While no business, household, or organization may never be 100% waste-free, brands must take steps to be more environmentally aware. Packaging and product wastage impacts our environment; corporations are a huge part of this.
In fact, 20 companies as the source of 55% of the world’s single-use plastic waste, while the top 100 companies account for more than 90% according to Plastic Waste Makers Index. While the packaging is necessary to ship and store goods, as businesses in the eCommerce space, we need to develop ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
Here are some additional shocking statistics about packaging waste:
- Almost 98% percent of single-use plastic comes from virgin fossil fuels – plastic created without recycled materials. (source: Plastic Waste Makers Index)
- Only 2% of single-use plastic produced in 2019 was recycled plastic or bio-based feedstocks. (source: Plastic Waste Makers Index)
- 54% of consumers consider sustainable packaging when selecting a product with a driving force of ages 44 and under — while another 64% of consumers desire recyclable products (source: NACS).
The demand is there, and it’s time brand owners listen to consumer sustainability needs. While there are many ways to become more environmentally aware, pairing with a 3PL might be a big help; check out our blog article on how OceanX helps clients achieve sustainability goals.
Lessening Packaging/Product Wastage
Being a third-party fulfillment team, we receive both packaging and pallets of goods from co-packers or manufacturers. Because of this, we receive input on how much waste goes through the fulfillment lifecycle.
One popular reason could be that co-packers are not sending out goods efficiently. Or for example, if co-packers store in different cases but use thin corrugate boxes, it may become damaged, leading to re-packing and additional waste.
We try to prevent this because most brand sustainability boils down to wastage. Expired products are also a notable waste risk in the beauty and wellness industry. When a product is expired, there’s no further use for it. So, what’s the solution? Some fulfillment partners can send the expired product to a waste facility that will transform waste into energy.
As 3PLs, we create a feedback loop for brands on how their products are arriving and how we can limit environmental waste.
Sustainability Vs. Packaging Aesthetics
One big issue amongst marketers in the sustainable eCommerce industry is the lack of visual appeal. For brands to stay relevant and in the consumer’s favor, packaging needs to create an experience for the customer. However, one dilemma for packaging aesthetics is using additional packout materials.
How can we create a first-class experience with sustainable resources? Andrea Duffy, influencer and marketing manager of Ann Marie Gianna (a wild-crafted organic skincare company), reveals a great example of fusing the two concepts at the Personalized Beauty Keynote Presentation.
Andrea quotes, “We put a lavender sachet within the box — so when you open the box, it smells beautiful, and it just kinda gives them a nice warm, happy feeling. And, then you also have ways you repurpose that, a lot of people will throw it in their underwear drawer, sweaters, or their travel packs.”
This example is a perfect way of intergrading packaging aesthetics (brand smell) in an eco-friendly fashion.
Here are a few eco-friendly practices that can keep brand aesthetics:
- Eco-Friendly Printing
- Raw Materials
- Combining. Utilizing fewer packages by combining products. With large order quantities, brands tend to opt-in for overnight shipping near the holidays. While overnight fulfillment is excellent, providing an option for the consumer to ship in fewer boxes can reduce your carbon footprint.
- Repurposing. Finding dual purposes for packaging reduces waste. For instance, a probiotic company ship their product in a glass vile repurposed into a travel bottle that serves a dual purpose.
- Biodegradable Packaging; biodegradable packaging has box pros and cons but creates a highly-sustainable approach to packout materials.
Sustainable Packaging Practicality
Packaging aesthetics are all the rave, but what about practicality? Here at OceanX, we had a probiotic company that wanted completely compostable materials instead of traditional packouts such as shrink-wrap.
Instead, they wanted other plastic alternatives that are more “green” (another blanket term for sustainability). While great in concept, to our demise, it started to rain at our Los Angelos 3PL facility – a rare occurrence for California.
The rain made the material wet, and it did what it was supposed to do, deteriorate. The team had to apply additional layers to keep the product undamaged. Because of this story and more, we must always think about weather impacts and other elements out of our control. This packaging example is excellent for considering sustainability and practicality in our materials to avoid disaster.
Achieve Sustainability Goals with OceanX
With green thinking, partnering with a 3PL could push you toward the finish line. At OceanX, we ask in-depth questions to gather information about your business and sustainability objectives. From there, we can provide recommendations on various ship methods, carriers to utilize, and much more that impact your sustainability goals.
Sustainability is a big topic that means so many different things to brands. And although there are hundreds of ways to become eco-friendly, it all starts with a mindset. Becoming sustainable is not for a show; it’s for a greater purpose, cleaning our environment.
How can we achieve your brand’s sustainability goals? At OceanX, we help brand owners achieve their packaging sustainability through tech-first and eco-friendly solutions. Contact our 3PL professionals for support!!