Environmentally friendly products are more popular than ever, and eco-friendly labels go hand in hand with eco-friendly packaging. Discover how to choose earth-friendly label materials for your products and how to pair them with your products.
Not all eco-friendly packaging and labeling materials are the same. Let’s look at several types of eco-friendly packaging and labeling classifications and how they contribute to sustainability and environmentally friendly consumer practices. These classifications include:
- Compostable: Compostable labels and packaging break down into water, carbon monoxide, and inorganic compounds; they also provide nourishment for the soil and organisms around them. People often compost products in their yards, but industrial composting has emerged in some markets in recent years. It’s important to know that compostable products are different from biodegradable products.
- Biodegradable: Unlike compostable materials, biodegradable materials simply get reclaimed by the earth as they break down. While compostable packaging nourishes the ground around it, biodegradable packaging gets absorbed by the environment around it, reducing waste buildup.
- Recycle-Compatible: When you use recycle-compatible, also called recycle-friendly, label materials, they can be recycled after their product is used. They also don’t interfere with the recycling process for the packaging. This type of earth-friendly label prevents recyclable products and packaging from ending up in landfills. How? Many product labels aren’t recycle-compatible, rendering the products they cover unrecyclable. For example, an estimated 560 million bottles are wasted in the recycling process every year due to their labels.
- Lightweight: Lightweight labels and packaging use far fewer raw materials than their traditional counterparts. Lightweight labels, in particular, release less gas than traditional labels do when they’re shipped and applied to products. Transitioning to lightweight label and packaging materials is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Recycled Materials: Labels and packaging made from recycled materials use materials that have been diverted from the post-consumer waste process in a landfill and recycled into usable packaging or labels. These types of labels and packaging can come from a wide variety of materials, beyond the usual paper and plastic.
- Responsibly Sourced: Responsibly sourced labels and packaging are made with renewable materials. An independent third party must assess your labels for them to receive this classification.
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The eco-friendly labels you use should have the same classification as your eco-friendly packaging. If the label and the package don’t have the same classification, they both could go to a landfill. So a compostable package must have a compostable label, for example. However, matching the package isn’t the only factor you need to consider when choosing a sustainable label. You also need to consider how your customers dispose of your labels and packaging, and what options they have available to them. For example, if your customers don’t recycle your packaging, a recycle-friendly label won’t work for your product. Similarly, if your customers don’t have industrial compost available in their area, compostable labels and packaging aren’t the right option for you, either. All these factors influence your label choice, so you need to consider them carefully.
When you switch to sustainable packaging and labels, you reap many benefits for your business. For example, 60% of consumers in North America are concerned about packaging waste, and your sustainable labels can help soothe their concerns. Many people are willing to pay a slightly higher price for a more eco-friendly product. Businesses are often afraid to switch to environmentally friendly raw materials because they believe their costs will go up. However, higher production costs for sustainable materials could lead to higher profits for your business in the long run.
You also have the chance to build your brand around your eco-friendly production practices. Rework your brand messaging to include your sustainability practices and the reasons you decided to use sustainable labels and packaging. This marketing strategy gives you the chance to draw in new customers and show your current customers that you prioritize sustainability.
Centrally-located and equipped with the cutting-edge equipment you need to get the best labels and look for your products. Our skilled team of in-house engineers will help you make the perfect label for any product you have.