Sustainable Packaging Options and the Top 3 Reasons You Need Them for Your Exports

Green shipping refers to the efforts of seagoing vessels to transport people and goods more efficiently and with less emissions. (It's quite riveting, we know.) But there's so much more to being eco-friendly than green shipping options from your freight carriers.

The shipping industry as a whole is becoming more Earth-conscious. Not only are stricter regulations being put in place to protect the environment, but ecommerce customers increasingly expect sustainable solutions in the supply chain.

Millions of packages are shipped around the world every day. Using sustainable packaging options for your exports can help reduce pollution and avoid depleting the planet's natural resources, and it offers numerous benefits for your business.


What's Covered in This Article?

What Is Sustainable Packaging Design?

What Can I Use Instead of Plastic Packaging?

Top 3 Reasons to Use Sustainable Packaging

1. Consumers Want Responsible, Eco-Conscious Companies

2. Save Money on Shipping Costs

3. Market to Your Customers at Their Doorsteps

sustainable packages

What Is Sustainable Packaging Design?


Sustainable design in your product packaging means making your packaging as environmentally friendly as possible. This involves using small, lightweight packaging boxes or envelopes made from recycled, recyclable, or biodegradable material.

The goal of sustainable packaging design is to increase shipping efficiency and minimize waste and pollution.

You can even think outside the box and use poly mailers, which are lightweight, flexible shipping bags that can accommodate items of various sizes. While they are made of polyethylene material that is not ideal for the environment, poly mailers are durable and can be reused by consumers multiple times. Some poly mailers are also made with a combination of polyethylene and recycled plastic, making them more eco-friendly.


What Can I Use Instead of Plastic Packaging?


Plastic is used excessively in product packaging, but it is one of the worst materials for the planet in terms of production and pollution. It is not recyclable and not biodegradable. In fact, plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, and it seeps harmful toxic pollutants into the land and water.

According to the EPA, the packaging and containers for shipping and storing goods make up nearly 30% of the total trash collected from homes, schools, and businesses (municipal solid waste). It’s imperative that this packaging trash not be made of harmful plastic.

Plastic packaging alternatives are necessary for sustainable ecommerce packaging and reducing the carbon footprint of imports and exports. Most packaging alternatives are made of recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable materials.

While cardboard packaging boxes have a low ecological impact, some of the most innovative sustainable packaging materials you can use instead of plastic include:

  • Stone paper
  • Plant-based plastics (bioplastics)
  • Milk plastic
  • Palm leaves
  • Mushroom root
  • Wood pulp cellophane
  • Bagasse (a by-product of processing sugarcane)


biodegradable packaging


Here Are the Top 3 Reasons to Use Sustainable Packaging:


1. Consumers Want Responsible, Eco-Conscious Companies


More and more customers are looking at how their products are made, packaged, and shipped. They increasingly expect corporate social responsibility, where companies self-regulate and use ethical practices that contribute to the common good.

Eco-friendly imports and exports are high on the list of priorities for consumers, and they take this into consideration when choosing which companies to buy from. They want to support companies that care about the earth and the people on it, and they are quick to refrain from purchasing from businesses that are not concerned about the welfare of society and the environment.

According to a 2020 Deloitte Global Survey, climate change is one of the top 3 concerns for Millennials and Generation Zs, and 80% think both governments and businesses should make even greater efforts to protect the environment.


*Infographic courtesy of The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020.


Let your customers know that your company is the whole package by offering great products with socially responsible packaging.


2. Save Money on Shipping Costs


There’s no debate that lowering the size and weight of your freight can save money. Shipping your products in packaging boxes, bags, or envelopes that are as small and lightweight as possible will reduce the weight of your shipment and the space needed.

This will allow more products to be shipped at the same time, saving you money and helping preserve the planet.


3. Market to Your Customers at Their Doorsteps—It’s all in the Delivery


Packaging is a big part of the ecommerce customer experience, and it is often overlooked. The packaging is the first physical thing your consumers see when their product is delivered, and it sets the tone for the final step of their shopping. If you want to be competitive, your packaging needs to stand apart and create a positive experience for your customers.

Not only do you want your customers to have physical evidence of your eco-friendly packaging when it arrives at their doorsteps, you also want to use your sustainable packaging to market your brand. By customizing your packaging, you can reinforce your brand awareness and recognition.


sustainable packaging options


Putting your brand name, logo, and even mission statement on your product packaging with memorable colors or images can define your brand, and this allows repeat customers to recognize your company’s package.

Don’t make them wonder “what’s in the box?!” Make your packaging an extension of your brand so customers see it and know it’s their order from your company as soon as it’s delivered to their residence.

You can also include promotional materials and packaging slips that tell customers more about your company, campaigns, or other added values you can provide them.


Find Your Green Shipping Companies and Expand Your Business


The 7ConNetwork online platform for importers and exporters makes it fast and easy to get quotes on global shipping costs and carry out your booking. Our network of licensed independent freight forwarders will get your trusted cargo delivered as efficiently and sustainably as possible.