What are the most important environmental considerations when designing eco-friendly packaging?

While poor packaging design, toxic materials and disposable products can have a significantly negative ecological impact, the opposite is also true. Good packaging design, environmentally friendly materials and well-designed products go a long way to reducing pollution and maximizing resources. In general terms, sustainable packaging is simply packaging that is more sustainable or better for the environment. To determine if packaging is environmentally friendly or not, the best manufacturers of sustainable packaging will carry out a full life cycle assessment to determine the environmental impact of a product, not just what it's made of.

The key to designing environmentally friendly packaging lies in the raw materials and the energy used to create them. Whenever possible, try to use renewable resources so as not to exhaust scarce raw materials. Try to ensure that your raw materials are produced using sustainable and environmentally friendly processes. The rise of packaging from cradle to crib, the demand for biodegradable packaging materials, the desire of consumers for “intelligent” packaging, the rise of e-commerce and a minimalist aesthetic are factors that currently influence packaging design.

By definition, eco-friendly packaging is any packaging that is easy to recycle, safe for people and the environment, and that is made from recycled materials. However, designers have a responsibility to ensure that any packaging they use is environmentally friendly. An effective design makes your product stand out from the competition and arouses the interest of your customers. Now that you understand the essence of eco-friendly packaging and design, it's time to create one for your winning product.

See the next section, Steps to Creating Your Own Sustainability Priorities, for guidance on how to design environmentally friendly packaging and develop your company's sustainability framework. Depending on the tool being used for the LCA, the results may also cover other environmental impacts, including fossil fuel consumption and water consumption. There are several reasons why companies, inventors, and product designers would be interested in environmentally friendly design. Using reusable or recyclable shipping and packaging products, eliminating any unnecessary paper and plastic packaging materials and making efficient use of space are the key strategies for creating environmentally friendly packaging.

However, food packaging designs are improving, becoming more informative and safer, as well as being more environmentally friendly. They are a true activist company: a member of 1% For The Planet (which was launched by the founder of Patagonia), they support and finance grassroots environmental activists around the world, a workplace that strongly encourages employee activism and an active defender of nature through company-led campaigns and protests. For physical companies, packaging design is crucial, since it is what will determine the initial interaction of a potential customer with your product. The Autodesk Eco Materials Advisor is an excellent tool for designers and inventors that provides reliable data on the properties of environmental materials for their Autodesk Inventor model, allowing them to analyze the environmental impact directly in Autodesk.

Packaging manufacturers and companies have a very important role to play in spreading environmentally friendly packaging items.