Achieving sustainable packaging is not a passing fad: demand from increasingly aware consumers has led companies to rethink all their processes to generate sustainable products. 

Thus, eco-friendly packaging is at the heart of this paradigm shift. Transformations have emerged at many levels, from the materials chosen to the facilities for reusing packaging. 

Creativity in this field is continuously providing new solutions to the problem of packaging waste. Thus, companies must know how to adapt to this change, while ensuring the integrity of the goods transported and optimizing costs. 

Trends in sustainable packaging

Reuse

One of the main trends in sustainable packaging is to eliminate single-use packaging and give the final consumer the possibility to use the packaging more than once. 

The circular economy, promoted by many bodies including the European Union, comes into play here, in which it is a question of reusing materials that would generally be discarded as waste. This paradigm requires a change in mentality with respect to what has happened up to now with packaging, which was immediately discarded by the end consumers. 

In addition, it is necessary to study the final design of reusable eco-packaging, so that its manufacture does not pose major ecological problems. Some examples of this case include reusable cleaning product packaging, which is refilled multiple times through capsules.

Reducing

The trend towards minimalist packaging also stands out among the possibilities for sustainable packaging. This consists in the use of smaller quantities of materials for packaging, which in turn achieves a reduction in CO2 emissions, among other advantages. 

However, in view of this trend, it is worth considering ways of optimising tertiary packaging. In other words, it is necessary to eliminate the possibility of under-packaging, generating packaging that is sufficiently resistant to protect the transported product. For this purpose, testing equipment is used, capable of simulating scenarios that will take place during transport and storage, testing the product + packaging systems.

The appearance of the Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging program works in the same direction: the new directives of the e-commerce giant urge distributors to reduce packaging waste as much as possible, achieving lower economic and ecological costs. Testing and simulation systems are thus also appearing as a trend, including the Amazon Lab required to comply with the ISTA 6 Amazon.com testing protocols. 

Recycle 

Trends in sustainable packaging also point to a change in the materials used, one of the major demands of increasingly aware consumers. Thus, both materials that can be more easily recycled and materials that have already been recycled are being applied.  

On the one hand, alternatives to plastic packaging are sought, whose decomposition cycle presents serious ecological damage and whose use also means an increasingly poorer image for the end consumer. Compostable and biodegradable materials appear as material options for eco-friendly packaging.

Two examples: IKEA has joined this trend by generating 100% biodegradable packaging made from mushrooms; or the generation of packaging from recycled materials as NIKE has done. In the latter case, it also becomes part of the circular economy, as they have managed to make use of materials that would otherwise be discarded. 

Surprise

The generation of sustainable packaging is giving rise to the emergence of surprising and innovative ideas. While in the past the aim was to differentiate the company from its competitors by means of large and striking packaging, today companies are working to generate eco-friendly packaging that will delight and create customer loyalty. 

Examples include the generation of edible packaging, particularly for food products, or plantable packaging. These ideas, even in a minority, manage to give a new life or make the packaging disappear completely. 

The end customer

The trend that is marking all these changes is the transformation in the demand for eco-friendly products and packaging. Faced with increasingly aware and knowledgeable consumers, companies are responding, guided also by initiatives such as the Frustration-Free Packaging program mentioned above.

All of this involves not only the need to carry out tests and generate changes in the materials used, but also to apply correct information campaigns that highlight the company’s commitment to the environment. 

In other words, if a company has achieved eco-friendly packaging, it is essential to let the purchaser know that biodegradable, recyclable or reusable packaging is being used.

The role of simulation machines

In this new paradigm of sustainable packaging, transport simulation and material testing equipment take the lead. 

Simulation systems come into play on many levels when designing eco-friendly packaging: both in testing new sustainable materials to determine their suitability and in generating packaging that reduces the amount of materials to a minimum. 

In short, it is a simulation that allows us to know in depth and in a laboratory environment how the packaging will behave during the distribution process. In this way, it is possible to anticipate the potential risks that will affect the goods and design packaging that will protect them. 

In Safe Load Testing Technologies we have already helped many companies to test their packaging + product systems according to international standards, new legislation and the generation of eco-friendly packaging. This is the case of Duo Plast, which with our help created its own testing laboratory completely adapted to its needs and the needs of its customers. Do you need help to design and test the resistance of your sustainable packaging? Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help you.

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