As brands and manufacturers seek to surprise and delight consumers while balancing sustainability, trend forecasting agency WGSN has cited e-commerce packaging innovations while making zero-waste.
Katie Raath, senior analyst for Packaging at WGSN, said it is imperative for them to concentrate on reducing e-commerce packaging, eliminating excess material and avoiding shipping air in oversized boxes, which inflates transportation emissions.
Raath urged brands and manufacturers to make it zero-waste, whether that be returnable or biodegradable.
“The three keys to e-commerce packaging are protection (of product), preservation (of environment), and presentation, creating a great unboxing experience for the consumer,” she said in a report.
Raath said the volume of e-commerce packaging globally, driven by average annual growth of 20.1 percent in the last six years, highlights the importance of manufacturers reducing the environmental damage caused by its production and discarding.
She said projections for e-commerce plastic packaging produced annually show it rising to 4.5 billion pounds by 2025, more than doubling in the last six years.
E-commerce plastic waste figures closely match production, showing this type of packaging is almost exclusively single-use, she added.
Raath said the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates global plastics recycling is at just nine percent so the majority of this volume is headed directly to landfill.
“Advances in materials technology are opening up possibilities for sustainable packaging, reducing plastic components with alternatives that are easier to recycle and fully biodegradable,” she said.
Raath cited as an example Canadian manufacturer CelluloTech’s patented chromatogeny process using a chemical reaction to make paper permanently super hydrophobic and boost its mechanical properties.
“For e-commerce, this means thinner boxes, saving material and shipping labels with no waterproof silicone layer, making them recyclable,” she added. – Press release