With the growing concern of sustainability, many companies are beginning to re-think their use of plastic packaging. Plastic, although recyclable in many cases, causes concerns when end users are unaware of specific requirements for how to properly recycle it. This leads to more waste being generated by customers who receive plastic packaging from brands. Because of this issue, many businesses are looking for ways to reduce their plastic use to make it easier for customers to recycle their packaging. This improves a company’s sustainability efforts and helps them please customers who are concerned about packaging waste. Here are some of the simplest ways you can reduce your plastic use and make your product packaging eco-friendly.

Switch to Paperback Tapes

Many tapes are constructed with a plastic backing, making them harder to recycle. This plastic construction can hinder the recyclability of boxes as well, if customers don’t remove the tape before placing corrugated in their recycling bins. If your application allows it, you can switch to a paperback tape that is easier to recycle. Water-activated tapes are a popular option that provides exceptional sealing strength while preserving a finished carton’s recyclability. These tapes have the ability to be printed and they also provide a tamper-evident seal.  

Use Paper Void Fill

It’s important to cushion delicate products before shipping them to customer, but if you currently use plastic void fill, you may be able to switch to paper instead. There are many options for paper void fill, including flat sheets for layering items, crumpled paper for cushioning, and more. Paper void fill can be recycled much easier than air pillows, packing peanuts, or bubble wrap. It’s eco-friendly and many customers prefer the look and feel of paper compared to plastic air pillows or bubble wrap. Packaging void fill is one of the areas where customers are more concerned about recyclability because they see it often in their deliveries. Switching to paper void fill can increase your brand’s sustainability reputation and satisfy concerned customers. 

Store in Paper Cartons/Pouches

Many products that are stored in plastic bottles and pouches can also be stored in paper alternatives. With the invention of special coatings for paper cartons and pouches, you can make the switch and make it easier to recycle your packaging. New technology has allowed manufacturers to create paper cartons or pouches that perform just as well as plastic ones. These paper cartons still provide leak-proof protection and preserve the freshness of products, but their more sustainable. For example, instead of using PET bottles to store liquids like orange juice, you can use a lined paper carton.

If you can’t get rid of plastic, choose better types of plastic.

While removing all plastic from your packaging is ideal for sustainability efforts, not every company has that opportunity with their type of products. Plastic offers some incredible benefits that paper sometimes cannot. But there is an option if you’re worried about being sustainable with your plastic use. You can choose specific types of plastic that are easier to recycle than others. Biodegradable plastics are becoming more popular, as well as compostable options.

When working with plastic packaging, if you want customers to be more responsible when it comes to recyclability, you can include specific instructions or information about how to recycle the packaging you use. This gives them a clear set of instructions to recycle your packaging, which is not always present without standardized recycling labels. Many customers are simply unaware that different types of plastic require specific recycling, so keeping them informed will increase the likelihood of them taking the time to recycle your packaging.

We hope these simple ways to reduce plastic packaging will inspire you to think about your sustainability efforts and possibly make some changes in your packaging operations. According to a report by Smithers Pira, sustainability is going to be the number one concern for companies by the year 2023, even beating out costs and other priorities. So, why not start your sustainability efforts now to be prepared for the changes in the industry?