The Positives of Paper

Are you producing products that need to be packaged? Are you considering doing so? Are you private-labeling products or considering the possibility? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should know that the substrate you choose for your packaging matters. After all, buyers are heavily influenced by them. Here are four reasons for choosing the most sustainable options:

  1. You get props for paper.

Overwhelmingly, paper and cardboard are preferred by consumers because of their sustainability. Specifically, buyers see paper-based substrates as better for the environment (66%) and easier to recycle (51%). But consumers also rate paper and paperboard tops for safety and ease of use. They also see paper as best for communicating product information and for creating a better brand image.

  1. There is a shift away from plastics.

Not only is there a preference for paper-based substrates, but there is a movement away from plastic. More than half (57%) of consumers surveyed are actively taking steps to reduce their use of plastic packaging. More than one-third (36%) would avoid retailers not actively trying to reduce their use of non-recyclable plastic packaging.

  1. Shipping matters.

Buyers’ preference for paper and cardboard extends to shipping, as well. More than half (57%) want their products to be delivered in paper packaging rather than plastic. Choose boxes with branded labels over envelopes and make sure that the box is fitted properly. Seventy percent of buyers prefer products to be delivered in packaging that is “right sized” for the product(s) inside.

  1. Environmental symbols matter, too.

Want to flex that you’re not only using highly sustainable packaging but purchasing from sustainable sources? Do it! Most buyers are familiar with at least one of the following environmental labels: Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), 54%; Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), 45%; and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), 42%. The well-known “recycling” symbol (“the Mobius Loop”) is recognized by 90% of consumers and is rated as being the most important.

The takeaways?

Emphasize paper and paperboard substrates, including for shipping, and don’t miss an opportunity to enviro-flex. Even if people know your packaging is recyclable, include all appropriate environmental labels. “Doing good” has always been good for business. Packaging is no exception.


Source: Data taken from “U.S. Packaging Preferences 2020” (Two Sides North America).

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