Jul 27th, 2023

Updated:  Jul 28th, 2023


8 Sustainable Packaging Solutions for World Nature Conservation Day

Happy World Conservation Day 2023!

What is World Nature Conservation Day? This global holiday occurs every July 28th and raises awareness about the importance of protecting and conserving the natural environment and its biodiversity, promoting sustainable practices, and fostering a sense of responsibility towards nature.

When businesses adopt eco-friendly packaging practices, they send a powerful message to consumers and industry peers about their commitment to sustainability.

This fosters a culture of environmental responsibility, helps enhance brand reputation, and spurs innovation.

In this blog, we'll unbox eight sustainability efforts that businesses can use to help pave the way for a greener tomorrow.

Tip #1: Switch to LLDPE Plastic Products

1.) Use High-Performance Plastic Films

Switching to high-performance plastic films is a significant step towards sustainability and responsible resource management. Unlike conventional plastic films, high-performance linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plastic alternatives are often composed of biodegradable or compostable materials that break down naturally over time, reducing the burden of plastic waste on the environment.

In addition to their environmental benefits, high-performance plastic films:

  1. Enhance Product Protection: Switching to high-performance plastic films offers exceptional product protection, ensuring items stay fresh, safe, and intact during storage and transportation.
  2. Are Energy Efficient: Manufacturing high-performance plastic films typically requires less energy than traditional plastic films, reducing the carbon footprint and contributing to a greener production process.
  3. Meet Regulatory Standards: As governments and international bodies push for more sustainable practices, using high-performance plastic films helps companies meet and exceed evolving environmental regulations and industry standards.
  4. Enhance Brand Image: By embracing eco-friendly packaging solutions, businesses can enhance their brand image and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. Did you know that 55% of consumers are open to paying a premium for brands that prioritize eco-friendly practices?
  5. Offer Customizable Solutions: High-performance plastic films come in various thicknesses and designs, allowing businesses to tailor packaging to specific needs. This flexibility ensures optimal protection for different products while minimizing excess material usage.

Book Your Cut and Weigh Today

Trinity offers free machine stretch film “cut & weigh” consultations to demonstrate how businesses can benefit from using high-performance plastic films. Our packaging experts will wrap a pallet in traditional film and then wrap the same pallet in a high-performance film to show how switching will result in less stretch wrap per wrapped pallet and substantial savings.

Interested in seeing how high-performance stretch film can stretch your savings? Schedule your free consultation with one of our packaging experts today!

Tip #2: Right-Size Your Boxes

2.) Right-Size Your Boxes

One often overlooked yet highly impactful approach is right-sizing, aka tailoring packaging boxes to fit products snugly, eliminating excess space and waste. There are many sustainable benefits to right-sizing packaging boxes, like:

  1. Reducing Material Consumption: Right-sizing your packaging boxes means using the minimum amount of materials required to adequately protect the product. This reduction in material consumption translates to fewer resources used in the manufacturing process, leading to a lowered demand for raw materials and energy.
  2. Minimizing Waste Generation: Traditional oversized boxes not only lead to higher material usage, but they also generate unnecessary waste. Right-sizing eliminates the need for excessive void-fill materials, such as packing peanuts or bubble wrap, reducing the volume of waste in landfills or oceans.
  3. Lowering Transportation Impact: Smaller boxes take up less space during transportation, allowing more products to be included in a single shipment. This optimization decreases the number of trips required, lowering fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. Enhanced Shipping Efficiency: With right-sized packaging, parcels fit snugly, reducing the likelihood of items shifting during transit and decreasing the risk of damage. As a result, the number of returns and replacements due to damaged goods drops, leading to fewer carbon emissions associated with reverse logistics.
  5. Cost Savings: Sustainability and financial benefits often go hand in hand. Right-sizing packaging reduces material expenses, lowers shipping costs, and decreases disposal fees for waste materials.

Right-sizing your boxes for packaging is a simple yet impactful way to embrace sustainability and improve the overall efficiency of your supply chain. By minimizing waste, reducing material consumption, and optimizing shipping practices, businesses can contribute significantly to environmental preservation while reaping economic benefits.

However, you may still require some void fill after right-sizing your boxes. If that is the case...

