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The Impact of Switching to Sustainable Packaging

The Impact of Switching to Sustainable Packaging

Feb 23rd 2021

In a year in which more holiday shopping took place online than ever before, it’s important that businesses consider the impact their packaging has on the environment. Luckily, by switching to eco-friendly packaging you can both lessen your environmental footprint and increase your likelihood of securing repeat customers. Today’s consumer really does care about the environment, and demonstrating your commitment to sustainability in packaging is a great way to create loyal, like-minded customers. 

Sustainable packaging isn’t just hot air, either- by switching to shipping packaging that’s recyclable and composed of recycled materials itself, your environmental impact is significantly reduced. To illustrate this, we used our sustainability savings calculator to show you just how much of an impact you can have by switching to eco-friendly materials.

Packaging Statistics

According to the U.S. Postal service in 2019, they estimated that around 28 million packages would be delivered per day between December 16th and December 20th of that year, and about 800 million packages to be delivered in total between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. These numbers don’t account for the myriad other shipping companies that also deliver holiday packages, nor does it factor in the astounding increase in ecommerce shopping brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. That’s a lot of packaging.

Ecommerce Statistics

One thing that’s becoming increasingly clear about the unpredictable year we’ve had, is that ecommerce sales are through the roof. Using retail numbers published by the Commerce Department of the US Census, we can see that online retail sales were estimated to be up 37% in Q3 of this year compared to last year, for a total of nearly $200 billion (last year’s Q3 total was $145 billion). That staggering number means that ecommerce sales accounted for 14.3% of all sales made in the US this period.

Emarketer estimates this total to be even higher in 2020, with a total ecommerce sales estimate of $794 billion for the year, up 32.4% from last year, and smashing ecommerce sales growth estimates through 2024. None of these numbers included the holiday season of this year. While it’s unclear what the future of ecommerce looks like in a world no longer ravaged by a global pandemic, each of those sales involved shipping packaging.

Source: US Census Bureau

Customers Want Sustainable Packaging

In addition to increasing their online spending, it’s also becoming increasingly clear that consumers want their packaging to be sustainable. We’ve written extensively about the ways in which eco-friendly packaging strengthens your brand, but one key fact is that customers care more about the environmental impact of their purchases more and more.

A 2019 survey by Accenture found that 72% of respondents said they are buying more eco-friendly products than they were 5 years ago, and 81% said they expect to buy more sustainable products over the next 5 years. Additionally, the same survey found that around 77% of respondents perceived plastic as the least environmentally friendly type of packaging- so don’t think they aren’t noticing those corners cut.

Trivium’s 2020 report on sustainable packaging found that 67% of consumers now identify as environmentally aware, and 59% say they are less likely to buy a product in environmentally harmful packaging. Perhaps most telling is that 74% of those surveyed indicated that they would actually pay more for products with sustainable packaging. While it’s good news for the planet that consumers are more and more interested in sustainability, it can also result in a real positive impact on the environment.

The Impact of Switching

We firmly believe recycled content matters, and our mission is to reduce use of virgin materials in all facets of packaging. In order to illustrate the “environmental savings” of switching to eco-friendly packaging, we used our sustainability calculator to show how many natural resources would be conserved on hypothetical orders of 100 units per week of some of our best-selling products.

To find out what natural resources you’ll save by switching to eco-friendly packaging, try entering your specific packaging needs into the sustainable savings calculator. Finally, have a look at what actual EcoEnclose customer’s recycled packaging already saved in 2020:

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