Some fear that a rotten economy will spoil the green packaging movement. The thinking goes, if people must choose between saving the world and saving their business, they’ll save their business. That’s true. However, the underlying assumption there is that green packaging is more expensive and therefore bad for business. That assumption is incorrect. Green packaging is (or should be) less expensive, and therefore more valuable than ever in times of economic hardship.
It’s important to distinguish between a packaging product’s purchase cost and cost in use. Some green packaging carries a higher purchase cost than the non-green alternative, and some green packaging doesn’t. Recycled packaging papers are less expensive than virgin equivalents. Recycled plastic materials can go either way, but are generally lower priced.
What’s more significant is the cost in use of green packaging. A green packaging strategy (and it’s important to think about packaging as a whole, not look at packaging components individually) should reduce overall cost –
- Green packaging should reduce shipping costs because it is has less mass.
- Green packaging should reduce storage space requirements for that and other reasons – think of polystyrene peanuts.
- Green packaging should improve customer retention because the ultimate customer wants and sometimes demands it.
Looked at strategically, green packaging can produce any number of additional benefits, including faster throughput, better product protection, and improved ergonomics. “Green packaging” is not simply a matter of switching out a non-green product for its green equivalent. Green packaging means looking at the overall packaging requirements and upgrading them in all respects, not just in terms of eco-friendliness.