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Did you know that packaging can make or break your product? It is the first thing that a consumer looks at while buying a product. The way the box, jar or a tube looks and feels is what gives the first and most important impression of your product, brand and philosophy. If your packaging impresses the consumer and resonates well with his beliefs, then there is a very high likelihood of a purchase. Hence, we like to believe that packaging is the window to your product.

With the rate at which we are consuming resources and producing waste, we will soon be plagued by serious environmental problems like droughts, heatwaves and climate change. Hence, to save our future generations from the adverse effect of climate change, we have to become more social and eco-conscious.

Brands have to think of innovative ways to become sustainable and thrive, and one of the most visible ways is by going for sustainable packaging.

The aim of sustainable packaging is to create a sustainable cycle which starts with using recyclable raw materials so that the production process is reduced to lessen the carbon footprint. Also, once the product is used, the packaging can again be recycled to create raw materials for the new product. This will extend both the life and usability of the package.

Before we discuss about the latest packaging trends, let us first understand what exactly is the meaning of sustainable packaging-:

What is Sustainable Packaging?

Most of us think if the product is not packed in plastic, it must be sustainable. However, that is not true. Sustainable packaging means packaging that decreases its environmental impact over time. It is also not about the final product, but also about ingredients used in packaging, the process of production, as well as, if they can be recycled or reused.

Unilever, the consumer goods giant, has been championing the cause of sustainability for quite some time. “The main ambition of the brand was to make U the “trust mark of sustainable living,” said Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer. He added that the company wanted to market its product, yet make a positive impact on the society. “Let’s try and do marketing in such a way that we are addressing real social challenges,” Weed added. As a result, the company has pledged to halve the amount of virgin plastic used, as well as, increase the recycled plastic material content in packaging to 25% by 2025.

Cosmetic giant Lush encourages customers to return their black pots by offering free products in exchange. They then collect these black pots, shred them, recycle them and mold them into new containers.

Another interesting example is Indonesian startup Evoware that designs food wrappings and sachets made out of a seaweed-based material that can be eaten.

Now that we have a fair understanding of the term ‘sustainable packaging,’ let us explore some sustainable packaging trends to follow.

2020 sustainable packaging trends :

With more and more companies joining the sustainability bandwagon and scrambling to woo customers with their “save the planet” ideology, let us talk about top trends this year-:

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce :

Most of us are familiar with these phrases. When we replace disposable items with reusable ones, we play a huge role in saving both resources, as well as, the environment. Some simple examples of reuse are using jute bags instead of plastic or turning vegetable peelings into compost. Using paper-based packaging rather than plastics as paper is made from trees, which is renewable. Paper packaging also encourages companies to grow more trees and paper can be recycled too.

Also, rather than buying new clothes every season, think about how you can re-style or re-purpose your old clothes. Reduce means cut down on unnecessary expenditure and impulse buying as it means you are cutting down packaging, waste and energy costs in transportation. Avoid going for one-off item, plastic bottles or plastic bags.

Recyclable packaging is made of materials that can be used again after processing. Some of these options are packaging made out of corrugated cardboard, glass, metal, paper, etc.

Adopting minimalism :

More and more companies are adopting minimalism in their packaging as it is biodegradable and eco-friendly. It means they are reducing packaging materials with a mission to encourage consumers to recycle and reuse products. For example, Cacao Barry Tocantins, a company that sells chocolates, is packaged in materials that is made from paper paste, tied with fine rope and sealed with wax. It is minimal, as well as, sustainable.

Say hello to bioplastics and edible packaging :

More and more companies are moving from fossil fuels to bioplastics. Bioplastics are plant- based produce and made from crops like sugarcane, corn, cassava, etc. They are environmentally friendly and increase resource efficiency. Moreover, these are renewable resources and better than fossil fuels.

Edible packaging is a trend in the food packaging industry where you can eat the packaging. Some common examples are our favorite ice cream cones, edible cups and starch-based cake wrappers.

Mono-Materials :

Like the word suggests, these packages are made from only one material. As they are made from one polymer, they can be collected and recycled easily. Hence, many companies in Europe are going for PP-based mono-material packaging that is suitable for many applications.

Other packaging trends that are becoming popular :

Smart packaging and Augmented Reality :

As technological innovations continue to evolve, the packaging industry too is adopting innovative methods to woo customers. Hence, several wine and toy companies are using interactive and multimedia applications for augmented reality in their packaging. The fascinating technology of AR can be used to improve product packaging, boost brand loyalty, woo new customers, and stand out from competitors.

Intellect Commerce also encourages sustainable packaging. For more information, request for a free demo of iRetail software that will help you attain your sustainability goals easily.

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