Design packaging to reduce environmental impacts

Design packaging to minimise waste


Designing your packaging to minimise waste is usually the most cost-effective option and the best for the environment. You can do this in a number of ways.

Techniques for reducing production losses include:

  • choosing a package shape that minimises waste material
  • using computer-aided design/manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems to plan more efficient packages or component layouts
  • using fewer, larger pack sizes instead of a greater number of smaller ones

Techniques for eliminating packaging include:

  • reducing packaging to zero
  • eliminating unnecessary layers of packaging
  • reducing or eliminating the use of adhesives and tapes
  • using embossing or in-mould direct printing to avoid using labels

Techniques for reducing packaging voidspace fillers include:

  • reducing unnecessary voidspace in containers - for example where there is a cartonboard pack around plastic inner packaging
  • avoiding using fillers - such as expanded polystyrene blocks or bubble-wrap
  • considering using air as the packing medium to protect fragile products

Techniques for lightweighting and downsizing include:

  • eliminating one or more layers to reduce the overall package weight
  • replacing blister packs with cardboard packs
  • not using plastic film windows
  • using double-walled instead of triple-walled corrugated board when strength is needed
  • strengthening individual materials to allow you to reduce overall material use
  • reducing the average thickness of the packaging where possible
  • using CAD/CAM and associated tools
  • avoiding putting strength into secondary transit packaging if this is not necessary

Techniques for reducing energy include:

  • using low melting-point adhesives
  • considering alternative inks, adhesives or coatings
  • reducing the sealing temperature for films

Techniques for improving transport efficiency include:

  • choosing packaging shapes that will maximise case and pallet utilisation and transport efficiency
  • considering using distribution pack sizes that maximise pallet use and transport efficiency
  • adapting packaging to slightly underhang if the pallet dimensions are not exact multiples of the pack dimension

See how to design packaging for easy distribution.