Packaging and Design

All About Sustainability in Packaging

Ready to learn more about sustainable packaging solutions? You’re in the right place! With climate change on our radar, finding packaging solutions that lighten our impact on the planet is more crucial than ever. The good news? There’s a world of emerging options to explore in the realm of packaging.

Why Sustainability Matters

Beyond its environmental benefits, sustainability is now a top priority for consumers. In fact, a significant portion of shoppers are willing to pay more for products that are genuinely sustainable. This trend is only expected to grow as Millennials and Gen Z shoppers become more influential.

Deciphering Sustainability

Sustainability boils down to any initiative that preserves our natural resources. It’s about asking a straightforward question: What’s the environmental cost of creating a product? For instance, traditional packaging like plastic and styrofoam often ends up in landfills, emitting harmful greenhouse gases. Conversely, sustainable packaging relies on renewable or recycled materials and is manufactured using renewable energy.

Navigating Sustainable Packaging Challenges

Using sustainable packaging materials is a significant step and there’s a lot to consider. Here are some challenges to consider before you get going.

Too much packaging

Waste, even if eco-friendly, is still waste. The first thing to consider when you’re thinking about making your packaging more eco-friendly is the amount of material being used in the first place. Whether it’s sustainable food packaging or sustainable cosmetics packaging, there are likely other materials that go inside the package for cushioning and protection. How much of that material is necessary, and what could be removed without potential risk of damage? Are there any restrictions or regulations surrounding your product packaging? Whittle down your packaging as much as possible.

Sourcing water- or tear-resistant materials

It can be difficult to find water and tear-resistant material that is not plastic. Even recycled plastic comes with its downsides, like the use of fossil fuels during recycling. This is why it’s imperative to look at eco-friendly options. (More on that soon.)


Greenwashing is a form of false advertising where packaging is not as sustainable as it is advertised to be. For example, it’s common to advertise plastic packaging as biodegradable when it isn’t, because who can really tell the difference anyway? Furthermore, even if plastic packaging is actually biodegradable, will it create micro-plastics?


Even when you’ve chosen the most sustainable packaging possible, you still need to consider how the products will be delivered to your customers. What is the carbon footprint of shipping your products long distances—and how can you offset it? For instance, if you can opt for ground or sea transport as opposed to air freight, this may be a better option.

Guidelines for Sustainable Packaging

Here are some best practices to embrace sustainable packaging:

  • Choose Paper Over Plastic: Opt for paper whenever possible. It’s renewable and biodegradable, especially when sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified suppliers.
  • Prioritize Non-Toxic Dyes: Use water-based dyes for your packaging design to maintain recyclability and avoid harmful chemicals.
  • Embrace Recyclable and Compostable Packaging: Recyclable materials offer a second life to your packaging, while compostable options can return to the earth harmlessly.

 Exploring Sustainable Packaging Solutions

The future of sustainable packaging is bright, with innovative solutions on the rise:

Corrugated Cardboard and Kraft Folding Carton


These recyclable options are made from a blend of recycled materials and sustainable forestry-derived material.

Packing Paper


Ideal for protecting delicate items, packing paper made from Kraft paper is both recyclable and compostable.

Reusable Packaging

Think beyond single-use with options like reusable tote bags and premium packaging.

Compostable Mailers and Packaging Peanuts


For smaller items, compostable mailers and packaging peanuts made from renewable plant sources offer eco-friendly alternatives to traditional packaging materials.

Ready to Embrace Sustainable Packaging?

These sustainable packaging solutions pave the way for a greener, more environmentally conscious future—and good news: Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging (GLBC) can provide all of them. Let’s make a positive impact on the planet—one package at a time!

Have any questions or ideas about sustainable packaging? Please reach out and we’ll do some brainstorming.

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