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As consumers become more eco-aware, it has become more important for companies to design products that are meant to be reused or recycled. Far from the movement towards eco-friendly packaging being an altruistic one, it’s being driven by consumer demand.

Today, an increasing number of marketers from a wide array of consumer brands have not only embraced sustainable packaging but are pushing innovation in exciting new directions. 

It is not enough to simply slap a label indicating the use of recycled materials to stand out in an increasingly crowded field, especially among particularly sceptical millennial and Gen-Z consumers. We look at three emerging trends to watch out for.

Plant-based packaging

Plant-based food has been making waves for some time now, but products are now being packaged in materials such as banana skins and bamboo. Pizza Round is a packaging product for takeout/delivery restaurants made of sugarcane and bamboo, both renewable raw materials.

Furniture retailer Ikea announced this year it will be replacing its styrofoam packaging with a compostable mushroom-based packaging material called MycoComposite for all its products. 

Edible packaging

This is a trend that is leading the way when it comes to waste reduction. One example is Ooho, an edible drink capsule made from Notpla, a material created from seaweed. The capsules eliminate the need for plastic bottles and do not require farmland to grow, which reduces the harm to the environment from fertilisers and irrigation.

Reusable packaging

An increasing number of companies have started offering bath and body products in aluminium bottles, that can be returned and refilled over and over, reducing waste, especially the volume of plastic that ends up in the oceans, effectively bringing back the old ‘milkman model’, picking up empty packaging while delivering new products.

With climate change being a growing global crisis, recycling, upcycling, and waste management are all issues that brands need to be thinking about when it comes to packaging, and we’re excited to see how the sector continues to evolve.

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