How to Make Packaging More Eco-friendly. A guide step by step

26 Aug 2021

One of Essentra Packaging’s goals is to build for the future, responsibly. Our commitment to the environment has fueled the advancement of our sustainability agenda, which reflects on how we manufacture our packaging solutions.

In this article, you will read about some of the steps we have taken to ensure our products are as sustainable as possible, and thus do our part to safeguard natural resources. Find out how to make your packaging more environmentally friendly, from reducing waste to changing your designs, and help look after the planet.

Step 1: Where are your natural resources coming from?

In order to manufacture our wide range of packaging solutions, we require natural resources such as paper, cardboard and wood, all of which originate in the forest. According to WWF, 31% of our planet is covered in forests and woodlands, areas that are currently under threat, and vulnerable to deforestation if they are not looked after properly. 

However, how can the origin and management of natural resources be monitored? At Essentra Packaging, we have  PEFC® 14-35-00165 certification and FSC® C016627 which mean we can trust in the responsible resource management of our certified paper and cardboard providers. If you are searching for a way to become more eco-friendly, ensuring you are producing using responsibly-sourced raw materials is definitely a good place to start.

Step 2: Study how to reduce your environmental impact

Next, you may want to ascertain the impact manufacturing processes have on the environment, and tip them towards sustainability. In our case, this means producing effective packaging for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries by searching for new ways to optimise production lines, increasing process efficiency and improving product transportation, while also supporting environmental initiatives. There are several ways to reduce our environmental impact, we have compiled a list with several options:

- Carbon footprint reduction

One of Essentra Packaging’s environmental targets is to become carbon neutral by the year 2040. To do so, we have undertaken several measures that will accelerate the reduction of our Greenhouse Gas emissions. The programme we have outlined to help us achieve this goal is comprised by a multitude of initiatives, including:

  • Improving energy efficiency with site energy audits.

  • Procurement of renewable electricity.

  • Installation of local energy generation on our sites, such as solar PV.

  • Developing and adopting innovative and energy-efficient projects.

Additionally, to support you in your sustainability projects, we can help optimise your packaging, for instance, by reducing its size, which will lead to the reduction of overall carbon emissions. We can provide you with different solutions such as folding cartons, leaflets or labels that could be shipped together —depending on product availability— to your nearest factory from one of our numerous facilities across the globe, resulting not only in the reduction of the carbon footprint linked to transport, but also, of its cost.

- Work on your waste

Unfortunately, waste is a consequence of manufacturing processes, but at Essentra Packaging, we have been devoting considerable efforts towards reducing ours, increasing the number of facilities with Zero Waste to Landfill status from 8 in 2019, to 20 in 2020; our goal is to achieve that ZWTL status in all our sites by 2030. Even though we have already achieved some results in this area, sustainability is always a work in progress, therefore, we are continuously looking for new ways to reduce our impact on the environment while delivering the very best solutions to our clients. 

- Update to recyclable packaging

The creation and manufacture of recyclable packaging will make a great impact in your processes, despite possible drawbacks at first, but it will help you achieve your environmental targets long-term. Some of the guidelines you can follow to create recyclable packaging are:

  • Any non-recyclable elements in the packaging should be removable.

  • Inks and varnishes used in the packaging should be registered under REACH

  • Avoid using moisture-resistant materials.

  • Consider using post-consumer recycled materials.

  • Encourage customers to recycle the packaging after its use.

- Use alternatives to plastic

According to the European Commission, almost 26 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated in Europe every year; a serious circumstance that might prompt the development of more sustainability agendas among manufacturers. At Essentra Packaging we fully understand the risk of single use plastic under the ESG principal risk.

In order to reduce the use of plastic, there are alternative solutions, such as cardboard inlays/trays to protect your product. This option is not only sustainable; it also has tax, logistics and space optimisation advantages. Furthermore, there are various eco-friendly packaging solutions that use alternative materials, such as virgin fibre, by-products, metallic laminated boards, Kraft paper, etc. that can be tailored to your product’s needs. 

Step 3: Sustainability can be as simple as good design

Last, but not least, we opted for eco-design in our products. This solution is not only about appearance: eco-friendly packaging is designed to reduce its environmental impact, so you can achieve sustainability goals without affecting the packaging’s performance and safety. Eco-design brings several of the previous concepts together such as using renewable and recyclable materials that are sourced responsibly and reducing emissions.

Essentra Packaging supports your change

According to the targets set by the European Commission’s Packaging Directive, eco-friendly packaging will be the way forward for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors, which means adapting your current solutions is definitely worth the effort. At Essentra Packaging we have the means to support your change towards a sustainable future by offering solutions tailored to your requirements each step of the way. We have the tools to find alternative materials for cosmetics or pharmaceutical packaging, facilities to ship from across the globe, and designs to help you achieve your environmental targets.

If you are searching for a packaging manufacturer that shares your commitment to the planet, don’t hesitate to contact us at Essentra Packaging, and one of our experts will be delighted to provide you with more information on the eco-friendly solutions that best fit your needs.