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From Waste to Wow: How Eco-Friendly Packaging Can Boost A Brand

Cening Amaranggana
Cening Amaranggana

March 19, 2024

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  • Beyond eco-minded consumers, general consumers increasingly prefer sustainable packaging
  • In the past, sustainable packaging designs tend to be simple (and boring)
  • A new generation of innovative designs are making sustainable packaging cool
  • Creative sustainable packaging can help your brand do good and do well

eco friendly packaging designs
Source: Behance

64% of consumers prioritize sustainability according to a survey, and businesses need to take notice. An area where this shift is impacting is packaging. Contrary to the misconception that eco-friendly packaging is boring, there are opportunities for businesses to create visually appealing and innovative packaging solutions. Creative design not only enhances the product's appearance. This combination of artistry and environmental responsibility resonates with consumers and enhances brand value.  

Sustainable packaging helps drive the circular economy

The linear "take, make, dispose" model, common in fast-moving consumer goods, food, and electronics industries does not work anymore. This traditional model has led to plastic pollution (particularly in oceans), resource depletion, and environmental degradation. Sustainable packaging is one way to not only benefit the environment but also attract environmentally conscious consumers.

Greener packager can also boost profits

Source: Nikita Burdenkov

According to the 2023 Buying Green Report, 82% of consumers across age demographics showed a willingness to pay more for sustainable packaging. In addition, consumers increasingly associate sustainability with brand image and selecting eco-friendly packaging is now a strategic business decision.

Some strategies businesses can employ to attain these benefits include:

Short-term Wins:

  1. Material:

    Examples include biodegradable plastics, recycled paper, and plant-based alternatives (such as mushroom packaging or bagasse (sugarcane pulp))
  2. Design:

    Product design plays a crucial role. For instance, Puma’s innovative packaging serves a dual purpose and doubles as a reusable bag. This not only adds functionality but also enhances the overall consumer experience.
Source: Sustainability Magazine
  1. Communication:

    Transparency and storytelling are key components. Clearly communicate the eco-friendly materials used, design choices made, and impact of these decisions. Sharing the brand's journey towards sustainability through QR codes or augmented reality experiences can create a connection with consumers and enhance brand loyalty.

Long-term Strategy:

  1. Adopting a Lifecycle Approach:

    Implementing a lifecycle approach involves considering the entire lifespan of packaging, from raw material extraction to end-of-life. Here are examples:
    • Establish a system for the collection and recycling of packaging materials
    • Use lighter eco-friendly materials to decrease weight and minimise void fillers through innovative designs and right-sized packaging to reduce waste
    • Invest in durable packaging that won’t get damaged during transit, reducing returns and processing costs. It can also get reused or upcycled (see Samsung example below)

The secret is to make eco-friendly packaging beautiful and clever

Eco-friendly packaging does not mean compromising on visual appeal and utility. Creative packaging design can look attractive and improve the consumer experience to create a positive association with the brand. With the earlier Puma case, by using less material in shoeboxes, they save 2,800 tonnes of cardboard per year, which is equivalent to33,600 trees. In 2021, Puma reached 88% of their goal. All paper bags and hangtags in Puma stores are FSC certified, and over 95% recycled paper is used in their shoe boxes.

Case study: Samsung’s carboard boxes upcycled into furniture

Source: Dezeen

In this example, Samsung has introduced 'eco-packaging' made from environmentally friendly corrugated cardboard that can be repurposed into decorative and practical items. Samsung cleverly designed these boxes with a dot matrix pattern on each side, allowing customers to cut and assemble them into different items, such as small tables or even pet houses. The packaging also includes a helpful manual, accessible via QR code, on how to create household items using the cardboard boxes.

Conclusion: Take action now

The shift towards eco-friendly packaging is a strategic move that aligns with consumer values, builds brand loyalty, and contributes to a sustainable future. Consumers already prefer brands that are genuinely sustainable. An easy way to start and stand out is by adding a layer of creativity to sustainable packaging.


Want to figure out how your business can be more sustainable in a strategic way? Get in touch and we can have a chat about short-term wins and long-term plans for you to do well & do good.

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