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Sustainable Packaging Solutions: Reducing Waste and Impacting the Environment

Sustainable Packaging Solutions: Reducing Waste and Impacting the Environment

All, gift box, rigid boxes, creative packaging, wrapping ideas

Packaging is all around us. Think of the custom boxes for gifts that we use for shipping or for wrapping something that we will deliver by hand. Think about the packaging for items that are ordered from various websites, and eventually arrive at our doors. Now consider the boxes that contain the goods that are displayed in local stores, and how that packaging may be used to capture our attention. 

It's hard to imagine a world where no packaging exists. Given the sheer volume of packages that are in use every day, it makes sense to consider how the production process impacts our world. You may also wonder what sort of impact takes place when those boxes and other containers are discarded. 

In times past, packaging options weren't always made of materials that were kinder to the environment. Today, there are choices that are considered sustainable, and leave less of an ecological footprint. Here's what you should know about these selections, and why using them whenever possible makes a positive impact on the environment. 

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What's Meant by Sustainable Packaging?

Whether it's a matter of selecting gift wrapping near me or you, or coming up with shipping boxes to send something to a loved one, don't be surprised if you have the chance to go with materials that are classed as sustainable. Exactly what doe that mean? 

In the broadest sense, sustainable means that the packaging causes less harm to the environment. The packaging materials are considered eligible for recycling, and are often made using recycled materials themselves. Unlike other packaging choices that could end up in a landfill and take decades to deteriorate, sustainable containers, fillers, and wraps can be composted with ease. That opens a whole new avenue for supporting rather than harming the ecology. 

Are There Other Names Used?

While sustainable packaging is among the more common names for this type of packing containers and materials, it's not the only one in use. Depending on the retailer or the manufacturer involved, a different description may be used. It's good to have some idea of what names are used to indicate the packaging is designed to not have any long-term ill effects on the environment.

You may hear the materials referred to as energy efficient, meaning it takes less energy to produce them. Perhaps they are called compostable packaging, meaning they can be broken down and provide nutrients for soil. Maybe you hear they are biodegradable, greenwashed, or organic. These are all names indicating the packaging is created using materials that are environmentally-friendly. 

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What Are Some Examples of This Type of Packaging? 

When you think of packaging, the box or container may be what immediately comes to mind. While that's true, other elements of packaging happen to be sustainable also. For example: 

  • You can ask for packaging peanuts that are biodegradable. 
  • Bubble wrap that's corrugated and made using recycled materials is available.
  • In like manner, air pillows use to cushion package contents can be made using recycled materials. 
  • Gift boxes and packing crates may be manufactured with the use of recycled cardboard and even recycled paper.
  • It's possible to find packaging that uses cornstarch as a primary ingredient.
  • Certain types of mushrooms can be processed to create packaging that's suitable for use.
  • Seaweed is an excellent renewable resource that can be used in creating organic packaging today.
  • Plastics and other materials that have been broken down and recycled into new containers and fillers qualify as sustainable packaging. 

There are other options, but these provide some idea of what is happening in terms of creating more environmentally-friendly packaging materials. You may come across some other options that are being used in your area. 

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Does the Use of Sustainable Packaging Really Make a Difference? 

It's estimated that more than 146 million tons of waste are found in landfills throughout the United States alone. An estimated 18% is thought to be plastics, while another 11% is thought to be paper and cardboard. Consider how packaging that's sustainable can change that. 

There's no doubt that opting to go with packaging that's sustainable makes a difference. Simply put, fewer packing materials end up being tossed into the trash. Instead, they can be donated at a recycling center, and eventually be utilized to make new sorts of packaging. That translates into smaller landfills, and reduces the need to open new ones. 

When you are making plans for a gift delivery, do ask about the packaging used for the gift proper, and any packaging that will protect the gift while it's on the way to the recipient. What you hope to find is that whatever is used will not create an additional burden on the environment. 

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What About Appearance? Will Sustainable Packages Look as Nice? 

Without a doubt, people like the idea of attractive packaging. That's one reason custom gift wrapping is so popular; it provides the opportunity to select elements that tend to reflect the tastes of the recipient, and make receiving the gift even more pleasant. Does any of that have to be sacrificed because sustainable wrapping is used? 

The answer is no. As any customized gift wrapper will affirm, the choices for colors and patterns are just as varied with today's sustainable wraps as with any other form of wrapping in the past. Finding something that's suitable for the type of gift and for the recipient won't be difficult. 

In like manner, you won't have to settle for a container that's decidedly too large for whatever you've chosen to order. Boxes and other containers made using organic or recycled materials come in all sizes and shapes. From something suitable for a sweater to the perfect container to ship framed artwork, there is something that will work nicely, hold up well during the shipping process, and even include beautiful wrap on the gift itself. 

This applies not only to wrapping for gifts ordered by individuals. It's not unusual for business owners to utilize wrapping that's somehow connected with the companies they operate. Think of how nice it can be to have customized wrapping paper that incorporates the company colors, or maybe even uses the company logo as part of the design. Such an option would be ideal when it comes to offering gifts to customers around the holidays. 

Questioning the Cost of Sustainable Wraps and Containers

Whether designing packaging for products that will be displayed on shelves or wrapping that will be used for gifts, some thought is given to the cost of those containers. Don't be surprised if you hear that using sustainable materials will add to the overall cost. The reality is that the opposite may be true. 

Why is this possible? The packaging is made using materials that require less expense to produce. This may have to do with the type of material, or it could be that the material is made using recycled goods. In either scenario, it may be less expensive and require less production time than the more conventional approaches used in the past. This is good news for you, since it means it's possible to do something good for the environment and not end up with any additional expense. 

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Can People Reuse and Repurpose as Well as Recycle the Packaging? 

Here's something to keep in mind when looking for organic and biodegradable gift basket wrap ideas: there's a good chance that the recipient will be able to reuse the packaging in some manner. That use may be around the house, or it may be utilizing the materials to prepare and send a package to someone else. 

There's nothing new about this idea. For decades, people have saved boxes and wrapping to reuse rather than purchasing new boxes and wraps when they want to give someone a present. That does not have to change because you gifted them something in sustainable packaging. If anything, it helps to make the materials even more useful. 

Don't overlook the fact that some of those materials may be altered or adapted to serve a purpose other than the original. For example, sustainable gift wrap may end up being used for book covers, while boxes and other containers may be ideal for storing winter clothing during the summer months. 

Asking For Packaging That's Eco-Friendly

There are a number of businesses that proudly proclaim that they used biodegradable or organic options for their containers and wrapping. Others may not advertise as wildly. In either scenario, you can always ask in advance. 

What you may find is that a business that does not market itself as offering sustainable options for packaging does in fact use them. Further, you can find out what sort of recycled or organic materials are used. Once you have that information, it's all the easier to determine what you want in terms of containers and gift wrap delivery. 

You may be surprised to learn how many gift wrappers near me and you offer the option of only using boxes and other materials that are considered sustainable. Along with selecting the gift with care, find out more about the type of containers, wrap, and even the bows that can be used. What you may discover is that you can feel good about what's used to prepare the gift for delivery as well as the contents of the box itself. 

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