Frustration from the amount of packaging that comes with new electronic devices is common among consumers. Traditionally, each part has been individually wrapped within a seemingly impossible package to open. Now electronics companies are focusing more on the consumer experience when unboxing their new electronic device with sleek, easy to open, minimal packaging that still effectively protects the product. These consumers are excited for the latest innovation, be it device or packaging, and the industry is benefitting. In addition to consumer driven sustainable packaging, consumer electronics companies are being pushed by government and regulations. This is especially true in the United States and Europe where legislation is being considered for extended producer responsibility programs, restrictions on single-use packaging, and more. In order to make a move towards more sustainable packaging in the consumer electronics industry, it needs to encompass the whole package. That means not only making it recyclable, but evaluating sustainable alternatives for materials and designing for recyclability or recoverability.
Trends in Sustainable Packaging for Consumer ElectronicsDue to consumer demands and the need to become more sustainable to continue to survive, consumer electronics companies are getting more innovative with their packaging. Through alternative materials and designs, companies are taking action.
Increasing the Use of Recycled MaterialsMany companies are embracing recycling materials and repurposing them as packaging for our electronics. For example, Microsoft is pledging to increase recycled content across their entire portfolio by 2030. In the Microsoft Devices Sustainability Report FY20, they reported having 58% recycled content.
Switching to More Sustainable MaterialsIn addition to increasing recycled content in packaging, consumer electronics companies are switching the materials they use to package our phones, computers, and gaming consoles. A widely used material in the industry is molded pulp which can be made from bamboo, sugarcane, recycled paper, and more fibers. It is versatile, recyclable and can protect a wide range of products by being formed in many different shapes. Examples of Sustainable Material Changes:
- Since 2019, all Apple retail outlets use 100% fiber bags.
- In 2019 Samsung announced the replacement of their plastic holder trays with molded pulp.