Responsible Packaging: The New Normal

Environmental consciousness is no longer a trend. It’s a mainstream reality.

Whether it’s recycling, composting or the sourcing of local goods, consumers are in pursuit of more sustainable lifestyle choices. In response, packaging manufacturers are going to great lengths to ensure their materials and processes are as “responsible” as possible.

Responsible packaging, or “green packaging,” means a host of things that matter to modern-day consumers as a result of an increasingly critical awareness of environmental issues. Things like:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Recyclable
  • Biodegradable
  • Degradable
  • Sustainable
  • FSC Certified

In fact, many of these technical aspects of packaging are already mandated by state and local packaging legislation in most areas of the United States. While historically most legislation banned certain packaging materials like plastics, today’s legislation is more specific about what “to do” rather than what “not to do.”

For example, cities from California to Texas have passed legislation that paper used for shopping bags must comply with the following standards:

  • No old growth trees
  • 100% recyclable
  • 40% minimum Post-Consumer Waste content (PCW)

As these paper requirements get approved in more and more states across the country, retailers are asking suppliers for dedicated packaging solutions, which comply with relevant legislation while also addressing:

  • Practicality, cost and material choice;
  • Aesthetics and maintaining brand image;
  • How the brand will be interpreted as a result of the change, culturally speaking

This is especially challenging for top ranking brands such as Nordstrom, Coach, and Brooks Brothers as a customer’s expectations of retail packaging are seen as an important part of the brand and product itself.

Inserting eco-friendly solutions into this equation is not easy and hinges on cross-functional collaboration between the client and the supplier on all aspects of the packaging program – from artwork development to production feasibility to quality testing and speed-to-market. Contact us to learn more.

What are the packaging requirements in your region and how have they impacted your business or shopping experience?

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