5 sustainable packaging trends to watch in 2017

By Kevin Hill

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: iStock/homeworks255
Pic: iStock/homeworks255
More and more companies are realizing the importance of sustainability when it comes to packaging, writes Kevin Hill in this guest article. 

There was a time when companies just focused on improving their product, brand image and customer experience. Now times have changed and they have shifted their attention to the packaging as well. And companies are realizing the importance of sustainability in this aspect.

A lot of waste comes from disposing packaging, most of which is sent to landfills. This is the reason why sustainable packaging has gained tremendous popularity. Companies are looking into different ways of incorporating different sustainable materials and construction methods in their packaging in order to create less impact on the planet.

Sustainable Packaging Trends to Look For in 2017

'Create clear labeling. Being honest with consumers will go a long way'

  1. Labeling will get clearer

    The first step is to create clear labeling. Make it clear on the product packaging on how to dispose it and clarify if there are any sustainable claims. With increased transparency, you can help in informing your customers on how to recycle the product packaging or how to dispose of it properly.
    By having clear labeling, you also help your customers become better informed. If you use plastic packaging for some product and if it is compostable, let your customers know of the exact requirements they should be aware of to make sure that it will actually decompose. Being honest with customers will go a long way. 

  2. Lightweight packaging will be embraced

    The concept of lightweight packaging is gaining momentum as of late. There are numerous benefits of this — you need less material to produce packages, the manufacturing costs are low, the environmental impact from transport is minimized and the waste sent to the landfills is reduced. The only negative of lightweight packaging is that when the recovery rates increase, it will remove the value from the recycling stream and undermine the economic incentive to recycle.

  3. Increased use of recyclable materials

    The easiest way to ensure that the packaging creates the least impact on the planet is by manufacturing it using recyclable materials such as cardboard, paper, recyclable plastic, etc. Discuss with your packaging manufacturer regarding different material options that meet your budget and needs before you begin the production. You can even use recycled materials to make the packaging.

  4. Edible packaging

    This is the one concept that is making heads turn. Edible packaging is all about eliminating the packaging waste altogether. This is a conscious effort made by several companies to reduce the overall plastics and paper waste. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to eat the packaging of the product that it came with!
    However, there are a number of challenges that come with it, such as logistical problems like the risk of packaging material being broken up or marketing challenges like customers’ impression that the packaging is unhygienic. It’s still in the nascent stages of planning and execution but it definitely is gaining speed and interests among numerous companies despite mass commercialization being quite distant.

  5. Packages will slim down

    Do you use a huge package for a tiny product? Even if there are a couple of open spaces within the package, you are creating extra material that needs to be disposed of. Consult with your packaging manufacturer about creating custom packaging boxes for all your products so that you can save space and materials. Opt for minimalistic packaging that ranks high on aesthetics as well as design aspects. Ditch bulky packages and it won’t be long before the customers also take notice of how your product provides better value.

2017 will observe numerous several key trends that will impact the global packaging industry. These trends will address newer brand challenges and consumer needs. You can automate packaging to come up with innovations that can transform the global packaging industry in 2017. The branding, lettering and structure of packaging will get more unique, support brand identity and help the product’s form.

Packaging will get smarter, intelligent and more active. You must explore the opportunities and risks that come with packaging e-commerce products, which is set to rise significantly in the future. Look beyond traditional categories and portfolio to enhance the experience of packaging and brand interaction for your customers in 2017.

kevin hill sustainable packaging

About the author: Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts and provides technical expertise to the sales and service teams at Quality Scales Unlimited​ in Byron, California. Using his expertise in packaging, Kevin has also helped customers identify cost saving opportunities by performing packaging assessments enabling them to achieve their cost savings targets. He also manages projects and looks over the implementation of various cost-saving measures to ensure desired results.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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