Why Switch to Eco-Friendly Packaging? Business Benefits

Eco-friendly Packaging: A Win for Companies and the Environment


When we think of eco-friendly packaging, images of glass containers, plain brown cardboard, and biodegradable bags might come to mind. However, true sustainability is not one-size-fits-all. Despite the internet hype, green packaging isn’t always flashy and does most of its best work behind the scenes.


What’s more, sustainable packaging should be good for your business. Going green is undoubtedly better for the planet, but it can also save you money, boost your brand, and help you grow. In this article, we explore how to implement eco-friendly packaging solutions that work for you.


Breaking The Barriers to Using Sustainable Packaging


Going green is becoming mainstream, and there is pressure on all industries to adopt more sustainable packaging solutions. However, some sectors have greater packaging requirements than others. Electronics, for example, need superior impact protection, while hazardous material containers undergo strict regulation.


Sometimes, switching to sustainable packaging can be a mammoth task. Here are just a few of the hurdles most business owners face:


  • High upfront costs: going green might mean boxing your product in more expensive materials or changing your entire packaging design.
  • Maintaining functionality: eco-friendly packaging must still be practical, and it may take extensive research and development to ensure it performs as well as your original solution.
  • Changing consumer perceptions: your packaging design is a big part of your brand. Changing it takes careful marketing to ensure you retain customers.
  • Lack of infrastructure: sustainable materials are only as good as their end-of-life options. Importing smart packaging, for example, might not be viable in a country without high-tech recycling facilities.

How Do We Develop Sustainable Packaging Solutions? 3 Strategies for Businesses.


1.Partnerships across the value chain


Traceability is a key component of going green. It gives your customers a greater understanding of where your product comes from and whether you support other eco-friendly businesses.


Extending this philosophy to packaging will bolster your sustainability efforts overall. Plus, it can help to streamline the switch to sustainable solutions. For example, collaborating with retailers to collect consumer insights that could guide your packaging decisions.


Partnering with suppliers and other stakeholders is also a great way of raising money to invest in more sustainable packaging materials. This way, you can strengthen your value chain and help others adopt greener business models.


2.Investing in consumer education


Developing sustainable packaging is no good if it’s not well received. Sometimes, eco-friendly alternatives don’t look very different from the original solutions, and consumers may need coaching to understand the change, especially if it impacts the price.


Consumer education helps you fight greenwashing in your industry, showcasing the true value of your packaging approach. It also deters people from viewing sustainable packaging solutions as less practical or effective, which could easily become barriers to business growth.


3.Building waste management into your business plan


Instead of forming multiple partnerships up and down your supply chain, you could develop your own end-of-life solutions. This approach gives you more control over your packaging’s life cycle and creates diversification opportunities for your business. Working with a PRO means you can rely on technical experts who can facilitate and assist with this process, ensuring compliance with the EPR regulations and your obligations.


For example, funding a waste collection programme that helps you retrieve your cardboard delivery boxes. You might eventually offer this service to other e-commerce businesses and generate profit from an entirely new market. When you join eWASA, such programmes can be developed utilizing our existing collection footprint to ensure compliance and costs effective solutions. This way, we can utilize the EPR fees in a transparent and responsible manner.


Handling your own waste management affairs can help you save costs and gain on-the-ground insights that drive future packaging development. Working with eWASA means you can rely on our expertise and experience.


The Benefits of Investing in Eco-Friendly Packaging


1.Future-proofing your brand.


The demand for sustainable packaging is increasing, and many of the world’s biggest brands have already made the switch. Adopting eco-friendly alternatives now is a must if you don’t want to get left behind. New environmental regulations, such as South Africa’s 2021 EPR laws, are always emerging, so your business has to be adaptable.


2.Long-term cost-savings.


While rolling out a more sustainable packaging solution might have high initial costs, it can save you money down the line. Upcycling, reusing, and working with recycled materials tend to be cheaper than importing packaging fresh from foreign factories. Reducing your packaging footprint also leads to indirect cost-savings, such as lower EPR fees, landfill fees, and shipping and transport costs.


3.Global business expansion


As the world collectively moves away from polluting packaging, many countries have already implemented bans, taxes, and penalties for such materials. For example, at the end of 2024, Canada will no longer allow can-holding plastic rings within its borders. Regulations like these can make international trade challenging for businesses that have yet to address sustainability.


Being among the first to adopt sustainable packaging establishes you as an industry leader with an authoritative voice on the matter. Early adoption can open a world of partnership opportunities as other companies join the movement.


Let Us Help You Transform Your Packaging Strategy


Implementing eco-friendly packaging is more within reach than you think. Simple switches can make a big difference, and you don’t have to tackle everything at once. eWASA is a registered producer responsibility organisation (PRO) for the paper, packaging, and other industries in South Africa. We help businesses meet their recycling targets and comply with EPR laws.


Become a member today to overhaul your packaging strategy and reap the benefits of going green. Not ready to sign up? Get in touch for more information. 

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