Box filled with styrofoam packing peanuts

3.) Ditch the Packaging Peanuts

Despite their widespread use in the past, styrofoam packing peanuts present serious environmental and functional drawbacks. For example, they're:

  1. Environmental Hazards: Styrofoam is notorious for its negative impact on the environment; in fact, styrofoam packing peanuts present serious environmental and functional drawbacks. These lightweight packing peanuts easily break down into small pieces, becoming a persistent source of pollution that can harm wildlife and ecosystems. Their non-biodegradable natstyrofoam packing peanuts present serious environmental and functional drawbacksure means they persist in landfills for hundreds of years, contributing to the global plastic waste crisis.
  2. Not Really Reusable: While some might argue that styrofoam peanuts are reusable, the reality is that they often lose their shape and effectiveness after a single use, which limits their practicality as a sustainable packing solution and makes them less cost-effective in the long run.
  3. Inadequate Cushioning: Styrofoam packing peanuts might provide some cushioning, but their irregular shapes and lightweight nature can settle in the packaging and leave voids that fail to protect delicate items from impact and shocks.
  4. Difficult to Dispose Of: The lightweight nature of styrofoam peanuts causes them to scatter easily, creating a messy and time-consuming clean-up process. It also leads to peanuts ending up in bodies of water, exacerbating the plastic pollution crisis.

So, what can you use instead? Luckily, there are numerous eco-friendly void-fill alternatives. One popular alternative is biodegradable packing peanuts made from cornstarch!

If you're unsure which type of void fill to use, schedule a free site visit with one of our packaging experts for a pack-out. Our award-winning specialists will pack your items with your current void fill, then re-pack the box with fewer materials or more sustainable options to show you how to reduce your carbon footprint and save!

Tip #4: Start a Pallet Program

4.) Review Your Pallet Management Program

Efficient pallet handling can reduce waste, promote resource conservation, and improve environmental performance. To unlock your pallet management system's potential for enhancing sustainability, start by:

  1. Conducting a Comprehensive Pallet Audit: Evaluate the current pallet inventory, identify the types of pallets used (wood, plastic, or composite), and assess their condition. This will identify areas for improvement, such as pallet damage rates, repair and recycling opportunities, and any unnecessary pallet hoarding that may be occurring.
  2. Embracing Durable and Sustainable Pallet Materials: Consider opting for recycled wood pallets, which reduces the demand for new timber and promotes responsible forest management. Not only will switching to recycled Grade A or Grade B pallets improve your company's carbon footprint, but it will also reduce your pallet spend.
  3. Implementing Pallet Repair and Recycling Programs: Rather than discarding damaged pallets, establish a pallet repair and recycling program. Through our National Pallet Buyback Program, we take broken pallets and either repair the damaged core or recycle the pallets into mulch for use in gardens and playgrounds. Not only does this help you maintain a steady stream of pallets, but you also create a new revenue stream for your business.
  4. Optimizing Pallet Utilization: Improving pallet utilization is crucial for sustainable pallet management. Analyze shipping and storage processes to reduce the need for unnecessary pallets and truckloads. Adopt the correct pallet size for specific shipments to prevent overpacking and waste.
  5. Collaborating with Sustainable Pallet Suppliers: Choose pallet suppliers that align with your sustainability goals. Seek out vendors (like Trinity!) who prioritize using eco-friendly materials and adhere to responsible manufacturing practices.

Tip #5: Use Biodegradable Products

5.) Identify Oxodegradables from Biodegradables

With the growing global concern about plastic pollution and its detrimental impact on the environment, the search for biodegradable packaging alternatives has intensified. However, it's important to ensure that your plastic products are truly biodegradable and not oxodegradable.

What Are Oxodegradables?

Oxodegradable plastics are conventional plastics modified with chemical additives to accelerate their breakdown process when exposed to oxygen and light. The goal is to reduce the plastic's longevity and convert it into smaller fragments, making it easier for microbes to consume.

However, oxodegradable plastics do not fully biodegrade into harmless natural substances; instead, they break down into microplastics that can still persist in the environment and pose potential risks to wildlife and ecosystems.

What are Oxodegradable Plastics?

Pros of Oxodegradables:

  1. Accelerated Breakdown: Oxodegradable plastics break down more rapidly than conventional plastics, which may help reduce the long-term plastic waste problem.
  2. Utilizes Existing Infrastructure: Oxodegradable plastics can be processed using the same recycling facilities as conventional plastics, making their adoption more convenient for manufacturers and consumers.

Cons of Oxodegradables:

  1. Microplastic Pollution: The breakdown of oxodegradable plastics into microplastics can exacerbate plastic pollution and adversely effect the environment.
  2. Incomplete Biodegradation: Unlike biodegradables, oxodegradables do not fully decompose into natural substances, leaving behind potentially harmful remnants.

What are Biodegradable Plastics?

What are Biodegradables?

Biodegradable plastics, on the other hand, are made from renewable resources or petrochemicals and are designed to break down naturally into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass, with the assistance of microorganisms. They are intended to have minimal impact on the environment and contribute to a circular economy.

Pros of Biodegradables:

  1. Complete Breakdown: Biodegradable plastics fully degrade into non-toxic natural elements, minimizing the risk of long-term environmental pollution.
  2. Reduced Carbon Footprint: As biodegradable plastics rely on renewable resources, their production typically emits lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional plastics.

When choosing between oxodegradables and biodegradables for sustainable packaging, it is crucial to consider their environmental impact carefully.

