Environmentally friendly packaging is any packaging that’s easy to recycle, safe for individuals and the environment, and is made out of recycled materials. It is also called green packaging or sustainable packaging. Environmentally friendly packaging uses materials and manufacturing techniques to diminish energy use and reduce the harmful impacts of packaging on the environment. Green packaging solutions often include biodegradable and recyclable materials-like paper, cardboard and organic fabric- in preference to materials like plastic and Styrofoam. According to the EPA, packaging represents 65% of all household trash; clearly showing the impact packaging has on the environment. With the threat of climate change looming nearer, it is time more companies adopted environmentally friendly packaging.

Going green reduces production costs of companies. From an economic point of view, producing light-weight materials helps manufacturing companies to save money and also generate less waste since most eco-friendly items are recyclable. Environmentally friendly packaging releases fewer carbon emissions during production and is produced using highly recyclable materials which reduces consumption of heavy-energy resources. Sustainable packaging materials reduce shipping costs by minimizing the amount of packaging material used to ship goods. Also, since eco-products can be purchased in bulk; they cost less for companies. Therefore, environmentally friendly packaging is a highly effective means of reducing the financial burden of companies.

Environmentally friendly packaging enables companies to boost sales by attracting more consumers. Consumers today are all about sustainability. They are making conscious decisions and are willing to pay a premium for green products. Studies by the World Economic Forum have showed that there is a positive correlation between green packaging and positive branding, with many consumer advocacy groups promoting companies that use sustainable packaging. As the awareness is growing, more people are making a shift towards green packaging and hence going green attracts more consumers depending on a company’s attitude towards the environment. Eco-friendly packaging gives companies a chance to expand their customer base. According to various global studies, the demand for eco-friendly and sustainable products is continuously rising and hence opening opportunity for companies to push themselves as environmentally conscious organizations.

Companies owe it to their customers to adopt eco-friendly packaging. Traditional packaging is produced from synthetic and chemical laden materials making it harmful for both consumers and manufacturers. Materials like plastic and aluminum cans have the potential to cause illnesses like cancer, food poisoning and a variety of allergies. On the bright side, most bio-degradable packaging is non-toxic and made from allergy free materials. Also, eco-friendly packaging can be used with most food products without worrying about unhealthy repercussions. Using toxic and allergen free packaging materials gives consumers a chance to lead a healthy life style. This should be a huge motivation for more companies to adopt environmentally friendly packaging.

Green packaging enables companies fulfil their corporate social responsibility. A focus on corporate social responsibility means a business is committed to enhancing the environment and society; not contributing to its destruction. Manufacturing companies can brand themselves as someone who is concerned about the environment. A 2020 McKinsey report states that consumers are more likely to engage with companies that are known for their ecological practices. This means that manufacturers must not only incorporate eco-friendly materials into their packaging but also be transparent about their product life-cycle management. In this way, eco-friendly products become a part of brand message.

Eco-friendly packaging gives companies an opportunity to be versatile and creative. Environmentally friendly packaging is extremely versatile and can be reused and repurposed in all major industries where standard packaging is used. This means that these materials can be used in a wide variety as compared to traditional packaging. Traditional packaging not only harms our environment, but also limits the creativity in package designing. Companies also have more options in working out creative forms and designs when it comes to eco-friendly packaging.

In conclusion, adoption of environmentally friendly packaging is a win-win solution for both companies and consumers. With each day that passes, companies have more reasons to embrace eco friendly packaging; it is satisfactory for them and everyone else. Therefore, through positively utilising the immense power they yield by going green, companies can bolster the fight against climate change.

Essay by: Namasaba Peace Preta
Makerere University

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