The True Cost of Sustainable Packaging
Due to climate change, many people and businesses are trying to reduce their environmental impact. One of the ways is to switch to sustainable packaging. This packaging type is often constructed using renewable, biodegradable, or recyclable materials to reduce energy use.
Sustainable packaging is often perceived as an expensive investment. The costs of manufacturing and design are only a small part of the overall expense of a product. Distributing and disposing of the product also factor into its price. If your company is making the switch, knowing the cost of eco-friendly packaging is essential.
This guide explores the actual or “hidden” costs of sustainable packaging, its benefits, and the expenses associated with adopting this kind of packaging.
IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING
Sustainable packaging is essential to consumers and businesses due to its environmental benefits. Not only does it create a healthier ecosystem, but it allows for less consumption of natural resources and longevity for companies.
Some of the benefits of sustainable packaging include the following:
• BOOSTS BRAND IMAGE
Adopting sustainable packaging helps boost your reputation in the eyes of your customers. About a third of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainability and support companies that do so because they believe their purchases make a difference.
• REDUCES CARBON FOOTPRINT
A recent development in the packaging business is green packaging, which strives to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, recycled paper or cardboard lessens the need for virgin pulp, which requires energy and resources.
• CONTAINS NO TOXINS
Sustainable packaging materials—bioplastics, mushrooms, and recycled paper—are organic and natural. These materials have no harmful allergens or toxins that can negatively impact people and the environment.
• REMAINS VERSATILE
Companies using eco-friendly resources can tailor their packaging to different products and industries. Many are also compostable, reducing waste in landfills or oceans. You can also break down recyclable materials and repurpose them for another type of packaging.
• GRANTS GOVERNMENT INCENTIVES
Governments all across the world reward businesses that use renewable resources. For instance, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants subsidies and tax incentives if a company meets its standards. Other countries that also give incentives for eco-friendly practices are Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
HOW MUCH DOES SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING REALLY COST?
While switching to sustainable packaging may seem the most optimal choice, hidden costs exist. These go beyond the price tag of the packaging material. It also extends to the packaging’s production, transportation, and disposal.
The cost of shredded paper fillers is around $30, while the price of packing peanuts is about $20. However, you need more shredded paper to keep a product safe, and packing peanuts cannot be recycled and must be disposed of safely.
Producing eco-friendly packaging tends to be more expensive as the relatively new industry and processes are still being developed. Making a plastic bag costs around one cent, while a paper bag costs around four cents.
If you are a smaller business, these costs may significantly impact your sustainability, so carefully choosing is essential. While sustainable packaging is eco-friendly, it does not mean it is the most cost-effective.
If you live in the United Kingdom, you may need to switch if the government enacts the Plastic Packaging Tax.
FAQS ABOUT THE COST OF SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING
• DOES SUSTAINABILITY INCREASE COSTS?
The sustainability costs vary depending on the production process, materials used, and supply chain efficiency, but it does not necessarily increase costs. The price of a product may be higher because it uses more expensive materials or methods.
• WHAT IS THE MOST COST-EFFECTIVE PACKAGING MATERIAL?
The most cost-effective packaging material depends on the product you want to package and your budget. Common, cost-effective materials include sustainable folding cartons, corrugated cardboard, biodegradable plastics, and recycled paper.
• ARE SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING MATERIALS MORE EXPENSIVE?
Sustainable packaging materials may cost more upfront but can save money in the future by reducing waste disposal fees. You can also experience increased revenue due to customers willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging.
If you live in the United Kingdom, using sustainable packaging prevents the government from taxing you.
• WHY ARE PACKAGING COSTS SO HIGH?
Several factors can affect the cost of packaging, such as rising prices for raw materials, labor costs, and energy due to recent global events.
The pandemic also impacted customers’ choice to purchase from eCommerce sites rather than going to a retail store. It was because companies creating eco-friendly packaging may not have kept up with the demand, leading to lower supply and higher costs.
• HOW DOES SUSTAINABILITY REDUCE COSTS?
Businesses that adopt sustainable practices can save on costs in several ways. While eco-friendly materials may cost more upfront, they can save costs over time and reduce the need for constant reordering and restocking. Governments and organizations offer incentives and grants for companies that adopt sustainable practices, further reducing costs.
CONSIDER THE LONGEVITY OF YOUR BUSINESS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Sustainable packaging is an essential aspect of environmental responsibility, as well as a cost-effective choice. It is evolving into a strong and competitive market as consumers and businesses become more aware of their environmental impact.
Switching to eco-friendly materials can cost more upfront, but it will save you money in the long run because you will not need to constantly resupply them and can reuse the packaging. You may also be able to receive incentives from the government.
Meyers is a team of experts who are always ready to help you explore your business’s needs and bring your ideas to life with professional printing and custom packaging solutions. Contact us today, and let’s get started.