Tell Your Brand's Sustainable Packaging Story
Tell Your Brand's
Sustainable Packaging Story
Our EcoReports outline the features and calculated eco resource savings of your recycled packaging. Give your customers a deeper appreciation of how your decisions help reduce the carbon footprint of their purchases.
Our videos convey what is uniquely eco-friendly and circular about your packaging, without all those words that no one has time to read. Use these to help your customers learn why you chose recycled, recyclable packaging.
On Your Packaging
On Website & Social Media
Sustainability Showcase Page
Framework: Describes the basic structure of a brand’s sustainability values and the most important criteria (and its prioritization) when making packaging and product choices.
Values: Lists decision-making criteria and major values.
Sustainability Goals: Describes where a brand is going and how it will measure its impact and success.
Supply Chain: Specific lists of used packaging solutions. Highlights the vendors and other inputs/supplies being used.
Journey: A timeline or visualization to show your progress towards your sustainability and innovation goals. Communicates your incremental progress and commitment to improvement over time.
To help you get started, we've provided sample language to include alongside these badges.
Language to Use & Avoid
Phrases We Love Seeing on Sustainable Packaging
The following are examples of phrases we encourage you to use or draw from, infusing these concepts with your brand’s unique tone and personality. These phrases do not all apply to every single one of our packaging options. Please ensure that the phrases you land on accurately describe the packaging you have chosen.
- This packaging is made with X% recycled content and Y% post-consumer waste.
- This type of statement is clear, specific and also shows if and where your brand can continue to grow and improve.
- This packaging is made with recovered trash. Keep the cycle going by recycling me!
- This packaging was printed with Algae Ink, a breakthrough carbon negative innovation.
- Recycle me with mixed paper.
- Look at me, I’m plastic-free!
- Reuse this package for returns or a second shipment, or recycle it at a thin-film drop off location or through EcoEnclose’s Take Back Program.
- This package was manufactured in the USA.
- This box was custom-sized for your shipment. No unnecessary extra material was used in this box - #wehatewaste.
- This packaging was chosen for its low carbon footprint.
- I may look like just another box, but I’m actually made entirely with trash. Please recycle me so I can stay on my circular path.
- Please don’t send me to the scary landfill! Recycle me curbside so I can get a new life!
- I’m naturally biodegradable so I won’t clog our waterways or litter our lands. But please recycle me so I can become something useful again soon.
- This packaging was Made in Ohio with recycled waste generated in the midwest USA.
Misleading Phrases to Avoid
These phrases can inadvertently send the wrong message or lead to the wrong end-of-life outcomes for packaging.
Compostable Packaging | Compost Me
- Yes, almost all of our paper-based packaging is naturally biodegradable (i.e. it will biodegrade in nature, a home compost and industrial compost). As such, labeling our boxes and paper mailers as composable would be accurate. However, we strongly discourage our customers from putting the word on their packaging.
- It is more ecological for unsoiled paper packaging to be recycled than composted because recycling gives new life to these raw resources quickly and efficiently, and avoids the need for virgin paper to be used.
- The vast majority of composting facilities worldwide do not accept packaging unless that packaging is for food. All would prefer that these items be recycled, not composted.
- Paper mailers and boxes contain inks, adhesives and shipping labels. These become contaminants that degrade our soils and devalue compost, making it more difficult for composting facilities to operate without extensive government support.
Degradable | Omnidegradable | Bio-Assimilate
- Yikes! We see these vague, non-defined words more and more. They do not provide clear guidance regarding the end of life! They aren’t inherently eco-friendly characteristics, so they can quickly lead you into greenwashing.
Landfill Me | This Package Will Biodegrade in the Landfill
- We do not want materials to biodegrade in the landfill, as this leads to methane emissions - the third largest GHG contributor in the US. Skip packaging designed for landfill degradation; don’t encourage your customers to trash these goods.
- If it is important to you that your packaging does not contribute a lick to ocean plastic pollution, we recommend using the term “naturally biodegradable.” While this term isn’t perfect, we believe it helps avoid the misunderstandings of labeling something as “compostable” or “biodegradable.”
Certification Labels That Your Packaging Is Not Actually Certified To
- We see brands use the OK Compost logo on paper packaging. While paper packaging can technically be composted, it is against certification rules to use this symbol for any packaging that hasn’t been officially certified.
Vague adjectives, buzzwords, or “eco-descriptors.”
Be Specific and Transparent
Whatever exact phrasing you land on, we encourage you to be specific. Replacing vague wording with facts and data communicates the most significant factors of a product’s impact and enables your customer to see you are walking the walk, not just talking the talk.
Replace adjectives, buzzwords, and “eco-descriptors” with specific facts about the packaging material.
- % of specific recycled content - % of post-consumer waste (PCW) and % of post-industrial waste (PIW)
- Supplier and vendor names
- Production location of packaging
- How customers should correctly reuse or dispose of packaging
- Is packaging reusable? If yes - state it's reusability and show how to reuse the packaging
Include relevant certification labels or icons in alignment with your certification scheme’s license and guidelines.
- Don’t have certifications for your packaging? That’s okay. You don’t need them to make consistent progress toward sustainability innovation. Learn how to make progress without certifying: Guide to Sustainability Certifications
- Interested in certifications and what they mean? View our Library of Sustainability Certifications 2022
Share specific recycled and post-consumer waste content percentages.
Many people dislike stating specific sustainability tech specs of their product if it’s made with relatively low levels of recycled content or PCW. Instead of saying the actual percentage, they will use a generic phrase like “made with recycled materials.” We highly recommend not being purposefully vague. By being transparent with consumers about the amount of recycled content included, you build trust with them, and your transparency may set you apart in your industry.
If you are actively working to increase the amount of recycled content in your products and thus don’t want to print the percentages onto the packaging knowing they will change in the near future and require new printing plates or setup costs, consider using a QR Code. Invite customers to scan the QR code to learn the sustainability specs of the product and packaging. You’ll be able to create and update a webpage dedicated to this information much more swiftly and at little-no cost, compared to reprinting product packaging.
EcoEnclose Sustainability Icons
As you explore EcoEnclose’s packaging options; you’ll see a lot of sustainability terms - recycled content, post-consumer waste, water-based inks, circular, etc. While these terms are second nature to us, they may be unclear to those new to sustainable packaging. Unfortunately, the terms aren’t always used the same way by different people.
Read our detailed Definition of Sustainable Packaging Terms to learn more about the eco features we design for and why they are so important.