Transitioning to biodegradable materials that prioritize the health of our planet and its inhabitants is crucial to reducing the packaging industry's environmental impact. While oxodegradable plastics may offer accelerated breakdown, they may perpetuate the microplastic problem. Biodegradable plastics, on the other hand, can contribute to a circular economy when disposed of properly.

Tip #6: Eco-Friendly Inks

6.) Eco-Friendly Inks

Traditional printing inks contain harmful chemicals that can adversely affect the environment and human health. Adopting eco-friendly inks can support sustainability efforts and contribute to a greener future.

  1. Reduced Environmental Impact: Eco-friendly inks are typically made from renewable resources and biodegradable materials, which means they break down naturally over time. Unlike conventional inks that release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere, eco-friendly inks emit significantly lower levels of VOCs, contributing to improved air quality and reduced air pollution.
  2. Safer for Human Health: Traditional inks often contain heavy metals and toxic chemicals that can pose health risks to printing industry workers and consumers. By switching to eco-friendly inks, businesses create a safer and healthier working environment for employees and ensure that the final printed materials are safe for end-users.
  3. Promote Recycling and a Circular Economy: Eco-friendly inks are easily removable during recycling. This characteristic facilitates the recycling of printed materials, enabling a closed-loop system and promoting the circular economy. With eco-friendly inks, printed materials can be transformed into new products, reducing the demand for virgin resources and minimizing waste generation.

Ink may seem like a small component in the grand scheme of sustainability, but its impact is more significant than we often realize. As businesses increasingly prioritize eco-conscious practices, embracing eco-friendly inks is a step towards a greener future and a more sustainable planet.

Tip #7: Opt for Recycled Packaging

7.) Recycled Packaging

Recycled packaging is a powerful tool in the fight against environmental degradation and climate change. By using materials that have been given a new life, companies take a direct step towards a waste-free future by:

  1. Reducing Resource Consumption: Using recycled materials in packaging significantly reduces the demand for virgin resources. By diverting materials from landfills and reprocessing them into new packaging, we conserve precious natural resources like trees, water, and energy.
  2. Minimizing Waste Generation: Recycled packaging supports the ethos of the circular economy by giving used materials a new lease on life. It diverts waste from landfills, reducing the volume of waste that degrades the environment and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Lowering the Carbon Footprint: Producing new packaging materials from scratch results in significant carbon emissions. However, using recycled materials consumes less energy and emits fewer greenhouse gases.

Tip #8: Avoid Single-Use Packaging

8.) Reusable Packaging

One of the most promising approaches to improving sustainability is the adoption of reusable packaging. By shifting away from the linear "take, make, dispose" model, reusable packaging offers a pathway to reducing waste, conserving resources, and nurturing a circular economy.

  1. Reducing Waste Generation: The most apparent benefit of reusable packaging is its ability to significantly reduce waste. Instead of discarding packaging after a single use, businesses can invest in high-quality, durable multi-use containers. By reducing the volume of waste entering landfills and polluting the environment, reusable packaging helps us combat the global waste crisis head-on.
  2. Conserving Natural Resources: The production of single-use packaging consumes vast amounts of precious natural resources like water, energy, and raw materials. In contrast, reusable packaging minimizes the need for constant manufacturing, preserving these resources for future generations.
  3. Limiting Transportation: The transportation of single-use packaging materials from manufacturers to consumers results in substantial carbon emissions. By transitioning to reusable packaging, businesses can significantly reduce their carbon footprint by transporting fewer materials. Additionally, the reduced demand for disposable packaging lowers the energy consumption associated with its production.
  4. Encouraging Conscious Consumption: Reusable packaging fosters a culture of conscious consumption among consumers. It empowers them to make more environmentally friendly choices, as they are encouraged to support products that come in reusable containers.
  5. Enhancing Cost Efficiency: Don't overlook the long-term cost efficiency of reusable packaging because of the higher initial investment. Reusable containers can withstand multiple uses, resulting in cost savings over time compared to constantly purchasing single-use packaging.

While reusable shopping bags and water bottles are widely adopted today, other reusable packaging products available include shipping crates, shipping envelopes and mailers, and food containers.

Join Trinity Packaging Supply's Commitment to Zero Landfill Waste

Go Green with Trinity Packaging Supply

World Conservation Day may only happen once a year, but making sustainability a daily practice will help reduce our ecological footprint and create a lasting impact on the planet. Embracing sustainable business practices is an ethical and strategic choice that enhances corporate reputation, attracts environmentally conscious consumers, and drives cost savings through resource efficiency.

If you're looking to make your business's packaging operations more sustainable, give us a call! Our award-winning packaging experts will visit your facilities to conduct an audit to find operational efficiencies and the best packing solutions for your business. Together, we can pave the way toward a more sustainable and prosperous future for generations to come.

Happy World Conservation Day!