Product Branding

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12+ Best Sustainable Packaging Trends and Materials in 2023

by Stanley

12+ BEST SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING TRENDS AND MATERIALS

The world focuses more on sustainability, with a swift increase in awareness about environmental protection every year. This is a year when sustainability may play a pivotal role in the success of a business. 

Therefore, businesses are more inclined towards adopting greener ideas with a special focus on packaging. With packaging being one of the most noticeable business aspects, a shift towards sustainable packaging would be wise. 

This article has brought the top sustainable packaging trends in 2023 and beyond. You will learn a brief introduction to every trend and how to benefit from it in your business. 

Let’s start. 

1. Corrugated Paper Boxes 

Corrugated Box Packaging

You may have seen corrugated paper boxes in e-commerce deliveries. Using these boxes is a top trend in the packaging industry and is likely to grow more in the future. 

Corrugated paper boxes are made of eco-friendly materials such as cardboard, stone paper, bamboo paper, paper pulp, etc.

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • These boxes come in innovative designs to impress your customers. 
  • You can also use branded boxes to promote your business. 
  • Ideal for placing multiple products inside. 
  • Accommodates products of different shapes and sizes. 

2. Sustainable Paper Bags

Sustainable Paper Bags

Smart businesses have also started delivering their products in paper bags. Be it a supermarket or an online store, you will see these paper bags almost everywhere. 

These bags decompose easily and do not harm the environment. So, they are also trending on top for sustainable packaging. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • Increase sustainability awareness using these small paper boxes.
  • Save on shipping costs with this lightweight packaging. 
  • Make use of good sealing options to keep your product intact. 

3. Sustainable Mailers 

Paper Mailers

Packing products in a sustainable mailer is one of the latest and most effective packaging trends. These mailers are not only sustainable but are also visually appealing. 

Most mailers are made of paper or any other eco-friendly material. You may also find mailers in sustainable plastic or recycled plastic. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • Efficiently pack your products using less space.
  • Use custom-printed mailers to promote your business. 
  • Use catchy designs to leave a positive impact on your customers. 

4. Minimal Packaging 

Minimal Packaging

Sustainability is about using less or harming the environment as little as possible. So, responsible businesses have shifted to using minimal packaging. 

This packaging trend utilizes as little packaging material as possible to avoid the harmful effects of packaging. Most minimal packaging keeps products exposed to the external environment so they stay fresh. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • A standard minimal packaging can be used multiple times for multiple products. 
  • You can use it to pack food items so they remain fresh for a long time. 
  • Your customers may also use this packaging for keeping other things, making them remember your business. 

6. Biodegradable Packaging 

Biodegradable Packaging

Biodegradable packaging refers to the type of packaging that is made of materials that degrade easily into the environment. Both biodegradable and sustainable packaging go hand in hand. 

Biodegradable packaging can come in any form, size, or shape, including plastics too. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • Include a message about the packaging being “biodegradable” inside the packaging to deliver the value along with the product. 
  • Make your customers realize how much you care about sustainability. 
  • Make use of multiple options in biodegradable materials. 

7. Compostable Packaging 

Compostable Packaging

Compostable packaging goes a step further than biodegradable packaging. While biodegradable only decomposes in the environment, compostable packaging may even help the environment recover and improve its sustainability. 

Just indicate the compostable nature of your packaging, and you will easily elevate your business’ respect in the long run. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • Include your business in the mainstream packaging industry by using these boxes. 
  • Use standard boxes to cut your packaging costs.
  • Buy this packaging in bulk quantities to get the best prices. 

8. Seed Packaging 

Seed Bags sustainable packaging trends

The most striking example of sustainable packaging is using seed bags. These bags can be made of degradable paper with plantable seeds infused inside them. 

When a user throws the bag, the seeds naturally grow in that area with the right environmental conditions. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • You can sell your products at a premium price using these amazing seed bags. 
  • Knock out your competition by winning your customers’ hearts.
  • You can also include your brand’s name on the seed packaging to attract more customers.  

9. Recyclable Packaging 

Recyclable Packaging

Recyclable packaging is made of recyclable material. The most common recyclable materials are cardboard, paper pieces, and waste from food, vegetable, plants, etc. 

Packaging made of recyclable material is environment-friendly and easily degrades in less time. Some recyclable packaging made of recyclable material like plastics is re-processed to be used again. That’s why people also call it reusable packaging. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • Educate your customers about throwing these packaging at the right places. 
  • The special concerns of your business about sustainability will relate your audience’s emotions to your business. 
  • You can decrease your packaging costs as recyclable packaging is not expensive. 

10. Fabric Packaging 

Fabric Packaging

The trend of using fabric to pack products has been gaining momentum recently. Although this packaging is not widely adopted in the packaging industry yet, it is still one of the most efficient sustainable packaging methods.

Most fabric packaging is breathable, so the products inside the packaging stay fresh. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • Use branded fabrics to promote your brand. 
  • The sealing knot at the top of the fabric packaging makes it usable repeatedly. 
  • Your customers trust your business mechanisms. 
  • One standard-size packaging can fit every kind of product inside. 

