Green, But Not Inexperienced
It’s been close to fifteen years since we started writing and talking about sustainable, eco-friendly packaging for DTC (direct to consumer) applications. It was clear to us that if packaging was going into the home rather than the retailer, using “green,” easy-to-recycle packaging materials was not only a good idea, it should also be an absolute requirement.
As early as 2008, we coined the term “eco-obvious” to help shippers and brand owners understand how important it was for them to communicate those green values to the rest of the world. Are you part of the environmental problem or part of the solution, was the question being asked. In other words, doing the right green thing is great. Helping your customers understand how and why you are doing it is even better.
Eco-Friendly E-commerce Packaging Has Evolved
In January 2014, after several years of promoting the eco-obvious concept, Packaging Digest magazine agreed and ran this article we wrote. Many things have changed since then in terms of recycling capabilities and options in most communities. High recycled content materials are now commonplace and almost expected and assumed by most consumers. Many “greenwashed” packaging products have disappeared into oblivion where they belong because they never really were eco-friendly; they were just promoted as such. Old products, new green labels.
It is more economical and easier than ever to use legitimately sustainable packaging materials, so why do so many companies hesitate to do the right thing?
If you are sincere in your sustainability goals and objectives, and you really do use the best materials and designs, letting your customers know is a must. A simple message on the underside of the box like these can have a tremendous impact on how you and your packaging are perceived by your customers: THIS BOX IS MADE WITH A MINIMUM OF 60% RECYCLED CONTENT AND CAN BE RECYCLED AT CURBSIDE.
Another favorite we encourage people to print on their boxes is PLEASE REUSE OR RECYCLE. Or even more simply, using an appropriate recycled logo or icon. There are many to choose from, and they can be easily incorporated into any graphic design.
Being Eco-Obvious Matters More than Ever
Why is it even more important now? Because today, everyone claims they use environmentally friendly packaging. Also, as stated above, many customers make the mistake of assuming the packaging they receive is eco-friendly. Some packaging suppliers are very happy to allow their customers to believe whatever they want to believe. In many cases, what is not said is more important than what is said.
We refer to our eco-friendly e-commerce designs as packaging that communicates, which is also our tagline. One of the most important things your DTC packaging can say is how committed the shipper (you) is to help minimize waste and make recycling easy while using as much recycled content as possible.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a fan of musicals, and one of my favorites is The Producers. If you have seen Mel Brooks play or movie, you are sure to remember Ulla Inga Hansen doing a number titled “When You Got It, Flaunt It.”
As silly as it may sound, that is our approach to sustainability in e-commerce packaging. If you care enough to do the right thing for the environment, and you actually do it, don’t be shy about letting others know, especially your customers. There are many ways your packaging can be more eco-friendly, from structural design to recycled content.
Our job is to help you determine the best way for you to accomplish your objective. Check out our web page which is dedicated to sustainability. You can also call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us through this website. Our trained, experienced professionals are standing by to help you.