact with consumer experience of the packaging.
Data driven design decisions
Increasingly, companies are using science to back up their sustainable design initiatives. Life cycle assessment or LCA can be an essential eco-innovation technique that can identify “hotspots” or areas that a company may want to focus on to improve the environmental standing of their packages. Some companies are developing internal tools to do this job for them, but this is often cumbersome and expensive. LCA applications like COMPASS, which has been endorsed by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, provide material guidance during the design phase so product engineers can optimize packages for sustainability.