When searching for eco-friendly packaging examples, it can often just seem like a bunch of brown cardboard. The truth is, however, that you can get creative and environmentally friendly with your packaging. Here are 7 examples of sustainable packaging designs from real companies. Who says environmentally friendly has to be boring- let’s get creative!
Joone Creative sells to creative people so they have put a lot of effort into developing a lovely unboxing experience. They also prioritize sustainability, so using earth-friendly packaging was important.
Their packaging includes supplies (that need to be kept separated) and instructions. They use a combination of cotton bags and recyclable cardboard box inserts to keep everything separated and well-presented.
Rather than branding their boxes, Joone Creative opted for branded, water-activated tape to put a beautiful, simple final touch on their packaging experience. While some may prefer the branded box, the branded tape gives it a hand-crafted, mom-and-pop shop feel.
VELA DE CERA
This gorgeous candle box by Vela De Cera is not only beautifully branded and environmentally friendly, they cut little holes out at the top in their design. These holes, cleverly disguised in the rose on the packaging, allow the beautiful scent of the candle to come through even before the recipient actually opens and sees the candle! This means the unboxing begins as soon as the customer receives the box.
As a temporary pop-up shop, their purchasing experience is exciting from beginning to end. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your packaging to make it truly reflect your brand.
HER RIDING HABIT
Her Riding Habit has developed a packaging strategy whose attention to detail is truly above and beyond. That attention is not just on aesthetics and functionality, but also on sustainability in every aspect of packaging and shipping. She has written extensively on how she settled on a packaging strategy that balances her operational requirements, style desires, and sustainability, and has one post specifically dedicated to how she moves away from traditional plastic hang tags.
PIT LIQUOR NATURAL DEODORANT
Pit Liquor Natural Deodorant is a packaging challenge, because it comes in recyclable glass bottles that are fairly heavy. Usually, shipping glass this heavy means you need to use larger boxes and a lot of void fill. They worked with us to design this more environmentally-friendly box - with inserts cut out for the bottles and the corrugated bubble on the bottom and the top. The inserts keep everything in places , the bubble absorbs / cushions, and all of it makes for great presentation. I’d really want to call out how this approach and the corrugated bubble in particular is a great alternative to shipping larger boxes and using unsustainable styrofoam, peanuts or bubble wrap.
Tingomo, who sold cultural crafting kits, put a really unique spin on their eco-packaging. Their shipping box doubled as a carrying case! More for the cool-factor than practicality, their packaging created a memorable first impression.
This one we LOVE. It is truly a unique and interactive take on sustainable packaging. UPPERCASE started shipping out their magazines in our recycled kraft mailers to get away from using plastic poly bags.
To showcase this environmentally-friendly change they made, they asked their crafty customers to reuse the packaging in their art and post it on instagram.
Several customers actually did pretty cool things with these mailers and shared their creations on social media.
Ash + Iron, a purveyor of handcrafted wooden goods and art, created some of the most beautiful, layered packaging with recycled materials and filler. Their unboxing experience leaves no detail unaddressed, and gives the product a custom, rustic vibe before its even open.
PRETTY WITHOUT PINK
Pretty Without Pink proved that poly mailers don’t have to be a dull experience.Their custom-branded mailer helps to show that you can have a lot of attention to detail even with the poly mailer. Using a printed, custom-branded mailer complemented with tissue paper, twine, took their packaging from the banal to the sublime.
Yucca, a Denver-based online clothing shop, uses GreenWrap, rather than bubble wrap, to protect their products in transit. GreenWrap is an earth-friendly alternative to bubble wrap - it’s paper-based, biodegradable, and looks MUCH better than bubble wrap. It might be less fun to play with afterwards, but it’s better for the planet. Worth it, right?
Alma Aromatherapy uses tuck boxes with hemp twine and a beautiful lavender addition when someone asks for gift wrapping. It’s a great eco-friendly alternative to wrapping paper, which is typically virgin fiber, very difficult to recycle, and hard to reuse. Alma’s beautiful packaging is 100% recycled, easily reusable, and easily recyclable. Not to mention the fact that it also looks really classy.
Regardless of how you choose to spice up your packaging, you don’t have to sacrifice sustainability for style, or vice versa. With the holidays coming up, packaging is more important than ever. Read our piece on how to create a memorable holiday shipping package to learn how to make your own, or read more about sustainability, eco-friendly