Green packaging

Buying a product which is designed and delivered in a green way is good, but when it’s green-packaged too, that’s even better. Here are some packaging options that are good for consumers and the environment.

Natural packaging

Bio-packaging made from natural materials such as cornstarch cardboard, honeycomb packaging, grass and kraft paper etc. means that waste generated by agricultural and industrial processes can be put to good use instead of being discarded.

Often these materials are compostable and biodegradable. Other ways in which you can stay green with your packaging is by re-using and re-cycling things like bubble wrap, concertina cardboard and air cushions.

Too many boxes

Who hasn’t received a product in a box three times bigger than the product itself ?

According to a study carried out in 2018, a quarter of the volume of shipping boxes is empty. Matching the box size with the product dimensions is not always easy – that is why some online retailers end up packaging products with bigger boxes and sometimes also send an order in multiple deliveries.

Reducing box sizes in both manufacturing and shipping ends up saving materials, shock-absorbing wrapping and energy. It also means more container space and less transport journeys, and, consequently, less CO2 emissions. It might be a good idea to suggest this to e-tailers or mention excessive packaging in consumer reviews online.

Every consumer can make a difference.

Circular packaging

Is the packaging in good condition and you think it’s a shame to throw it away ? Here are some solutions from our European neighbours.

  • In Finland and Germany, a mapping application helps you find traders looking for recycled packaging near you. Other apps help identify traders who use second-hand packaging.
  • There are sellers, in Slovenia for example, who allow you to return the packaging so it can be reused for further orders. Another shop sells cleaning and cosmetic products in returnable cartons.
  • Some sellers in Europe offer discounts for returned packaging. Many restaurants sell unsold food if customers collect it using their own containers.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.