Now more than ever, customers are concerned with finding more ways to reduce their impact on the environment. Because of this, sustainability is factoring more in customers’ purchasing decisions, and brands need to pay attention.
In a survey conducted by Mckinsey looking at consumer behaviour in the fashion industry in April 2020, it was found that 57% of consumers have made significant changes to their lifestyles to lessen their environmental impact, and more than 60% report going out of their way to recycle and purchase products in environmentally friendly packaging.
Over the years and in recent times, we’ve seen various industries and brands make a bigger commitment to the environment, particularly when it comes to reducing the use of single-use plastic. Initiatives have included:
- Supermarkets swapping single-use plastic bags for reusable green bags and introducing in-store soft plastics recycling bins
- Restaurants making the switch from plastic to paper straws
- Cafes making take-away coffees using customers’ own keep-cups
- Introduction of Zero Waste shops, where customers bring their own containers to stock up on goods
- Retailers offering incentives for recycling, e.g. Beauty brand M·A·C offering customers a free lipstick when they return six M·A·C primary packaging containers to any M.A.C free standing store.
Eco-friendly is the way of the future and customers are seeking out brands to champion for their commitment to sustainability. So, when it comes to your brand wanting to do right by both your customers and the environment, a good place to start is with your packaging.
3 tips for going green with your packaging
1- Make the switch to eco-friendly materials
The disposal of excess or non-recyclable packaging can cause post-purchase guilt and dissatisfaction for the environmentally conscious customer, so do some research and find opportunities for material alternatives.
L’OCCITANE uses fully recyclable aluminum tube rather than plastic for hand lotion. Image credit: Good Houskeeping
Generally speaking – single-use plastic is out, and basically anything else is in – as long as it’s recyclable, biodegradable or earth friendly. Where plastic cannot be avoided, incorporate recycled plastic instead of manufacturing new plastic. Opting for eco-friendly packaging where possible will help your brand maintain customer satisfaction and ultimately loyalty.
2 – Empower the customer to do the right thing
Do your customers know what to do with your packaging after consumption? Sustainability is a team effort between brand and customer, so help your customers do the right thing by removing confusion around how to dispose of your packaging.
Include instructions or make use of Australasian Recycling Labels to clarify which components are recyclable and if there’s any additional steps required to recycle.
3 – Make a statement
Earn your customers’ confidence through transparency. Create an ad campaign or use your secondary packaging as a canvas for bragging rights. Communicating your commitment to the environment will help strengthen the relationship between your customers and your brand.
Image credit: Emotive
Get ahead of regulation
Going green with packaging isn’t just trending, but is gradually becoming regulation. The Australian Government has launched a National Plastics Plan which announced targets for 2025 that all packaging be reusable, recyclable and compostable and packaging materials have an average of 50% recycled content.
Included in this plan is to:
– Phase out plastic packaging products that do not meet compostable standards by July 2022
– Phase out polystyrene from food and beverage containers and PVC packaging labels by Dec 2022
– Have at least 80% of supermarket products to display the Australasian Recycling Label by Dec 2023