Why is eco-friendly packaging important? 

The terms "eco" and "green" get thrown around a lot. We know that trust in companies claiming to be eco-friendly is pretty low and accusations of greenwashing are on the rise. Here at Tiny Box Company we are trying our best to be as sustainable as possible, we're not perfect but we believe that by stocking recycled and environmentally-friendly products we can help other companies become more "green" too.

So what exactly does "eco-friendly packaging" mean and how much impact does packaging have on the environment anyway? Here we'll explain what eco packaging is, why we think it's important and suggest some small changes businesses can make that can a huge overall impact.

What is eco packaging?

Eco packaging is an alternative to more "traditional" forms of packaging (more on that later). When you buy something, online or in person, the item you have bought is almost always wrapped in some form of outer packaging for protection, transportation or both. The trouble is often packaging is at least partially made of plastic.

By using a more eco-friendly packaging solution, such as recycled gift boxes, you can reduce your impact on the environment. Recycling isn't quite a foolproof plan, as we discussed in a previous blog here, but by switching to recycled and recyclable packaging materials you can help reduce the 6 billion tonnes of waste that goes to landfill every year.

What's wrong with plastic packaging materials?

"Traditional" plastic packaging has been popular because it's cheap and effective but its mass production has led to a huge increase in single-use plastics in landfill and waterways. As those products break down microplastics have been flooding into the sea and waterways and into our food supply and that's a real concern.

It's not like all alternatives are perfect but cardboard production accounted for less than 1% "of the worlds total greenhouse gas emissions in 2017". 

That carbon, however, can be recaptured and as plain cardboard is generally biodegradable or can be compostable, the plants grown to recapture those gases could be grown using mulch that contains old packaging materials. 

What can businesses do to lower their environmental impact?

If you're worried about being sustainable in your own business, here are some tips to help you overcome some of the hurdles, from our own experience at Tiny Box Company .

Buy tools that last

A great way to make your business more sustainable is to buy tools and equipment that last. Cheap tools are okay if you're in a pinch or if the one you really want is really out of budget, but having tools that last long enough to hand down to future generations not only allows you to produce the best quality products but also saves you money in the long run as you only have that outlay once. This is us giving you permission to buy that nice tool you've been eyeing up but you're struggling to justify, you can thank us later.

Look carefully at the fine print of your packaging materials

At first glance, many "sustainable" packaging solutions may seem just that. For example, take a "documents enclosed" envelope with that little film window. Many people never think to remove that film therefore rendering it un-recyclable. Ours are 100% plastic-free and recyclable. By carefully considering the material that your box, carry bag or packet is made from before you order them you can help eliminate the need for your customers to sort their waste.

Get some compostable packaging for shipped items

Very often people who want to green up their business fail to take into account their shipping packaging. In order to properly lower the overall carbon footprint of your brand, consider compostable packaging, like these compostable mailing bags. Compostable mailers are an ideal way to make your brand more environmentally friendly by making sure something that is usually disposable is discarded in an environmentally responsible way.

Shout about your Sustainable packaging

Okay it seems a little strange, but there is a range of plastic lookalikes nowadays that are 100% plastic free. These organic alternatives can be so convincing that many of your customers may not realise that it can be recycled completely or even compostable.

Take this cellulose film for example, you can wrap your products in exactly the same way and it's completely home compostable, plus it's unlikely that anybody will be able to tell the difference. Or perhaps compostable styrofoam alternative made from mushrooms. Carefully consider not just the materials, but how your materials are going to be used and disposed of and make sure your customers know the difference!.

This isn't the solution, but it's a start

So as with everything, there are many other ways to take responsibility for the environmental impact of your packaging, but you're all so wonderfully unique, there isn’t a blanket solution we can give you in this blog, but one of our Tiny team can certainly talk through your requirements, ethos and practises to make sure we suggest the best possible option for you and your business.

We have loads of different ways for your business to get a start with environmentally friendly packaging supplies, from startups to big businesses. We're always talking about it, so if you'd like to keep up with it you can check out our instagram here or if you need help and want to go through some options you can give our customer service team a shout.


Shop our Sustainable Packaging