17 Biodegradable Packaging Materials to Make Your Business Eco-friendly

by Stanley


Every business has a social responsibility to save the environment. As mother Earth is getting contaminated at a fast pace, it is high time for businesses to set the direction right before it is too late.

Most end-users have no idea how to deal with hazardous packaging. They may not complain about it but they also have a sense of environmental responsibility in their subconscious. So, the best is to send them a product in eco-friendly or recycled packaging. 

In this article, we will walk you through the list of biodegradable packaging materials that will help you choose the right packaging for your company. 

Let’s start.

What Are Biodegradable Packaging Materials?

Biodegradable packaging materials refer to packaging materials that decompose easily. It will be naturally recycled after being dumped.

In contrast, hazardous packaging materials like plastic, polymer, and bubble wrap have put the environment in serious trouble over the span of the last few decades.

That’s why the need to use biodegradable packaging materials arose and companies have started looking for alternatives. 

If your company also has environment-friendly goals, the following list of biodegradable packaging materials would help you achieve it. 

Common Biodegradable Raw Materials

Before we start discussing different biodegradable packaging materials, let’s first know about some of the most commonly used raw materials used to manufacture them. 

They are listed below. 

  • Paper 
  • Starch
  • Wheat
  • Gelatin 
  • Cellulose 
  • Wooden extracts 
  • Recycled cardboard
  • Food and agricultural waste 
  • Biodegradable plastic 

Biodegradable Packaging Materials

Let’s look at some of the commonly used sustainable packaging materials that easily decompose. 

1. Corrugated Paper Cardboard

It is one of the most widely used types of packaging materials. If you are into e-commerce or receive online orders, you are most probably familiar with corrugated cardboard boxes. 

Corrugated Paper Cardboard

This packaging is not only environment-friendly but also serves the packaging purpose very well. It is also very cost-effective, making it one of the most favorite packaging materials. 

2. Paper Fills and Strips

You must have noticed some colorful paper strips inside the packaging while receiving parcels. They are easily biodegradable materials. 

Paper Fills and Strips

These strips provide a cushioning effect to the product inside the packaging. This material can fill up the packaging boxes or wrap the product for increased protection. 

3. Organic Straw Packaging Material 

Straw packaging material comes from organic wastes like paper and starch. It is one of the safest eco-friendly packaging options to manufacture different types of sustainable packaging. 

Organic Straw Packaging Material

Apart from being a part of the packaging itself, it is also used to fill up the packaging to protect the product. It is also very cost-effective as it comes from natural waste. 

4. Breathable Yurt Packaging 

Yurt is one of the most environment-friendly packaging materials. It is made up of organic materials like animal wool.  Many companies use it as a packaging bag. 

Breathable Yurt Packaging

The word “Yurt” comes from the Mongolian tradition where they used to make tents from natural substances. It is made of natural wool from sheep and goats, etc., so it is not hard for the environment to decompose it. 

5. Linen Sack Packaging Material 

Linen sack is a blessing for the environment. It is not only biodegradable but compostable too. The packaging made of linen sack is breathable hence keeping the product fresh. 

Linen Sack Material

You can use this packaging in any form. It is foldable and can also be used as a bag. It is also used as a raw material for manufacturing other types of eco-friendly packaging. 

6. Paper Straw Material 

Paper straw is a finer form of paper. This material is mostly food grade and is also used to manufacture environment-friendly straws for drinking. It is also used as a raw material for manufacturing finished packaging. 

Paper Straw Material

It can be used to manufacture corrugated boxes and also for wrapping or filling up the extra spaces inside the packaging. If you grab this material in its final shape, you can safely use it for food packaging. 

7. Foam Packaging Material 

Foam is made up of different materials including plastics and polyesters. Eco-friendly foam is made of sustainable materials like corn. This turns out to be an important eco-friendly packaging material. 

Foam Packaging Material

It is not only biodegradable but you can also customize the shape as you like. So, it can be the best choice for businesses that want custom packaging

8. Wood Wool Material 

You must have noticed some wasted wood at woodworking places. It is also called sawdust. These fine pieces of wood serve as great eco-friendly packaging materials. 

Wood Wool Material

This material is used to make some of the best e-commerce packaging that is sustainable and biodegradable. As wood is a natural substance produced by the earth, it is easy for the soil to digest it. 

9. Plain Paper Material 

Paper is one of the finest saviors of the environment. That’s why you will find different types of packaging that use paper in one form or the other. 

Plain Paper Material

If you have a light product to pack, you will have to wrap it in a presentable way so your customers can tear it to see the products. 

10. Simple Fabric Material 

Fabric or textile clothing can be used as the main or supporting material for packaging. It is one of the most favorite biodegradable materials. 

