How E-Commerce Can Push the Sustainable Packaging Trend

The e-commerce trend also provides brands having new opportunities to adopt circular strategies that attract and appeal to a new generation of environmentally conscious consumers
How E-Commerce Can Push the Sustainable Packaging Trend

The constant rise of e-commerce has also given rise to a large number of piles of discarded shipping boxes and packaging materials that sit at the curbside as monuments of waste. At the same moment, the e-commerce trend also provides brands having new opportunities to adopt circular strategies that attract and appeal to a new generation of environmentally conscious consumers. If buyer sentiment is not motivation enough, emerging trends in government policy must force brands to decrease waste and act accordingly to implement new waste management regulations, rather than reacting to them. 

Also, some market studies indicate that the total amount of sustainable packaging materials in e-commerce will increase further. E-commerce direct-to-consumer trade is expanding quickly. This is yielding exciting new alternatives for packaging, with certain companies setting up new divisions and product lines for their sales channel.

It is estimated that by 2023 demand for sustainable materials globally will almost double to reach $63.3 billion. This is making opportunities for several material suppliers – specifically in the corrugated board which is nearly 80 percent of this market.

E-commerce is usually, good news for packaging, as product-level shipments to the customer usually require more packaging material compared to bulk deliveries to retail sites. Further removed from a shop environment, the packaging a customer receives could play a more vital role in how they experience a brand. It means e-retailers and brands planting up their own e-commerce channels are willing to invest in innovative packaging that makes an impression on the customer.

A chief consideration during the 21st century is sustainability. E-commerce has generally, been looked up negatively during the past for shipping small-sized products in large pre-cut boxes, having an excess of protective elements that the buyer then has to dispose of. This is not fundamental. As the market grows a new host of design alternatives that minimizes pack size, uses more sustainable materials, and are tailored to e-commerce sales channels are reaching the market.

Bringing in Recycling Completely

To make a trend, packaging producers and suppliers for e-commerce will have to make sure that recycling options are available and compatible with their products. They will also have to support building reliable sections for recycled materials.

The new regulations or norms on eco-friendly packaging will be implemented globally sooner or later are expected to go into full effect perhaps by the next 4 to 5 years. Several producers are not waiting for the new regulations to kick in and have already started to coordinate strategies with recyclers. 

It includes the sustainable fiber and paper companies who would be working with producers to help make sure that recycling work can accommodate new forms of paper cups and other plant-based products that are expected to hit the industry in growing numbers as the plastic ban trend gets increased.

How E-commerce Can Adopt and Push It

As one can see, the increased reliance on delivery packaging has made businesses more aware of the opportunities to attract buyers through the use of recycled fiber. It is exciting to see about many brands right from the Fortune 500 and all the way to the small startups - are making greener packaging commitments. They are boosting recycled content, making sure that their packaging is recyclable, and has expanding reusable packaging alternatives. 

It is also possible that buyers accustomed to more sustainable e-commerce packaging will start to shift the sustainability point on in-store packaging, too.

That might be a specific challenge in the area of food packaging, but that sector also appears to be poised for transformation. In fact, food retailers have been starting their own iterations of the 1970s-era ‘Generic Brand’ trend in recent times. Some leading food companies also have a long history with recycled fiber in food packaging such as Kellogg which has been using recycled fiber in cereal boxes for more than 100 years now.

Until recently the concern has been packaging that comes into straight contact with food. Now such alternatives are explored and some innovations are further going on.

As stated, this too is changing. The pressure on companies both from government and consumers to use more recycled content has also made an incentive for paper recyclers to innovate and invest in new methods that lets more large-scale use of recycled fiber.

If the norms were not enough to seek out innovation the advent of COVID-19 further made them look for more innovation in the form of sustainable packaging.

Within the e-commerce setup, these trends are converging to form a new model for consumerism that depends more on the web for visual attraction, and less on extracting virgin natural resources from the planet. The pieces are all lying there, and now it is up to brand leaders to seize this opportunity - before policymakers enforce them.

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