Consumers today are more conscious about the environment than ever before. By showing that you are a company that takes proactive steps to reduce its carbon footprint and utilise sustainable packaging where possible, you could stand to differentiate yourselves from your competitors.

Here are 5 different types of green packaging that are proactively tackling the problem of packaging waste:

1. Refillable containers

Nothing screams “sustainable packaging” more than refillable containers. Any container that can be used more than once can be considered reusable and it’s even better if a container can stand multiple uses during its lifetime.

One area where refillable containers are being used in anger by consumers is for their morning coffee. Reusable coffee cups are all the rage and they are having a significant impact on the amount of packaging waste being produced in the UK.

According to a report in the Independent, the UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year and less than 1% of coffee cups are recycled. And while some coffee shops have started offering discounts to customers who bring their own cups, the government says additional charges are more effective, a reality that prompted talks of a so-called ‘latte levy’ being implemented in the UK.

2. Edible beer & beverage rings/holders

Images of turtles, sea birds and other marine animals with their heads and other appendages stuck in plastic six-pack rings, have, unfortunately, become a common sight online. Often used to highlight how our oceans are being swamped by plastic, these images serve as a sobering reminder of the impact we are having on our planet.

Luckily, there is hope and it has come in the form of edible six-pack holders.

One variety developed by Saltwater Brewery in Florida uses beer byproducts, like barley and wheat remnants. These six-pack holders decompose naturally on their own and can even be eaten by fish and other marine life too.

3. Shampoo bottles made from recycled beach plastic

In January 2017, Procter & Gamble announced it had created the world’s first shampoo bottle made from recycled beach plastic. The bottle, developed in partnership with recycling experts TerraCycle and global water and waste segment leader SUEZ, is constructed from 25% recycled beach plastic, collected by thousands of volunteers.

Released in France last summer as a limited-edition Head & Shoulders (H&S) bottle, the innovation has been hailed as a massive step in helping reduce the amount of plastic in our oceans and on our beaches

4. Clever Little Bags

Have you ever seen one of Puma’s “Clever Little Bags”? They were first utilised by the sportswear company back in late-2011 and were specifically designed to reduce the amount of packaging waste associated with purchasing footwear.

The Clever Little Bags comprise a simple cardboard structure that’s held in shape by a reusable bag. The end result is a shoebox-like package that uses around 65% less cardboard.

5. Plant-based plastics

Plastics are often loathed because they are made from petroleum products. As a result, they are more difficult to recycle and can take hundreds, if not thousands of years to decompose.

To address this reality, a number of manufacturers are now creating plant-based plastics, developed from things like corn and soy. These bioplastics, as they are known, are fully biodegradable and can be disposed of in paper recycling and food waste facilities.

Furthermore, the fact they do not use any petroleum products means no unnecessary resources are consumed in their manufacture.

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