Waste-Free Packaging: Is it Always the Greenest Choice?

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Waste-Free Packaging: Is it Always the Greenest Choice?

Fri Jul 15, 2016

We now live in a time when environmental consciousness is at its highest, and being wasteful is no longer condoned. In all aspects of life, consumers are looking to be greener, and this is especially true when it comes to packaging.

It's a great thing to package your product in a more environmentally-friendly way, but it's also important to be completely upfront with the consumers and to make sure the "environmentally-friendly" option you are choosing is as waste-free as you think it is. There are many misconceptions, both from the consumers' and companies' point of view, and it's important to be aware.

For instance, many companies will say they have an environmentally-friendly package because they use recycled paper, even though a foil-based material is being utilized.  They will market it as green packaging, but the foil is anything but.  Furthermore, using recycled paper isn't always as green. When you consider the energy being used to reclaim, preprocess, and recycle it, then get it back into the supply chain, it can—in many cases—actually be more environmentally-friendly to use virgin paper.

New processes and sciences are constantly being developed to further the green packaging market.  This, too, is great for the planet, but again, it's not always so black and white. It's important for companies and customers to ask questions.  Is a water soluble package that "disappears" after use greener than one that does not? Perhaps, but if it's being sold as a pre-measured dose and includes packaging for 60 doses, all of which required energy to produce, it might not be any greener than one package that holds the same amount of product.

There are many ways to look at the topic of waste free packaging, and in the end, what's best for the planet is what's best for everyone.  However, in order to determine the ideal solution we need to consider how much energy is utilized throughout the supply chain, and what is the overall "carbon footprint"?