Recyclable Packaging Continues to Resonate with Consumers and Brand Marketers

Published on Mon, Jun 12, 2023 11:00 AM GMT

Recyclable Packaging Continues to Resonate with Consumers and Brand Marketers

As sustainability has become a key motivator for consumers, brands are increasingly keen for packaging materials and designs that demonstrably show their commitment to the environment. The word "sustainability" has different meanings for different people. In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In this context, it means reducing waste, recycling, using eco-friendly materials, cutting (greenhouse) gas emissions, and engaging in ethical labor practices.

Many companies today are not just focusing on their product, but are increasingly focusing on the packaging of their products. Current consumer trends of the developing world and Generation Z market are expressing the strong desire to make changes to previous ways of living - particularly, wasteful and destructive ways of living in respect to the environment. Almost half (46 percent) of the consumers interviewed from around the world in the 2020 Healthy & Sustainable Living study say they want to change their lifestyle “a great deal” to be more environmentally friendly. When making a purchase, nearly 80 percent of U.S. consumers consider sustainability (of a product, the retailer, or the brand). Half of the respondents of the same survey believe that businesses bear a responsibility to the consumer to operate sustainably.

Companies that are using sustainable packaging need to be sure to say so on the product label. Due to advanced technology, it’s not always obvious that a package is sustainable, recyclable, or biodegradable. Some examples of recyclable packaging include paper, cardboard, corn starch, biodegradable plastic, and bubble wrap created from recycled plastic.

What makes a product recyclable?

From a consumer’s point of view, recyclability is determined on whether an item can meet the requirements of the 4 S’s to be recycled properly.

Ability to be Sorted – Single-stream (or no-sort) recycling is hauled to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) to be sorted by people and specialized machinery. It’s a system that can only sort common items with distinct traits. A MRF has dozens of conveyor belts and screens moving and separating material. Paper and cardboard can be sorted because they’re light and flat. Glass can be sorted because it’s heavy and breaks into small pieces. Metals can be sorted with magnets and plastics are often sorted by shape, by hand and using lasers to identify valuable resin.

Supply – It is important that the supply of a particular item doesn’t change so it’s worth long-term investments in sorting and manufacturing. This allows recyclers to establish steady buyers of the recycled material. For example, there will always be a steady flow of metal cans, but an occasional metallic water bottle is made of a different material composition. This item would likely need a different end-market. For these reasons, the supply of items entering a MRF is a crucial factor in determining an object’s recyclability.

Safety – It is very important to dispose of common and potentially hazardous items such as batteries, aerosol cans, lightbulbs or broken glass, and lab or medical containers properly. Even when incorrectly placed in the landfill, these items pose a significant danger to the many people that come in contact with them after disposal. Many people will come into contact with it during the recycling process, including custodians, waste collectors, and sorters at the MRF.

Ability to be Sold (Demand) - Some items cannot be recycled because the material has little value for manufacturing into new goods. If manufacturers can’t use the recycled material, it is not feasible for a MRF to sort it out.  In these cases, we can avoid sending material to the landfill by choosing to reduce and reuse. Plastic blister packaging (how batteries and scissors are often packaged) or chip bags are items that are not very useful or sellable. The material is too low-quality to be turned into a reliable new product. Furthermore, both of these materials are light and flat, which is mistaken for paper and contaminates recycling. If consumers can’t avoid buying this type of plastic packaging, then placing it in the landfill is the next best option.

Advantages of using paper packaging

Paper packaging is a perfect solution for companies that are looking into sustainability in the best interests of their changing consumer values and carbon footprint. It is a cost-effective packaging solution that is recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable. There are three major types of paper packaging: (i) corrugated boxes, (ii) boxboard or paperboard cartons, and (iii) paper bags and sacks. Paper-based packaging material is usually Kraft Paper, then Corrugated and lastly Cardboard. Current packaging trends include packing that is made from Kraft paper, giving a sleek, minimalistic look that provides a more modern and sustainable brand reputation for the company. With creativity and imagination, paper can also be manipulated to package the majority of consumer products.

Recycled and recyclable cardboard is a great option for packaging to replace plastic. Not only is chipboard (think of a cereal box or the material that is used for the cover a of a hard cover book) an environmentally sound option, it allows you to create packaging that can keep your products snug and secure without breaking the bank. Cardboard packaging can be made to your company’s specifications for business or consumer products and the natural, earthy-brown color gives it a look and feel that resonates well with people today.  Chipboard can be laminated to make it as thick as wood if desired, cut to any size, or die cut to any shape you want.  Printed paper can be laminated to chipboard sheets also to make it visually appealing and as colorful as you want, but still environmentally friendly and very cost effective.  

At Hammond Paper, we can accomplish all the above and more as that is our specialty. By partnering with us, your company can create unique eco-friendly chipboard packaging that will not only boost your company’s image but create a lasting effect on the environment that future generations will thank you for. After all, without a clean and prosperous earth, no one can live a fulfilling life in any regard. Switch to chipboard today and make a lasting difference. 

About Hammond Paper

Operating out of Vaughan, Ontario, Hammond Paper Company has been a reliable source for chipboard and all sorts of paperboard for protective packaging and other uses in Canada for over 25 years.  Whether its sheets you’re looking for or custom sheets or packaging made specifically to suit your needs, Hammond Paper can help.  We’re not just about board – we can do custom laminating, cutting to size, die cutting, round cornering, grooving and more.  

Call us at (905) 761-6867 or email us at to get a free quote.