Green 18Retailers and wholesalers are saving the environment one bag and box at a time. The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, for one, has set a goal for members to reduce the amount of landfill waste they produce with their packaging by four billion pounds between 2005 and 2020. By 2011, they had reduced it by 1.5 billion pounds.

Here is a look at the newest green packaging solutions and how consumers are reacting to them.

What Is Green Packaging?

Eco-friendly packaging is easy to recycle, uses a renewable resource like paper or glass, which is preferably recycled. It is made with as much renewable energy as possible. The design and production needs the least possible amount of material and energy necessary for effectiveness. The finished product is safe for both the environment and for consumers.

Sustainable packaging solutions are growing in popularity and use. Concerns about changing global weather conditions have made the environment an important issue for shoppers and businesses.

Plastics in Sustainable Packaging

LIV Organic made a switch to green packaging for their bottled drink sweetened with agave nectar. They chose a new design that used 31% less plastic resin and required a smaller bottom cap, which also saved on resin by almost 25%. The new bottle design uses a new technology called the “Groovy Finish.”

A bottled water company switched from corrugated cases to a technology that uses shrink wrap for the bottled water that it bundles and transports. In addition to the new materials, the company positioned the bottles in a different configuration so they no longer needed corrugated trays and pads for stability. In the process, the company actually saved money on materials.

Creative Recycling

Pizza Hut stores in Costa Rica use a box design that is easy to break down into plates and into a small box for leftovers. This type of recycling makes use of out-of-the-box creativity to find new recycling opportunities.

PUMA, makers of footwear and athletic wear, are now using The Clever Little Bag, their entry into the sustainable packaging arena. The company’s shoes are packaged in this reusable, red shoe bag. This type of recycling not only saves on water and energy use, it also appeals to customers who like to use the bags to organize shoes in their closets. PUMA reduced resource consumption by 65% by switching to the bags.

Another example is the Brown Kraft Microwaveable Chinese Takeout Box made by the packaging company Mr. Take Out Bags. Takeout is a staple for Americans who love ethnic food and convenience, making this model in demand. These models are made from paperboard that is 100% recycled and are endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association.

New Materials

Seventh Generation, the earth-friendly cleaner company, is using containers made with an outer shell of molded-pulp, composed of 70% recycled cardboard and 30% newspapers. The new containers can themselves be recycled up to seven more times.

Stonyfield Farms, makers of yogurt, now use corn-based bio-plastic for many of their cups. Bio-plastics can also be made from sugarcane and mushroom caps. These materials are sustainable, but researchers are still checking on their viability for long-term packaging.

The Eco Tray for CDs and DVDs uses potato or tapioca starch for the containers. They are completely biodegradable and recyclable.

Companies and consumer are rising to the challenge of producing less packaging, making the most creative use of what they have, and finding new materials for making them. Bottom line: Shoppers are requesting greener packaging solutions and manufacturers are delivering them.