What are the 7 R's of sustainable packaging?
We all must have heard of sustainability and its three R’s. but wait, there are more than three R’s? The answer is yes, there are 7 R’s in sustainability. In this article, we will talk about the 7 different kinds of R’s in sustainable packaging.
Along with that, we will start with the basic of sustainability and sustainable packaging. After that, we will discuss the different elements of sustainable packaging. After discussing all the basics of sustainable packaging, we will talk about a summary of everything at the end of this article.
In the 21st century, we have seen and experienced many amazing inventions and discoveries. All of them have made our life easier and more comfortable. We can order whatever we want and we will get them at our doorstep without stepping a single foot outside our home. We can get all the information available on the Earth with just a click.
All these things have made things convenient but on the other hand, we can see the devastating effects of all those things. Global warming is getting out of hand and climate is not just a theory of what could happen in the future. These things have become our new reality.
Not just that, the plastic waste management problem is getting worse day by day. What can we do to prevent this problem from deteriorating?
One of the ways to save the world is by trying to generate less, this can be achieved by sustainable packaging.
What is sustainable packaging?
Sustainable packaging is the kind of packaging, which is resourced sustainably and responsibly. This packaging doesn’t harm the environment as it doesn’t leave a big Carbon Footprint.
As these are sourced responsibility, it is made sure that the resources are not exploited to make it.
What are the elements of sustainable packaging?
Now, we know what sustainable packaging means. We can continue our discussion regarding the elements of sustainable packaging. It is important to know about the elements which make sustainability possible and different from the other ways of green packaging.
This is the first and the most important step in sustainability. We have heard this phrase in childhood, prevention is better than cure. It is true in every stage of our life and in all our decisions to preserve Mother Earth. We should think twice before we buy things that we don’t need.
Because it will increase consumption, which will increase the load on natural resources and result in the exploitation of resources. We should stick to buying things which can be used multiple times just like a single-use biodegradable and compostable bag is good but it will create pressure to make more bags and result in the exploitation of the resources. Meanwhile, a jute or good-quality bag that can be used again and again, so that it does not create demand for more.
This is the first key element of sustainable packaging.
The second element of sustainable packaging is reduction. This element will be profitable for everyone. As the name suggests, reduction means to cut off all the unnecessary things that might increase the pressure on the demand and supply chain.
In packaging, it is considered better to use custom packaging to avoid void-filling in big boxes. This will be a great choice to keep the products in a sleek box which is custom-made for them. Things like custom print tape, kraft tape, and custom corrugated boxes could be your go-to choice for sustainable packaging. Brownie point if the packaging is made from recycled material.
This can give you a competitive advantage against your competitors. People, these days are very conscious about the things they buy. When they will get to know that you have used sustainable packaging it will make them feel guilt-free and happy that they have contributed to the wellness of Mother Earth.
This is the third and most neglected element out of all three of them. Compostability is not limited to biodegradable objects. But this element is the representation of waste management of all kinds of products and packaging.
We must make sure that all the things that are made and manufactured by us should be disposed of carefully and in such a way that it does not harm the environment in any way.
What are the 7R’s in sustainability packaging?
In the above sections, we have talked about sustainability and the elements of sustainable packaging. Where we talked about the key points which make sustainability a different and more environment-friendly concept that will help in preserving resources for the future generation as well as prevent them from exploitation.
We will now discuss the different R’s of sustainable packaging which are the following
As we have discussed in the elements of sustainable packaging, it is important to think if we need something or if it is just an impulse buy. For example, if we buy something on impulse but then do not use it or just throw it any. We are not helping anyone and the damage to the environment is inevitable.
We have seen that these days many things are trending on social media, especially concerning sustainability. Many people are refusing to buy things or products that have too much excessive packaging. We can easily them going viral with #packagingfails.
When we are not using any extra packaging material we are not only saving our time and money but also the resources and energy that will be used to make them. Even if we have to provide protection we can look for sustainable ways to do so like we can get some ideas from the sustainable packaging trends which are popular these days.
We have seen some horrible examples of excessive packaging that can not be justified in any way. One of the reasons why this happens is because of using boxes of the wrong sizes, due to which they have to use filler materials which contributed to the wastage of resources.
This problem is quite easy to solve we can use custom corrugated boxes which are made for the product specifically. Custom packaging helps in providing many other benefits to a business.
After we have used up the product, instead of throwing it away or recycling it. We can try to make use of it by repurposing it. For example, you have an empty jam jar instead of throwing it. You can wash it clean, and use it to store other things like spices.
An old cloth, that you have worn too many times can be given away in a donation. Or these days the thrift culture of pre-loved clothes is quite popular. The cardboard boxes that came with your delivery can be used to store different things.
When we reuse things, we reduce the demand for new things which has a good impact on the resources.
Aside from reusing, repairing is also a good option to save resources and aim for sustainability. When we repair something and reuse it, it has a positive aspect on the resources. Things like furniture, clothes, accessories, and appliances take up a lot of resources and energy to manufacture. Before we throw them away, we should at least try to repair them.
Repairing or refurbishing the objects saves up a lot of money as well. In packaging, instead of throwing away or buying new machines or tools. We should try to repair them.
Without recycling, no discussion about sustainability is complete. Recycling has played an important role in empowering sustainability. Recycling has helped in saving a lot of resources that would have been used up if things were made from fresh resources.
When we talk about recycling, corrugated boxes are first in this race. Out of the total corrugated boxes which are manufactured, 91.74% were recycled back!
This helps a lot in the preservation of the resources for future generations.
R for Rot is the last in the 7 R’s but a very important step which completes the whole cycle of sustainability. Rot can be explained as compostability. The degradation or breaking down of the object, so that the nutrients go back into the soil.
Compostable things must be properly treated in the waste faculty. Because it is equally important to make sure that things are getting properly treated at every stage of their life.
Here, we are at the end of this article which is about the 7 R’s of sustainable packaging. We had a deep discussion of elements of sustainable packaging as well as the 7 R’s of sustainability. Before all that we talked about what sustainable packaging is.
We hope that you found all the information about sustainability and its 7 R’s.
Suman Mandal has been in the packaging industry for a long time. She is passionate about the innovative ways this industry comes up with. Currently, she is writing for To The Packaging about various packaging solutions.