“Sustainability is the ability to achieve continuing economic prosperity while protecting the natural systems of the planet and providing a high quality of life for its people.” – Environmental Protection Agency
Sustainability has evolved far beyond its early status as a fringe idea. Now, it’s a central theme in the global trend toward efficiency, preservation of natural resources, and economic stability.
Contrary to what you might have heard, an environmentally-sound philosophy doesn’t have to involve uncomfortable trade-offs. Flexible packaging is sustainable packaging, and it can help you meet your goals for the environment, your customer base, and your financials.
Sustainability Supports a Convenient Lifestyle
Imagine a life where consumer packaging didn’t exist. Chances are, your life would take an abrupt turn. Sustainable packaging carries social benefits that support and enhance life in ways that many consumers might never have imagined.
Plastic Packaging Facts asserts that the social benefits are the “third leg of the sustainability stool,” complementing economic and environmental performance.
Sustainable materials, they explain, help keep food fresher longer. From the refrigerated section to produce to shelf-stable products, there’s less spoilage and less waste in the budget as well as the refrigerator.
Flexible packaging, renowned as an ecologically-sound choice, also helps transport more goods using less fuel and keeps products fresher. More people have access to better nutrition, even in remote areas.
A Green Approach Offers a Valuable, Competitive Marketing Edge
In the marketplace, sustainability offers a clear competitive edge. Consumers gravitate toward companies that claim environmental friendliness and demonstrate it through good stewardship.
Sometimes, a company’s philosophy is as important as its products. BizCommunity makes several observations:
- People buy from companies that make them “feel good.”
- Consumers prefer companies that tackle societal issues.
- The younger the customer base, the more a company’s large-scale societal benefits matter.
- The majority of consumers expect company transparency. They want to see sustainable measures in action.
“The demand for sustainability has affected every aspect of packaging,” says Packaging World. It influences preferences for smaller package size, lightweighting, resource conservation, and waste minimization.
A course correction toward low-environmental impact, flexible packaging matches global awareness and consumer demand. Sustainability resonates with consumers, which helps build a positive relationship based on a mutual philosophy between a brand and a consumer.
It’s Fiscally Responsible for the Corporate Economies
Sustainability makes sense from an economic standpoint, as well, but perhaps not exactly the way that you think. In a somewhat surprising twist, common knowledge on the subject could hurt, not help, your bottom line. A better path to green goals is developing.
Take recycling, for example. Common knowledge says plastic recycling trumps landfill waste. For that matter, plastics should be avoided, correct? Not so fast.
Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) looks at the whole lifecycle of a product. It begins with the most Earth-friendly source material, ends with as little waste as possible, and gathers as much use from the product as possible inside the life cycle.
Unfortunately, many businesses don't yet appreciate the place where plastics fit into SMM. The natural capital cost of switching from plastics to alternative packaging materials could place a heavier burden on the planet, according to Packaging Digest.
Plastics are efficient, lightweight, small, and comparatively inexpensive. They often accomplish more than competing materials with a lower overall economic and environmental impact once the big picture comes into focus.
Packaging Digest says balancing SMM and the circular economy is a “journey, not a destination.” There is no single perfect sustainable solution, as myriad factors affect short- and long-term economic outcomes.
The cost factor is only one of several cogs in the green initiative wheel. Pan out, and you’ll see that source material cost is sometimes minor when compared to other advantages of a low-environmental-impact strategy.
Improved marketability, better living with more conveniences, lower packaging and product transportation costs, longer life cycle and many other benefits create a better case for sustainability in packaging.
Flexible packaging enhances your sustainability goals. Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure and find out more.