11. Glass Packaging

Glass Packaging

Glass packaging is another trending packaging design. Some products need to be visible even if packed inside glass packaging. This packaging mostly comes in a transparent form. 

Adopting this packaging may cost you a little more, but your customers will love it. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • List the importance of using glass packaging on your website. 
  • Explain how difficult it was to arrange the glass packaging to get your customers’ attention. 
  • Your customers can use this packaging in their homes too. 

12. Jute Bags

Jute Bag

Jute bag is made from the extracts of a jute plant. It is durable, strong, and eco-friendly. Packaging bags made from jute are highly popular and trending in sustainable packaging trends. 

The bag looks like it is made of fabric and is used to carry food and other stuff. It is also used in e-commerce business. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • Use these bags as a medium to promote your business as highly responsible for sustainability. 
  • Use innovative designs of these bags to outperform your competition. 

New Sustainable Packaging Materials

Let’s look into some of the most important trends in packaging solutions to ensure sustainability. Most of them are recyclable materials and are organic and environmentally friendly. 

1. Cornstarch 

Using cornstarch in designing packaging material has been an upward trend for the last few years. You would mostly see food brands using this type of packaging material. 

It is made of natural corn or maize waste and is safely biodegradable. So, you may consider using this sustainable packaging trend for your business. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • You can earn customers’ attention by stating that your business uses eco-friendly packaging. 
  • You can save costs by using this sustainable yet cost-competitive packaging solution. 
  • It is ideal for packing food-grade items. 

2. Cellulose-based Materials 

Cellulose is a type of polymer used to make sustainable plastic. This material is made from wood, pulp, hemp, and plant extracts. So, it turns out to be fully biodegradable. 

A few biodegradable materials leave some amount of toxicity in the environment. Cellulose materials are purely non-toxic, hence promoting better sustainability. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • Being a relatively inexpensive material, it can reduce your packaging costs. 
  • In addition to being sustainable, the packaging made of cellulose materials is also strong enough to hold heavier items. 

3. Mushrooms 

Mushrooms are made of mycelium, which is abundant in agricultural areas. It is one of the most important agricultural wastes that serves as a raw material for sustainable packaging. 

Since it is an organic substance, it decomposes fully within a few days. Mushrooms make plastic packaging and provide a cushioning effect to the product inside the packaging. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • Mushrooms make beautiful packaging inserts that are lightweight and cost-effective. 
  • You can use them to replace other non-biodegradable fillers in your packaging.
  • They are clean and unharmful, so your customers would appreciate them inside the delivery boxes. 
  • They help keep your products intact and help prevent the de-shaping of the products. 

4. Paper Fillers

Paper waste is also used inside the packaging to ensure the safety of the products. Instead of using other fillers that may incur additional costs to your packaging, you can use paper to replace them. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • You can save costs by using paper waste. 
  • Using colorful paper may also increase the packaging’s appearance. 
  • Great step towards avoiding negative environmental impacts. 

5. Sustainable Ink 

Printing on the packaging is often ignored when discussing sustainability. Harmful printing also plays a role in hurting the environment. So, using sustainable ink is the latest trend to protect the environment. 

Common sustainable inks include water-based, algae, UV, and vegetable inks. 

How to Benefit from This Trend?

  • You can inform your customers about how you take each step to ensure lesser carbon footprints. 
  • Going to this extent to achieve your sustainable goals will earn you loyal customers. 
  • There is a high chance that you may increase your product’s costs by introducing such high standards and earn more profits. 

FAQs about Sustainable Packaging Trends in 2023

Let’s look at the questions and answers about sustainable packaging trends to help you get ahead of your competition. 

What Is the Difference between Sustainable and Compostable Packaging?

Sustainable packaging refers to the type of packaging that is not harmful to the environment. The environment will be more sustainable if the packaging materials don’t disturb nature. 

Compostable packaging goes beyond sustainable packaging. It helps make the earth more fertile and hence helps recover the harm that has already been done to the environment. 

What Are the Common Packaging Trends That Are Not Sustainable?

Many packaging trends that are very harmful to the environment are still in use and hence are not sustainable. Some of them are listed below. 

  • Plastic packaging, especially the one made with toxic chemicals. 
  • Bubble wrap
  • Aluminum foil 
  • Styrofoam 
  • Non-biodegradable glass

Is It Expensive to Use Sustainable Packaging?

No. Using sustainable packaging doesn’t have to be expensive. While there are a few expensive packaging solutions for sustainability, you will find many cheap and cost-effective solutions too. 

For example, using paper boxes or flyers is not an expensive packaging solution to ensure sustainability. Moreover, the costs plunge if you buy them in bulk quantities. 

It is more about awareness and taking the initiative rather than costs contributing to sustainability. 

Final Words

Packaging is an integral part of the supply chain. Therefore, packaging products with care is of utmost importance. But at the same time, every business has a social responsibility to protect the environment just like it protects its products. 

The latest sustainable packaging trends discussed in this article will help you get key takeaways to do your part. Make sure you use the best sustainable packaging while remaining competitive and profitable. 

If you want to source the best sustainable packaging for your business, we can help you. Ask for a free quote today and play your part in sustainability by sourcing the best packaging at affordable prices. 

About the Author

stanley nieh ceo

Stanley​

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

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