For many years, misconceptions about eco-friendly packaging have left brands feeling pressured to walk the line between aesthetically pleasing branding and sustainable packaging. However, the two have long been synonymous and are finally getting the attention they deserve, meaning the task of finding eye-catching & eco-friendly design solutions is literally at your fingertips. Keep reading for a complete guide to sustainable branding.

It’s all substance.

That’s right folks, it’s all in the materials (surprise, surprise). The name of the game when it comes to packaging is recyclable, reusable and biodegradable. Choosing the right material for your product is half the battle. Instead of virgin single-use plastics, opt for previously recycled materials like aluminum oe PCR (post consumer recycled) plastics. Each of these materials can be significantly more sustainable. Check out REN Skincare, a leader in sustainable packaging on track to fulfill their zero waste pledge by the end of 2021.

Refill & Reuse.

The newest wave in sustainability is refillable product packaging. Offering packaging that can be reused is great, but take it one step further by offering your product as refills. Need inspiration? Check out Grove Collaborative! They offer a variety of household products in glass containers and provide refills in eco-friendly, recyclable packaging. Instead of throwing away dozens of single use plastic containers, you simply refill your glass containers and recycle the rest. Not only are their products non-toxic and sustainable, they’re killing it in the refillable packaging game!

Don’t Overdo It.

Believe it or not, many brands nail it with choosing the right materials for their primary packaging, but miss the mark with the amount or type of secondary and tertiary packaging they’re using. Inefficient packaging is a huge contributor to unnecessary waste and only serves to increase our environmental impact. Focus your energies on finding lightweight packaging solutions that use less material. Assessing a pack's material efficiency is key to understanding its overall sustainability profile. Brands should opt for packs that rank in the top 25% of pack weights amongst those with the same material and fill capacity. Need help? Impacked’s platform can do all the legwork and help you find the best solution.

Make it cute.

Design is where you really make your product come to life! With modern technology and a wide variety of affordable and accessible design services, branding has never been easier. Playing it safe? Stick with a minimalist concept; you can never go wrong with simple colors and clean lines. Want a bit of flare? Keep color, texture, consistency and longevity in mind. And finally, remember that your design choices must work with your materials. Traditionally, brands have avoided recycled product packaging because of the visual impact (recycled plastics tend to have a greyish tint vs virgin plastics). However, creativity is lending its hand, inspiring brands to work with recycled materials in new ways without compromising aesthetic. Ensuring that your packaging materials can accommodate your design processes is key and will seriously benefit your brand in the long run. If there’s ever a time to consult with your supplier, this is it. Need some inspo? Check out Love Beauty and Planet’s product line packaged in 100% PCR plastic, with branding that’ll have you swooning.

Ultimately, the real test in pursuing low-waste, eco-friendly packaging is your willingness to commit. Inevitably, there will always be materials that are cheaper, more accessible and easier to work with. Resist the temptation! Remember that product packaging and branding is a reflection of your companies priorities and values; thus, making the right choice is essential to meeting the needs of today’s consumers. Opting for sustainability benefits us all!