Customer trends towards eco-friendly packaging and paper products are gaining momentum, with Millennials and Gen Zs leading the way. Recent surveys indicate 78% of U.S. consumers say a sustainable lifestyle is important to them.
More than 60% of respondents said they’d pay more for a product with sustainable packaging. A separate survey showed 77% of respondents said plastic was the least environmentally friendly packaging material, while paper products were considered the most ecologically friendly by 55% of respondents.
As Millennials and Gen Zs are poised to become the nation’s biggest spenders, businesses have an increasing incentive to meet customer demand by introducing eco-friendly packaging options that are sustainable and efficient for your business.
Why is sustainability important to consumers?
Research shows the three primary reasons consumers value sustainability include a desire to help the environment, decreasing production waste, and reducing their carbon footprint.
Are Paper Products Sustainable?
Inaccurate and misleading criticisms about using paper products have driven common misconceptions among the general public, primarily that using paper is wasteful. For example, deforestation is often blamed on the increased use of paper and paper products.
Contrary to popular belief, sustainable practices are the foundation of the paper products industry. The increased demand for sustainably sourced paper products only provides a financial incentive for continued responsible harvesting and planting practices.
Paper products are sustainably sourced, and paper is the country’s most recycled material. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Approximately 46 million tons of paper and paperboard were recycled in 2018 for a recycling rate of 68.2%, which was the highest compared to other materials.”
Choosing Sustainable Packaging: Incorporating Paper Products
What could choosing sustainable packaging say about your business? Incorporating eco-friendly packaging shows your company is informed, responsible, and trustworthy. Customer satisfaction is one of many reasons businesses should seriously explore sustainable packaging solutions.
More and more jurisdictions across the United States have instituted bans and fees on plastics, including plastic bags, plastic carryout containers, single-use plastic straws, and polystyrene. While California passed the first statewide ban in 2014, eight states, including New York, Oregon, Hawaii, and Vermont, as well as hundreds of cities, have banned single-use plastics in recent years.
Research indicates 75% of consumers prefer brands that use paper packaging instead of plastic packaging and are more likely to purchase again from brands that ship sustainably. For brands, sustainable packaging can include several different types of packaging, such as:
- Recycled and Recyclable Packaging – Recyclable packaging includes paper bags, packaging made from corn starch, and biodegradable air peanuts. Businesses can also seek out packaging materials from post-consumer or post-industrial recycled materials.
- Compostable Packaging – Compostable packaging is packaging capable of disintegrating into natural elements in a compost environment, typically within about 90 days, and once disintegrated, this packaging leaves no toxicity in the soil.
- Dual-use Packaging – Dual-use packaging refers to packaging that serves an additional purpose, such as doubling as a greeting card, or can be broken off into smaller containers for those on the go.
Sustainable Promotional Products for Your Business
Businesses can highlight their commitment to sustainability by choosing promotional products such as reusable straws, bags, and drinkware. These environmentally-friendly products always stay in style:
- Straws – With more and more businesses phasing out plastic straws, reusable straws are becoming a top promotional item. There are various reusable straws, including stainless steel straws, silicone straws, and straws made of wheat straw. Many of these straws come with a cleaning brush and case, making them easily transported.
- Bags – Highly useful and functional, reusable bags are something practically everyone can find helpful. From daily errands to special events, a reusable bag is convenient for carrying extra or unexpected items. There are several kinds of reusable bags a company can choose from, including tote bags, cotton bags, non-woven bags, and drawstring bags that can all be imprinted with a brand name, logo, or message.
- Drinkware – Branded drinkware is always useful, allowing users to replace disposable, single-use bottles and cups with eco-friendly reusable items that can last for years. Branded drinkware options suit any style, from break room coffee mugs to workout favorite water bottles.
Consumer demand for sustainability is increasing. At Safeguard, we know picking the right promotional products can be a great marketing tool for your business, and we are here to help.
Your Safeguard Advisor has ideas, strategies, and solutions to help drive business success.
- More than 60% of U.S. consumers said they’d pay more for sustainable packaging products.
- Plastic is considered the least environmentally friendly packaging material, while paper products are the most environmentally friendly.
- Research shows the three primary reasons consumers value sustainability include a desire to help the environment, reducing production waste, and reducing their carbon footprint.
- Businesses can highlight their commitment to sustainability by choosing promotional products such as reusable straws, bags, and drinkware.
- A Safeguard Advisor can help you pick the promotional items for your business to make the greatest impact.