Effective product usage
A well-designed packaging makes the use of the product more effective. This can be achieved by packaging materials with a dosing feature or individually packaged portions. In these cases, the packaging ensures that the right quantity of product is available at the right time and that less product goes to waste.
Around 90% of the environmental impact of a product-packaging combination is caused by the product. The packaging is only responsible for 10%. When a packaging effectively supports the use of the product, this may result in a greater environmental benefit because less of the product is being wasted.
Another trend is product concentration. This reduces the product volume, requiring less packaging and packaging material for the same product unit. This also has a positive effect on storage, transportation and logistics. A third option is to adapt the product such that packaging becomes (all but) redundant. In addition to generating material savings, this also prevents part of the product from remaining unused in the packaging and therefore discarded.
In addition to the aforementioned strategies for preventing product waste, various other design decisions have the potential to affect the usage phase and consumer behaviour thereby improving the sustainability of a product-packaging combination.
The packaging and the product
Sustainable product-packaging combinations are always the result of the right combination of product properties and packaging properties. When making a packaging more sustainable, it is important to first prevent product loss, avoid product wastage, and guarantee the safety of the user and the environment. Most of the environmental impact of a product-packaging combination is caused by the product itself; around 10% of the total environmental impact is caused by the packaging. Once all these aspects have been optimally safeguarded, you can explore options to make the packaging more sustainable. Examples include reducing the amount of material used or using sustainable material applications, without compromising the packaging functionality.
Improving the sustainability of packaging is more than simply reducing the amount of material used. The following measures will make packaging more sustainable as well:
- preventing the wastage of raw materials during its production;
- tailoring the packaging to fit the product that will be transported in it;
- using as many renewable or recycled materials as possible for its production;
- using sustainable technologies and energy during its production;
- setting up the logistical process as efficiently as possible and avoiding the transport of empty air.
That is why it is important to take each of the following aspects into consideration when developing a sustainable packaging solution: product protection, food safety, effective product usage en measuring sustainability.