Is Zero-Waste Packaging Possible?

February 02, 2012

You may have read our post from a few weeks ago about the perils of A World Without Packaging. Well, that logistical nightmare is trying to be realized by a Austin startup in.gredients.

in.gredients plans to create an organic-and-natural food grocery store that is package-free and zero-waste. As points out a “zero-waste” grocery store cannot be fully achieved, as “Most manufacturers will still ship goods in some kind of container–they’re not going to open the back of a truck and just let tomatoes spill out.” They will also be subject to food-hygiene laws.

However, this company, which is trying to raise startup money from IndieGoGo, does bring up an interesting point for the larger packaging and distribution world, even those who cannot achieve package-free.

An estimated 30-40 percent of landfill waste is made of food packaging products. It is true that the term “waste” isn’t as definitive as one might think. A package that extends the shelf life of a food product, thus making it more likely to be consumed before going bad, is still considered “waste” even though it serves a more sustainable purpose.

In that way, it is better to think of packaging not in terms solely of where it ends up when it is done, but all it accomplishes (and how many times it accomplishes it) during its lifecycle. Design should be effective and environmentally conscious; a smart design can have enormous positive impacts.

As an industry, we in packaging are often focused simply on protecting product and reducing weight when we are creating shipping solutions. What more can we do to think of sustainable options?

The Ernest Innovation Lab is leading the industry in creating green solutions for the packaging industry. We don’t just protect your product, we can make it more environmentally friendly with:

  • Lighter shipping options, which require less energy to transport and use fewer raw materials
  • Corrugated stretch wrap that can be reused
  • Closed-loop reusable systems
  • Using recyclable materials
  • And lots more

If package-free isn’t a reality for your business, be sure you partner with a company that knows the importance of environmental design, a company like Ernest Packaging.