If environmentally friendly packaging is something that intrigues you, join the club! More and more brands are beginning to recognize the importance and benefits of using this type of packaging and going green in the process. By setting strong company values and priorities, you’re setting yourself apart from the competition and scoring major brownie points with eco-friendly consumers—a group that seems to be growing exponentially in recent years! 

Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to choose the right environmentally friendly packaging for your brand and specific products. Also, if you have an online business, check out this eCommerce-ready packaging options.

What Is Environmentally Friendly Packaging?

Environmentally friendly packaging has been taking over the world by storm—but what is it exactly? Environmentally friendly packaging refers to any type of packaging that’s easily recyclable or biodegradable, safe for individuals, and is made out of recycled materials. 

That being said, environmentally friendly packaging doesn’t simply refer to the packaging materials but also the manufacturing process in that it doesn’t produce tons of unnecessary electricity or greenhouse gas emissions that can end up harming our ozone layer. Finally, environmentally friendly packaging aims to eliminate unnecessary packaging components and just focus on the basics—while still being an effective way to ship a variety of different products. 

Why Use Environmentally Friendly Packaging?

All that being said, you may be wondering why you should even consider using environmentally friendly packaging. Perhaps it seems like a hassle that you’d rather not deal with. However, there are tons of benefits of using environmentally friendly packaging that go beyond trying to save the planet. For example, consumers these days are more environmentally-conscious than ever before—this is especially true when it comes to younger generations such as millennials

As a result, these consumers are going to want to buy from companies that share their same values in terms of reducing waste and emissions. So going green with your packaging won’t just make your heart feel good by saving the planet, but it can also make your pockets feel good by attracting more customers and increasing your sales as a result of your dedication to this important cause. 

Environmentally Friendly Packaging Materials

Many people assume that environmentally friendly packaging materials have to be weak, expensive, and just plain ugly. In reality, that’s not the case at all. In fact, there’s a wide variety of different environmentally friendly packaging materials that you can use depending on your brand and products. Here are just a few of the options that may surprise you as they may be similar to what you’re already using:

  • Paper: Paper packaging is a great environmentally friendly option since it’s reusable, recyclable, and biodegradable. Paper packaging is especially common in the brick-and-mortar retail sphere and can be used to package all sorts of things due to its versatility. 
  • Cardboard: Cardboard packaging is another great environmentally friendly option that’s also recyclable and biodegradable in most cases. Cardboard packaging, especially corrugated cardboard, is ideal for shipping items that may need some extra protection and insulation throughout their journey. That being said, be sure to use non-laminated cardboard for a truly environmentally friendly option as this type decomposes relatively easily. 
  • Glass: Glass packaging is a quality environmentally friendly option that’s 100% recyclable and reusable. Glass is a great option as it can be infinitely recycled and turned into new quality products each and every time. This option is especially popular within the food and beverage spheres and can also help give products a higher-end feel that will appeal to consumers who are looking for higher-end products while still being environmentally conscious. 
  • Environmentally friendly plastics: Many people assume that any and all plastics aren’t able to be recycled—however, that’s not necessarily the case! Plastic gets a bad rap because a lot of it cannot be recycled and ends up creating a ton of unnecessary waste. 
    That being said, there are some types of plastics that are environmentally friendly, including plant-based plastics and post-consumer plastics. Both of these options are way better than regular plastic that cannot be reused or recycled and instead ends up in landfills, or worse—the ocean. 
  • Biodegradable packing peanuts: Say goodbye to the traditional styrofoam packing peanuts that are definitely not environmentally friendly in favor of biodegradable packing peanuts that are made with natural substances such as starch and wheat! Biodegradable packing peanuts are a great way to protect your products while simultaneously protecting the environment. 
  • Corrugated bubble wrap: Traditional plastic bubble wrap is another thing that you should say goodbye to if you’re looking to totally embrace environmentally friendly packaging. Instead, try corrugated bubble wrap that’s made out of recyclable cardboard that’s scored to create a cushioning surface to protect all your fragile products. 
  • Organic fabrics: Finally, organic fabrics are a great alternative to plastic bags and containers. Organic fabrics are made by using biodegradable plant materials that can be just as sturdy and durable as your typical plastic bags and containers. This is a great packaging option to utilize as your customer can reuse it and show off your brand in the process! 

How To Design Environmentally Friendly Packaging?

All that being said, it’s a common misconception that environmentally friendly packaging cannot be pretty or even high-quality. In fact, with the proper design, it’s totally possible for environmentally friendly packaging to be just as eye-catching as any other type of packaging—so long as you design it properly. But how exactly do you go about designing environmentally friendly packaging? It’s really easier than it looks with the right strategy, effort, and expertise:

  • Consider your existing branded materials—including logos, designs, patterns, etc. to include in your packaging for a cohesive and eye-catching look.
  • Consider your products and what types of packaging they may require based on fragility, storage considerations, shipping processes, etc. 
  • Consider your customer and what types of environmentally friendly packaging they may want to see from you. For example, would they want something that they can reuse again and again? 
  • Consider your budget and how much money you’d like to spend on your packaging as a whole. 

From there, you can settle on your packaging type, components, and overall design. That being said, one way to streamline this process and get the best results is by consulting the experts at companies like Box Genie. Box Genie, for example, has almost 50 years of experience in this space and are able to help you find environmentally friendly packaging solutions for each one of your products. 

Environmentally Friendly Packaging Ideas And Inspiration

With all this information, you may need some additional inspiration in order to visualize and imagine what environmentally friendly packaging could look like for your brand. We can talk all day about different types of cardboard, glass, and plastic, but what really matters is how it looks and works. So here are some environmentally friendly packaging ideas and inspiration that both you and your customers will love:

  • Custom corrugated cardboard mailer box: If you have to ship your products all over the place, this custom mailer box is a great choice that features different colors, patterns, paper types, sizes, and printing options. 
  • Canvas tote bag: An amazing alternative to the wasteful plastic bag is the canvas tote bag. This is something that your customers will use again and again. You will thank them for the free advertisement, and they will thank you for the handy bag! 
  • Eco-pouch packaging: This type of packaging is ideal for those with lighter items that may not need a whole lot of protection. These packages are totally biodegradable and environmentally friendly. 

How To Recycle Different Types Of Packaging Materials?

What good is using environmentally friendly packaging if you don’t know how to properly recycle it? For example, all cardboard boxes need to be flattened, and all tape and labels need to be removed prior to recycling. Clean shipping materials can usually be brought to your local post office to be reused—or you can reuse them yourself! Finally, traditional plastic shipping bags can be recycled along with your regular plastic grocery bags. 

Final Thoughts On Environmentally Friendly Packaging

As you can see, environmentally friendly packaging is a solid option for companies looking to go green and help the environment in any way they can. Not only does this help reduce your carbon footprint, but it can actually attract customers who have the same values. With the right product options and design from companies like Box Genie, you won’t have to sacrifice appearance or quality for ethics. 



  1. https://www.smallbusinessbonfire.com/eco-friendly-packaging/
  2. https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2018/12/millennials-drive-big-growth-in-sustainable.html?page=all
  3. https://www.foodbev.com/news/75-of-consumers-see-glass-as-most-eco-friendly-packaging/

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