Every entrepreneur selling a product would have dabbled in packaging the item at one point or the other. The job is the easiest when all you have to do is hand it over to a customer at the point of sale. What happens when your products have to be shipped to a customer? How do you ensure that your product reaches the customer in one piece? That’s where the importance of packaging a product for shipping comes in. While sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, and packaging fillers such as styrofoam peanuts do get the job done, they are an environmental nuisance. During times when every entrepreneur is trying to turn their business into a sustainable one, here are 4 environment-friendly packaging options you need to be aware of.
1. Mushroom Material: Every time you purchase a refrigerator or a television, they get delivered to you in large cardboard boxes with styrofoam edges to give cushioning. Styrofoam doesn’t biodegrade and can remain in a landfill for a really long time. Ecovative has come up with an alternative for it—mushroom material! It is grown from cells found in the roots of the fungus mycelium. It is then mixed with agricultural crop waste, dehydrated and heat treated. It barely takes a couple of weeks for these to decompose, convincing even corporate giants such as IKEA to switch to mycelium technology.
2. Sorghum Packaging Peanuts: Sure, styrofoam packing peanuts and thermocol balls were fun to play with when we were kids. What if we could have just as much fun, but without the damage to the environment? Packaging peanuts are now made from sorghum (jowar), a kind of millet that is mostly cultivated around the world as fodder. They are biodegradable, often dissolving instantly up on coming in contact with water.
3. Plantable Packaging: If you had to choose between two brands that offered the same product, and it all comes down to packaging, would you choose the one with ordinary packaging or would you choose the one that comes with the promise of turning into a sapling, and later on, into a flowering plant or maybe even a tree? Isn’t it exciting to know that companies have started producing packaging that has seeds embedded in them? Just remember to include clear instructions on how to plant the seeds so that your end user can take advantage of your environment-friendly packaging.
4. EarthAware Air Pillows: EarthAware is a company that makes air pillows that look like they are plastic, but actually aren’t. They are durable and biodegrades in a landfill within 9 months to 5 years. Compared to plastic which can never degrade, this sure sounds like a good option, doesn’t it?
In a survey conducted in the US and UK, 88% of the people who took part in it want businesses to help them make a difference. When people are consciously switching to an ethical lifestyle by recycling, donating, taking public transport, and going vegan, businesses ought to do their share by offering sustainable choices to their end customers. Know that that’s where our future is heading, and make informed decisions even if it is as trivial as the packaging.