The growing popularity of the sustainable packaging movement has many brands considering how they can make their current packaging more environmentally friendly. But sustainable packaging presents a few major challenges to those who want to incorporate it effectively into their packaging operations. Here’s the top three challenges you might face when designing a sustainable packaging strategy for your business.

Reducing Your Packaging Can Cause More Harm Than Good

One of the biggest goals of the sustainable packaging movement is to reduce the amount packaging materials required for shipping and storing products. But reducing your packaging materials might cause more harm than good if you do it without careful consideration. Packaging materials are there for a reason, and certain parts of your packaging strategy cannot be removed without a proper replacement. This is especially true for protective materials that prevent product damage during transit.

If you reduce the amount protective materials you use without changing anything else in your packaging strategy, you could experience higher damages. This will ultimately cost you more in the long run. If you want to use less material or more sustainable material to protect your product, always do testing to be sure the new solution actually works for your product. Otherwise, you’ll regret your decision to change these packaging materials and pay more for damaged goods and returns.

Sometimes Paper Isn’t Better Than Plastic

While paper might be more biodegradable than most plastics, it isn’t always the most sustainable option. The sustainable approach to packaging looks at many different factors, including the amount of energy and resources required to produce a given material. In many situations, paper needs more energy and water to manufacture compared to plastic. Of course, the recyclability of paper allows for better production methods over time, but sometimes it still isn’t easier to produce sustainably compared to plastic. If you really want to push for higher sustainability in your packaging operations, make sure you consider all of the factors that are involved and not just a select few.

Recycled Materials Aren’t Always as Durable

When your products demand reliable and durable protection, recycled packaging materials might not be the best option. When something is recycled, it’s usually less durable the second time around, especially for paper goods. As paper is recycled over and over again, the fibers become shorter and the strength of the material is weakened. This can lead to recycled boxes being crushed more frequently or paper void fill getting torn more often. Not every business can afford to work with sustainable materials that have been recycled. There are some products that simply require more from their packaging, which means you’ll have to make some sacrifices.

If you need to use plastic containers instead of paper ones, you can always find more biodegradable options or choose to recycle your packaging materials more aggressively after they have been used. This can help you maintain sustainability efforts while ensuring your products are able to make it to the customer in excellent condition.

While many companies would like to improve their sustainability efforts when it comes to packaging, there are challenges that must be overcome in order to keep your business running smoothly. Using the wrong packaging materials can cause massive setbacks in your distribution channel, as well as costly replacements and returns for damaged goods. Make sure you are prepared to do testing for any changes you intend to make to your packaging supplies on account of your sustainability initiatives.