Close this search box.

The Packaging Train – An Environmental Journey

Our customers often come to us at ESC Packaging with an aspiration for environmentally friendly packaging. This is a request we are keen to facilitate, but first we need to ascertain exactly what that means.

Packaging is our passion, and as such we fully understand that there is more to a bag or box than meets the eye. A good way to think about packaging and its environmental credentials is like a journey through the life of a bag or box. Follow us on that train of thought as we take you from the beginning to the end and consider every stop along the way.

At the start of a journey the train needs fuel – the raw materials of the packaging. Will you use paper or card, plastic or metal? What are the impacts of those? Will you choose vegetable, water or solvent based ink, would you like extra touches to the packaging such as foil or a sparkly finish.

Paper bags with water or vegetable based inks
Foil finishes on boxes

What is the purpose of your packaging? To protect your product, to show it off, to assist in transporting it, to provide information, instructions, ingredients listings?

The purpose of packaging - to show off, protect or transport your product?

We help you consider the provenance and origin of the component parts of the raw materials, the process of creating your packaging and the sustainability, the moral and ethical credentials of sourcing those raw materials and the processes of creating your finished packaging.

The next step of the journey for our packaging train is the length of its journey. We help you to consider its purpose, durability and how long it may be used for. Will it be single use, or last and last? Will it have a life beyond its original purpose? How long will your packaging be trundling along the tracks? Consider packaging such as supermarket Bags for Life; they are designed to get your shopping home safely over and over again.

Is your packaging part of your product or a disposable element to be discarded once it has been opened? Would the eco credentials of your packaging be enhanced if it were more or less robust or made of different materials?

Single use or reusable?

How many stops will your packaging have on its journey? Can it be reused, recycled or upcycled? If packaging is suitable for another life beyond your product then its environmental impact is reduced. Could it be used again and again as packaging? As storage? Can a bottle be refilled, a box reused, a bag regifted? We have all seen biscuit tins used to store buttons and baby milk tins used to keep nails and screws, shoe boxes filled with photos and perfume packaging used on dressing tables for jewellery. Jars and bottles can be reused and often these repurposes for packaging can both enhance your eco credentials and continue to advertise your brand.

The final part of the journey is the end destination. What happens when the train has reached the last station? Where will the packaging end up? Will it degrade or compost and if so how long might that take? This is the part of the packaging journey that many of our customers focus on most. How long will it exist beyond its useful lifespan and what are the potential implications for its eventual disposal?

Our years of experience mean ESC Packaging can help you navigate your packaging journey with advice on the costs – to you and the planet, the benefits and impacts at every stage of choosing raw materials, durability and disposal of your packaging options. We can help you decide what are the most important factors and find solutions to meet your needs, aspirations and budget.

The packaging journey