What is Green Packaging?- Why Adopt Eco-Friendly Packaging

Sustainable Packaging - Retail Ready Packaging

What is Green Packaging?

Green packaging, otherwise known as sustainable packaging refers to packaging which limits the harm done to the environment. From using sustainable material to being recyclable, reusable or biodegradable, it's no wonder that the demand for green packaging is continuing to increase.

Types of Green Packaging

With many different types of green packaging out there, what actually counts as green packaging? In this section, we will delve into some of the key features of green packaging.

Biodegradable Packaging

This type of packaging can break down naturally over time. There is no specific time frame that this packaging should break down by to count as biodegradable. One of the key features of biodegradable packaging is it does not leave behind harmful pollutants.

Have you ever found an old plastic bag which has disintegrated? This is a prime example of biodegradable plastic packaging. Other examples of biodegradable packaging include cardboard, bamboo and paper.

Recyclable Packaging

When we think of recyclable packaging, we immediately think of cardboard, glass and paper. We instantly associate these materials with being recyclable, and we are not wrong. But, nowadays it’s not just cardboard, paper and glass which are recyclable, other materials can be too.

Recyclable material counts as materials which can be reused in another form. Through the process of “recycling”, different materials are mixed together to create other products or recycled materials.

Reusable Packaging

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This type of packaging can be reused for the same or a different purpose after it has been used for its primary purpose. For example, cardboard boxes can be used to deliver packages when you have ordered something online, but they can also be used to store things after your item has been delivered. Other examples of reusable packaging include glass containers.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

There are four key features a packaging should have to identify as eco-friendly, these include:


  • Recyclable
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Doesn’t contain pollutants and chemicals which harm the environment and the user
  • Uses renewable energy to source, transport and produce the materials.

Sustainable Packaging

This type of packaging refers to packaging which is good for the environment. This is not exclusive to the type of packaging but also the process of creating sustainable packaging and the use of sustainable materials to make the packaging.

Reduced Packaging 

Reduced packaging refers to reducing the amount of unnecessary packaging a product may have. Instead of having large boxes with packing peanuts in them other packaging methods can be used, like die-cut cardboard boxes. Die-cut cardboard boxes are made from corrugated cardboard which is used to absorb any impact the packaging may come in during transportation.

What Materials are Typically Used in Green Packaging?

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Corrugated Cardboard

Corrugated cardboard is one of the most well-known and common green packaging types available. Why? Cardboard is either made from recycled material or from paper, both of which are 100% recyclable. It can also be reused for other purposes such as storing items or it can be folded up and later used for another purpose. This type of green packaging is 80% more recycled than any other packaging material out of there.


As the name suggests bioplastics are a bi-form of plastics. Made from sugars extracted from corn and sugarcane, this gives the plastic a very similar look, feel and function to normal plastics. This material can be broken down at the end of the life cycle by water and carbon dioxide. Thus, making the packaging eco-friendly and helping lower your carbon footprint.

One of the most common examples of bioplastics is food containers and coffee pods. Some say that bioplastics could be a good solution to plastic pollution.


When you think of green packaging, metal is usually not the first thing that comes to mind, but in fact, metal is 100% recyclable. After the metal has been recycled, it can be melted and reformed. Key examples include aerosols and food and beverage cans.

Plant-based materials

Why are plant-based materials used for packaging? The primary reason why plant-based materials are used for green packaging is down to the fact that this type of packaging is compostable. When the packaging breaks down it doesn’t produce toxins. If non-environmentally friendly packaging is used, such as plastic, the toxins it produces harms the environment.

Plant-based materials such as hemp are growing in popularity. After six months of being in the landfill, this material decomposes.

Mushroom is another plant-based material. Whilst you may think that you have never come across this type of packaging, you most likely have. This packaging type helps to insulate fragile products and create a “bed” for the product. For example, when you order candles online they come in mushroom packaging. This is an environmentally friendly way to protect products whilst reducing packaging waste.

Natural Fibres

This type of green packaging is great as it is environmentally friendly, compostable and made from renewable resources.

Bamboo is an example of natural fibre used for packaging. This material is growing in popularity but why? The material grows quickly and requires little maintenance from pests and diseases. Thus making it a highly renewable and suitable material for packaging.

