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A Sustainable Design Blog

A Checklist for Sustainable Packaging

Yesterday I listened to a fantastic webinar on Packaging Sustainability from the 2 Degrees Network featuring Katherine O’Dea of Green Blue. Among her many statistics, she laid out how different companies in her survey measure sustainable packaging. The list she gave provides a great checklist for other companies attempting to reduce their impact. So here’s her list as well as some suggestions of how to improve those particular metrics.

Material Reduction

  • Resize package to better fit the contents.
  • Change the die/press sheet layout and size to make the best use of the printed page.

Waste Reduction

  • Switched to a lower weight paper or thinner plastic package.
  • Shred test sheets and cut waste to use as packing material.

Increase Recycled Content

  • Source recycled content plastic tubes. (like this one)
  • Switch to 100% PCW paper.

Energy Conservation

  • Source production from energy efficient or alterative energy powered facilities.
  • Use materials that are green power certified.

Increase Recycling Rates

Clean Production

  • Recycle waste water, or better yet figure out how to prevent it.
  • Ask your manufacturer to verify that the ingredients of your materials do not cause environmental degredation.

Transport Efficienies

  • Find a packaging manufacturer close to your product manufacturer.
  • Use a fulfillment company (or companies) located in your primary market.

Increasing Renewable Materials Use

  • Use paper made of agri-fiber instead of trees (cause trees are most beneficial left in the ground).
  • Design for reuse and refilling. Then tell consumers to refill on your packaging.

Obviously there are millions of way to improve packaging, so this is just to get you thinking. If you have any more to add, please comment below. I'd love to hear your ideas.

Jennifer Stewart is the Office Manager and wanna-be organizational psychologist at Modern Species. For more posts from her, click here.

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All beautiful things belong
to the same age.- Oscar Wilde