Simple Fabric Material

The best part about fabric is that it is very cost-effective. You can have a fabric roll and cut the required pieces to wrap your products. Apart from that, it is also a part of the raw materials to manufacture mainstream packaging. 

11. Bast Packaging Material 

Bast is extracted from the inner sides of trees. So, they belong to the wood family. As we mentioned earlier, wood is one of the best eco-friendly materials. So, it is a great option to use wasted bast for packaging. 

Bast Packaging biodegradable packaging materials

Raw bast materials can have a softer feel but they are fibrous, make them tough and long-lasting. Of course, don’t cut down trees to make them. Otherwise, it would be like harming the environment to save it. 

12. Processed Fabric Material 

Fabric is also used in multiple forms to shape itself into beautiful and delicate packaging material. It can be rolled over the product or to make strings to attach around your packaging. 

Processed Fabric

The processed fabric is easier to decompose than other forms of fabric. So, you can have this simple solution to support your eco-friendly affirmations. This type of fabric is also available in bulk quantity so you can use it as per your needs. 

13. Paper Wastes 

Paper is not only used to make packaging boxes. It also serves as the filling material inside the boxes to keep the product from moving around. 

Paper Wastes

You don’t need to worry if the end-user will throw paper waste in the trash because it is easily recyclable. 

14. Mushroom Packaging Material 

Mushroom material comes from agricultural waste. This material can be a mix of multiple wastes from crops like wheat, corn, cotton, etc. 

Mushroom Material

As it is already a natural waste, it makes great eco-friendly packaging. It decomposes very easily and it also serves as a fertilizer. So, it is even more beneficial for the environment. 

15. Air Pillow Packaging Material

Air pillows are probably the best alternatives for plastic bubble wraps. They are made of high-density polyethylene which is easily biodegradable and considered safe for the environment. 

Air Pillow Packaging Material

If you have air pillow material in a presentable form, you can also use it as a standalone packaging material. You can just cover your product with them and your product will be ready for shipment. Your customers may also like it because of its uniqueness and friendliness to the environment. 

16. Corn Starch Packaging Material

We all love corn. It even helps us save the environment by providing cornstarch packaging. It is made of corn waste and serves as an excellent eco-friendly packaging material. 

Corn Starch Packaging

The raw corn starch is processed into fine packaging boxes and filler materials. So, if you get a hold of packaging made up of corn starch, don’t lose it because it also makes the soil more fertile. 

17. Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

These peanut-shaped packaging materials are mostly used as packing fillers to support and protect your products inside the box. These are essentially made to quickly biodegrade as soon as they enter the environment. 

Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

They are made of organic materials or natural wastes like starch and wheat. They also easily dissolve in water without contaminating it. 

FAQs about Biodegradable Packaging Materials

Let’s look at the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about biodegradable packaging materials for better understanding. 

How Fast Should a Biodegradable Packaging Material Decompose?

Good biodegradable packaging materials take up to 6 months to decompose. But some materials take longer to decompose. For example, bioplastics can take a year to fully decompose.

Are Biodegradable and Compostable Materials the Same?

No. Biodegradable and compostable materials are largely related to each other but they are different. 

A biodegradable material means that it will break into pieces and will dissolve or decay in the earth easily. 

A compostable material goes a step further. It will not only decompose but will also help the environment by serving as a fertilizer in the long run. So, a compostable material will help grow plants and trees. 

What Materials Are Hard to Decompose?

You may still have been receiving your groceries in plastic bags or your online orders wrapped in plastic packaging. Plastic is considered one of the most harmful materials to the environment. 

The following materials are considered hard to decompose. 

  • Polystyrene
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Polythene
  • Plastic
  • Styrofoam 
  • Tins
  • Aluminum 

So, you should avoid using the above-mentioned materials to save the environment. These materials are not fully biodegradable. They may make a great packaging but it will be hard to recycle them. 

Final Words

So, are you ready to save the world? Or just to add your share by doing what you can? You can at least consider using biodegradable packaging materials if you are into a business that involves packing your products. 

This will not only increase your value in the eyes of your customers but will also give you inner satisfaction for running a socially responsible business. Sometimes, such ethical values also help you generate more profits. You just have to do what is right. 

If you prefer biodegradable packaging and want to source packaging from the best suppliers, we recommend you ask for a free quote. We will help you source high-quality eco-friendly packaging at the most affordable prices from China. 

About the Author

stanley nieh ceo


Over 10 years of experience in foreign trade
Helped 2k+ clients improve their eCommerce businesses

Leave a Comment

Now you have a better way of product sourcing

Ready to have the world’s factory at your fingertips? Try us and level up your business now.