Sometimes when you receive a package that is bigger than the product inside, void fill is needed to “cushion” the product. Shredded raffia can be used to protect the product. What is raffia? Raffia is a straw/paper-like sustainable packaging material which can be used for protective packaging and decoration.

What are the Benefits of Using Green Packaging?


Green packaging offers a lot of benefits not only to your business but also to the environment. In this section, we will go through some of the key benefits if you adopt green packaging.

Environmental Protection

One of the key benefits of green packaging is the fact that it doesn’t harm the environment. As a business, reducing your carbon footprint is one of the main ways to help meet your business's overall sustainability goals.

Green packaging is made in an eco-friendly manner. What does this mean? This means that the packaging manufactured uses renewable energy to source, manufacture and transport the goods to you. Thus, reducing waste, pollution and preserving biodiversity.

Enhances your Brand Image

The use of green packaging shows your customers that you care about the environment whilst also differentiating your business from your competitors. It also helps to build brand loyalty. Utilising green packaging may be the reason why a customer chooses to buy from you instead of a competitor. Resulting in increased brand loyalty.

Complies with Government Regulation

With so much pressure on governments to do something to curb the use of non-environmentally friendly packaging, how does this affect you?

The UK government introduced the Plastic Packaging Tax back in 2022. The purpose of this legislation was to tax businesses which manufactured or imported plastic into the UK. Though this only applied to plastic packaging that did not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.

The UK government are not the only one who is putting restrictions on plastic packaging Canada has aimed to have zero plastic waste by 2030. Similarly in China by 2025, they hope to have banned non-degradable plastic packaging.

But why is all of this important, transitioning to green packaging now will relieve you of any stress and complications in the near future. If you operate internationally then it’s hard to keep up to date on what the packaging regulations are for different countries.

Increased Customer Appeal

Consumer expectations are increasingly becoming more demanding and sustainability is a crucial factor. Utilising green packaging is one of the many ways you can attract customers who are conscious about the environment to buy your product.

Using green packaging also helps to reduce your business’s carbon footprint and at the same time you are attracting customers to your business.

How to Choose the Right Green Packaging for your Product- Factors to consider

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The Cost

Businesses don’t intentionally choose packaging which is harmful to the business but the main reason they pick this type of packaging is down to the cost. Environmentally harmful packaging is cheaper than green packaging. This is down to the way the material is sourced and how it is manufactured.

As a business you may need to raise prices if you were to use green packaging. Research has shown that consumers are willing to pay more for greener products.

Product Requirements

The type of product will affect what type of packaging is used. For example, if your product was fragile, like a glass ornament, then bioplastic bags will not be suitable. Even though the bag is biodegradable it doesn’t protect the product within. Instead, corrugated cardboard is much more suited. With many different designs/ shapes available, we follow the FEFCO codes to ensure that choosing a design for your product's purpose is made easier.

Similarly, bioplastics bags are paper bags that can be used for packaging clothes. Reducing the amount of postal packaging used and changing the packaging can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Environmental Impact

Where is the packaging being transported from? If the green packaging is sourced from another country is it worthwhile? You need to consider how much air pollution the transport will cause. Will this have less of an environmental impact than using single-use plastic?

Similarly, what is the environmental impact of sourcing and manufacturing the packaging? Good packaging manufacturers will take this into account.

Your Organisation’s Branding and Marketing

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The packaging is nearly as important as the actual product itself. Why? On a shop shelf with loads of other products, your packaging is what defines you amongst your competitors. As mentioned above the look and feel of your packaging affects your brand image. Opting for sustainable packagings like corrugated cardboard boxes or bioplastic bags shows your customers that you care for the environment.

Similarly, when you have done a shopping spree online and are expecting loads of parcels from different businesses, how do you know which product is in which parcel? The answer is you don’t. Unless the packaging has some indication as to where the parcel came from. There is also an expectation that postal packages come in good condition and not “battered”.  Using corrugated cardboard in this instance will help avoid this and absorb any impacts during transportation.

Looking For a Bespoke Corrugated Cardboard Packaging Solution? Speak To Our Expert Team Today

Find the right type of carboard packaging for your products either by checking out our complete products packaging range here, or by speaking to a member of our experienced team today on 0121 505 2211 . You can also get in touch with a member of the Diamond Box team either by sending an email to sales@diamond-box.co.uk or by utilising our quick contact form below. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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