A guide to circular economy packaging

According to statistics, UK households generated around 5.4 million metric tons of cardboard and paper packaging in 2021. From this, only 3.8 million metric tons were recovered – generating a recycling rate of around 71%. However, around 2.5 million metric tons of plastic packaging was generated that year, with only 44.1% being recycled.

So, what does this mean for packaging and the circular economy? Learn more in our guide today!

What is circular economy packaging?

The concept of a circular economy is to remove the ‘make’ and ‘discard’ mindset and phasing out waste and pollution by using materials designed to last longer.

Circular economy packaging refers to the reduction of wasteful packaging, for a greener alternative to help sustain the ‘circular economy’.

This is achieved by using and designing materials to be less resource intensive, such as:

Why do we need circular packaging?

Many businesses are making the switch to sustainable packaging alternatives in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. The idea is to extend the lifecycle of packaging to reduce the need of extracting and consuming natural recourses used to make them.

With more recyclable packaging available for smaller businesses and ecommerce businesses, this helps to reduce post-consumer waste on a larger scale.

How to adopt circular economy packaging

Avoid single-use packaging

Eliminate waste by cutting out single-use packaging such as plastic. Instead, opt for sustainable alternatives such as honeycomb packing paper over bubble wrap, paper mailing bags over plastic mailing bags and cardboard boxes instead of plastic boxes.

Invest in quality packaging

For many businesses, the mindset of quantity over quality is often where they go wrong. Investing in better quality packaging means it will last longer, by reducing wasteful product damage and minimising returns.

Extend the life of your packaging

Sustainable packaging is more than just what the packaging is made from. It extends to how much the packaging can be used after its initial purpose. Consider packaging that can be reused, that can be recycled or is compostable. These little changes will make a big difference to the world around you.

Expand your outreach

In order to achieve a sustainable approach to circular packaging, aligning your values with your suppliers, distributors and customers will help to make a greater impact overall.

You can do this by optimising your warehouse to reduce waste, choosing couriers who have greener delivery options or selecting suppliers who are committed to making positive changes.

Here at Smith Packaging, we are serious about out duty the environment. We are always looking at ways we can create and offer sustainable options when it comes to our products.

From recyclable cardboard boxes, to eco packing peanuts and kraft paper tape – our products are made to be reused, recycled or composted.