Environmentally-friendly packaging: Why smart businesses are going sustainable

In previous articles, we’ve explored how small and medium-sized enterprises just like yours can make simple changes, to help protect our planet, as well as the people and animals who live on it.

We recognise companies which don’t adapt to growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly packaging, products and services will get left behind by the competition.

That’s why in our latest blog we’re going to look at how your business can make its packaging more eco-friendly – helping to save the planet’s precious resources and keep increasingly environmentally conscious customers happy!

The problem of packaging

The amount of waste and emissions caused by packaging is huge, but it’s something we often overlook. Packaging accounts for nearly 5% of the energy used in the life cycle of a product.

David Attenborough has helped to focus attention on the problem of single-use waste plastic and it’s alarming that the production of plastic could reach over 12 billion metric tons by 2050.

If we as businesses don’t act now, the planet will risk looking like one big landfill. Thankfully, the packaging industry has adapted well and during the next decade we are likely to see innovative and eco-friendly materials being used by our favourite brands.

Here are just some of the new, innovative eco-friendly materials now being used for product packaging – how many do you use in your packaging and which ones do you like the best?

  • Cornstarch – naturally biodegradable packaging for food.
  • Biodegradeable plastic – plastic that decomposes when exposed to sunlight.
  • Cardboard and paper – biodegradable or recycled packaging that is recyclable, compostable and reusable.
  • Bubble or fluted wrap – made with recycled polyethene that is degradable, or recyclable paper.
  • Sustainable inks – made using vegetable proteins.

Two-thirds of UK shoppers say reducing the amount of packaging and using eco-friendly materials is important to them when placing an order, so if your company is still reliant on environmentally unfriendly materials, now is the time to think about making changes.

Less is greener

In our modern world, an increasing number of people are turning to e-commerce for their every shopping need.

This means people have more packaging being sent to their home than they know what to do with. When your business decides to use environmentally friendly packaging however, you make your customers’ lives easier.

Firstly, they have less packaging to deal with and throw out. Secondly, any packaging they do have can be recycled and they needn’t feel guilty about their waste disposal.

Using less packaging also significantly benefits your business by reducing the amount of time and work needed for your team to put it all together.

It will also have the added bonus of reducing waste, saving space and money on packing.

Improved brand image

When your business moves to eco-friendly packaging, you’re not just helping to improve the planet, but also improving how customers see your business.

Setting the way for modern eco-friendly and conscious consumerism really helps to enhance your brand image, win new customers and boost sales.

Young consumers in particular want to buy from companies who care. They demand eco-conscious, transparent, honest and innovative companies to buy from and form relationships with – and with a few simple changes, your company can meet their eco needs!

Environmentally friendly packaging is versatile

Eco-friendly packaging materials were once quite limited as to what a business could use them for.

Now, eco-friendly packaging is versatile and can be used in thousands of unique ways that actually make your packaging more functional.

To get an idea of how versatile eco-friendly packaging can be, you might like to take a look at the 2019 Best Sustainable Packaging Awards on Good Housekeeping. You’ll find some great examples of companies showing packaging can be exciting, innovative and sustainable – all at the same time!

Companies leading the way

We’ve selected a couple of companies who are inspiring our business world to do better, proving environmentally friendly packaging is not only sustainable but actually better than traditional materials:

All Earth Mineral Cosmetics

All Earth Mineral Cosmetics is one of the first companies in the world to use 100% zero-waste packaging by introducing free refill options for their entire range.

All products are produced in the UK using cruelty-free ingredients.


Vegware is a B2B specialist in eco-friendly food packaging that helps other businesses to switch to sustainable packaging with ease.

Eco-friendly materials include recycled paper and cardboard, vegetable and water-based inks, bio-plastics, bagasse, palm leaf and NatureFlex (clear film made from wood pulp).

Packaging design that stands out

As well as using eco-friendly materials, it’s also important to consider how incredible design can elevate your packaging. Having simple, well-designed packaging can help differentiate your product from the competition and make it stand out on the shelf.

Here at MAD Ideas, we specialise in designing packaging which effectively communicates your values and grabs the attention of your customers. By looking at patterns, colours and brand-led design, we create packaging that’s not only environmentally friendly, but also appealing and enduring. How many times have you looked at a packet or packaging and just appreciated its beautiful or fun design?

Want to know more about how your business can refresh its packaging for the new decade?

Call MAD Ideas today on 01293 773085, and we’ll be happy to help you take your packaging to the next level.