Using QR Codes to Tell Your Sustainable Packaging Story

Using QR Codes to Tell Your Sustainable Packaging Story

Posted on May 24th 2021

You’ve made the investment in sustainable packaging. Now it’s time to tell the world (or at least your customers).

73% of consumers are more likely to buy a product packaged sustainably. Many will also pay a premium. (Shopify) So if you skip this step of telling your customers, you’re missing an important opportunity to build connection, brand loyalty and referrals.

There are a lot of ways to showcase your eco-friendly packing investments:

  • Branded packaging
  • Your website
  • Social media
  • Notecards
  • Stickers
  • Your packing slips
  • Your confirmation emails

One way that is becoming more and more popular by the week: QR codes.

“After a decade of mockery and dismissal, these little black-and-white square patterns you scan with your phone to pull up a website—are finally having their moment.” Largely due to COVID (and the fact that we can now pull up QR codes using our smartphone camera instead of through a one off app). And it doesn’t seem like they will go away even when the pandemic is behind us.

Here are FOUR examples of packaging with QR codes that showcase sustainability features and tell a brand’s story.

Wildlife Collections EcoReport

Wildlife Collections directs their customers to a Packaging EcoReport which provides guidance on how to reuse and recycle their packaging, and shares sustainability details on the 100% Recycled Paper Apparel Mailer. 

This is such a great way to help engage customers in a company’s eco commitment.

50% Recycled Bubble Mailers

EcoEnclose’s newly released 50% Recycled Bubble Mailers link to an "All About the Eco Bubble Mailer" page that guides customers guidance on how to recycle or send back their bubble mailers to EcoEnclose. 

This page also provides a snapshot of the evolution of the Bubble Mailer - and how it evolved from a virgin product into a 50% recycled, and why this progress is a critical step in helping to fuel a more circular economy.

Recycle From Home and Flints

These great mailer designs link directly to the company’s website. Sometimes, you want to engage your customers further but a specific landing page doesn't really make sense. 

What I love about these packages is that their designs and language on the mailers is compelling, motivating someone to take that step of checking out the QR code to get to their website. 

What Message Can You Share Using a QR Code in Your Packaging Strategy?

You have a lot of options! Here are four ideas that can help solidify your brand’s commitment to sustainability.

  • How to reuse or recycle: Most packaging includes basic end of life guidance directly on it, with things like a printed recyclable symbol. Unfortunately, “recyclable” isn’t always very clear and so much depends on a person's unique situation. For example, if your shipping box has tape, stickers and a shipping label, do these need to be removed before recycling or can you recycle the box as is? If you received a poly mailer, where is the nearest drop off location for thin film? Do you need to remove shipping labels? Directing recipients to detailed recycling guidance that answers these more nuanced questions can be really helpful, and shows your customers just how committed you are to helping drive a more circular packaging economy. Bonus points if you encourage your customers to reuse their original packaging at least once before recycling it.
  • Eco packaging statistics: Don’t be shy! Brag to your customers about the carbon footprint and resource savings you’ve generated by using recycled packaging instead of standard, virgin alternatives.
  • Discounts for sharing: 40% of ecommerce customers believe that thoughtful packaging will make them more likely to share an unboxing experience on social media. If you’ve made the commitment to ship with eco-friendly packaging, take advantage of this trend. Encourage your customers to share their purchasing experience on social media and reward them with discounts on future orders.