When someone first has an idea for a business, the last thing they are thinking about is
packaging, but it shouldn't be. In the world of E-Commerce, the package that a product
comes in is the first impression a customer has when they first touch it. While you can't
control what a shipping company does with it, the condition, overall appearance, and
protection provided all play a factor consciously or subconsciously in how a consumer
thinks. Imagine it like getting a birthday present; even if the contents were the same,
you would much rather get the one wrapped in nice paper with a bow than the one that
was thrown in a grocery bag. When you think about it in those terms, choosing the kind
of packaging you use isn't so cut and dry, especially depending on your industry and the
types of consumers you attract. Traditional barrier bags may be working now, but public
perception is changing and companies must weigh their options and find a solution that
works for them.
First of All
The question may have crossed your mind why all plastics aren't recyclable or
biodegradable, considering they are made from a carbon-based material. The easy
answer is that they technically are; it is just that their manufacturing process makes it
sometimes take hundreds of years for that process to take place. The primary reason
that traditional barrier bags are not recyclable is that to improve performance, the bags
are made from a lamination of different materials, and the glue removal process makes
it economically unfeasible to recycle also, as most consumer packaging is not cleaned
before being recycled, so recycling companies usually throw all of it out.
Whether it is part of your corporate social responsibility efforts or simply trying to appeal
to environmentally savvy consumers, you wonder if eco-friendly packaging is a viable
option for your company. By comparing traditional packaging and eco-friendly options in
the same space, you should be able to weigh your options and come to a conclusion
that is right for your business.
Pros and Cons of Traditional
If it's not broken, some would say don't fix it, and these traditional barrier bags have
been working for decades, so why change now? The world is getting more Earth-conscious, leading consumers to want to do their part to conserve the planet. These pros and cons of traditional barrier bags shed some light on why they have been popular for so long and why they may no longer be the best option.
These bags have been used for years and have been proven time and time again to work.
They are more widely available because of their track record and their cost-efficiency.
Traditional bags are a cost-efficient way to protect your product during shipping, especially if you are shipping a lot
Traditional plastics became the most popular packaging because they are flexible and lightweight but incredibly durable at the same time.
High barrier bags preserve products longer because there is a low transfer of oxygen between the inside and outside of the bag. Moisture transfer is also mitigated, and both can be mitigated further by adding oxygen and moisture absorbers to the bag. A high barrier doesn't only mean preventing liquid and gas transfer; it also means high tensile strength, which prevents tears and punctures.
Traditional barrier bags are made from non-enewable resources, which means that every bag made uses more
Not Recyclable or Compostable
Since they are not recyclable or compostable, each bag creates waste that takes hundreds of years to break down.
As consumers become more interested in conservation, using traditional plastic barrier bags may give customers a negative perception of your business.
Pros and Cons of Eco Friendly Packaging
A company willing to spend a little more on eco-friendly packaging will be viewed as socially responsible and likely have a better public perception. Customers have shown a strong interest in reducing the environmental impact of their purchases. Eco Friendly packaging such as recyclable and compostable packaging improve consumers impression of your brand.
Enhanced Regulatory compliance
The EU, Canada and other nations have already started to move towards a more sustainable packaging future. They are in the process of enacting taxes on packaging which is not eco-friendly. "[T]he EU is moving to slap a tax on non-recycled plastic packaging in the new year."
Reduce Ocean Pollution Compostable Bags
Plastic bags and plastic waste are major contributors to ocean garbage. While recycling is a advantage, the process of recycling requires energy. The real future of packaging is compostable bags that will biodegrade either through industrial processes or in a land fill. Informed customers will love the fact that their bags can be composted.
Unfortunately, as is usually the case, using renewable resources, the materials used are more costly, so the price point of eco-friendly bags is higher.
While the technology continues to improve currently eco-friendly packaging like compostable and recyclable bags have a lower barrier from moisture and oxygen, which means a shorter shelf-life for packaged products. This can be mitigated with oxygen and moisture-absorbing additives and new coatings are being developed, currently if you need a high barrier packaging solution eco-friendly will not be as effective.
This packaging has less tensile strength, so it is not as immune to punctures and tears as traditional barrier bags. Common uses that need high tensile strength including protein powder, flours, and other granulated products. Also any product which is heavy, needs extra strength.
Some Printing Limitations
The materials used for less expensive compostable barrier bags require printed materials to be printed directly onto the paper, limiting the colors one can use. Higher-end compostable bags do not have these same limitations.
Pros and Cons of Recyclable Bags
Many of the advantages and disadvantages of recyclable bags are the same as compostable bags, with a few added considerations.
Because the materials are recyclable, these products tend to be less expensive than compostable bags.
Recyclable barrier bags look more like traditional barrier bags, so recycling facilities will often remove them from the recycling, and throw them away because they don't have the time or reason to check bags for a recyclable stamp.
Make the Switch
The extra upfront cost of choosing eco-friendly barrier bags can lead to higher sales and more profit in the long run. Even with their disadvantages, customers will love that your business chooses a socially responsible route for packaging your products. Some disadvantages to these products, like the fact that customers may not know that they are compostable or recyclable, can easily be rectified with a note informing them of proper disposal and subtly notifying them that you have decided to be a more eco-conscious company. If you are ready to make the switch to eco-friendly packaging and get all the benefits that come with it, or if you have any other questions about the product or ordering, contact us today!