I'm sure you've seen the beautiful boxes with many fabulous designs online for skin care products. But what happens to those packages after your customers unpack the products? How do they dispose of them? Do they throw away the box? Or maybe you reuse it for something else?
Like you, many shop owners and consumers are becoming more conscious about their packaging to protect the earth. There are many ways to keep your products and process environmentally friendly.
This guide will cover these eco-friendly packaging alternatives for small shop owners, how to minimize packaging waste, and tips to lower your courier costs when shipping skin care products.
What Are Usual Packaging Used for Shipping Skin Care Products?
Skincare brands rely on different packaging to deliver their product safely and effectively. Some companies opt to send their products in boxes, while others prefer to package their items in mailer bags.
Some boxes used by small skin care brands are designed to protect the product inside, keep it safe during transit, and ensure that it arrives intact and undamaged. Others add an extra packaging layer inside the box, like bubble wrap or packaging peanuts, to serve as cushion.
While these methods are generally suitable for protecting the contents of a package, they aren't always environmentally friendly. So, if you're trying to reduce your waste, you should consider using alternative packaging options or minimizing your packaging.
There are many ways to reduce packaging waste
What is eco-friendly packaging?
Eco-friendly packaging refers to any product packaging that uses environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. These include but not limited to recycled paper, biodegradable plastics, compostable plastic, or wrappers made from plants like bamboo and soybean-based polymers.
More and more skincare and cosmetics brands are gradually adopting eco-friendly packaging as part of their corporate responsibility to reduce carbon emissions. For instance, Zao Organic launched its natural makeup line earlier this year. Their skincare packaging explicitly uses sustainable materials like bamboo and recycled paperboard. Moreover, to minimize waste and use of resources, you can conveniently refill your favorite skin care product without purchasing a new kit.
L'Occitane offers a similar experience by using reusable bamboo containers to pack their Makeup Remover oil. And finally, French skincare brand L'Oréal sustainable containers made from cornstarch. Besides, through its Product Impact Labelling System, the firm aims to inspire customers to help in conservation efforts. The system relays the environmental and social impact of L'Oréal products to help consumers make informed and sustainable choices.
What to Consider When Choosing the Packaging for Shipping Your Skincare Products
Choosing suitable packaging for your skin care products is critical to ensuring they arrive safely and intact. It's essential to pick a package that fits your needs, whether your focus is branding or functionality, like protecting your product. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Check our durable but well-designed, eco-friendly mailer bags
1. Look for durable packaging. Durability is essential because it ensures that your products will arrive undamaged. Opt for packaging that’s sturdy, water-resistant, and tamper-proof.
2. Your packaging shouldn’t be boring. Make sure that your packaging highlights what's unique about your skin care product. Customize it to incorporate your brand colors, dainty prints, and chic designs for the packaging to stand out. However, be careful not to go overboard with the designs that the texts on the package are not legible.
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3. Check the local regulations on the packaging. Local health, safety, and environmental guidelines exist for domestic and international shipping. For instance, eight (8) U.S. states: California, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, and Vermont have a ban on single-use plastics. Always comply with these regulations to avoid penalties.
4. Consider eco-friendly packaging. Green packaging is becoming increasingly popular. Studies show consumers are willing to pay the extra cost if they feel they're supporting a worthy cause. Consider using packaging made from post-consumer recycled materials to reduce carbon emissions and unnecessary waste.
How should you wrap skin care products for shipping?
Shipping packages should include everything that goes into transporting your products from the point of manufacture until they arrive at your customer's doorstep. Here are some examples of common shipping packaging options that will help protect your skincare products:
Bubble wrap or bubble mailers
Bubble wrap is a cheap and effective way to transport fragile items. It cushions skin care products in delicate packaging, such as glass containers, from the rigors of transit. In case your product accidentally breaks, the wrap will prevent it from spilling over and damaging other products in the package.
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You can also use bubble mailers as an alternative to bubble wraps. Since they're reusable, you can conveniently use the mailers to ship products multiple times before discarding them.
Boxes made from corrugated cardboard are inexpensive and readily available in local stores. Lightweight, stackable and sturdy, you can use them for shipping and storing products in the warehouse. They are easily recyclable and suitable for shipping multiple items instead of a single package to reduce shipping costs.
Get free shipping supplies. Ask for discarded boxes from brick-and-mortar stores instead of buying new ones.
Honeycomb Wrapping Paper
Honeycomb wrapping paper is an eco-friendly alternative to packaging peanuts. Made from Kraft paper, they come in various thicknesses and sizes to keep your fragile items safe during transit. While a majority of honeycomb wrapping paper is biodegradable, some of them are compostable.
If you're shipping in boxes, honeycomb paper is the best alternative for plastic bubble wrap.
As always, the best way to find shipping packaging alternatives is to follow the guidelines provided by your shipper. They most probably have specific recommendations for packaging your products. So check with them first.
Gummed tapes are made of natural materials such as corn starch, wood pulp, or tear-resistant Kraft paper, which are biodegradable. Potato starch is usually used to make the adhesive coating that way, it can easily be activated by applying water to the adhesive side. Some small shops owners love it because it sticks onto a package without leaving any residue or streaks.
Another advantage of using these tapes is that they offer superior protection against damage during shipment. Sturdy but flexible, they adhere perfectly around the corners and curves of your package without cracking or tearing. They also enhance the security of your package, as any tampering is easily identifiable.
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Going Green Beyond Packing Materials
Usually, most businesses opt for cheap plastic packaging to protect their bottom line. However, you can use eco-friendly packaging solutions for your skin care products without necessarily spending too much money. Here are some ideas you might consider implementing to start your journey to going green:
1. Using refillable packaging for skin care products.
It encourages consumers to reuse their empty containers instead of throwing them away. Consequently, it reduces the amount of single-use packaging ending up in landfills, promoting environmental sustainability. Backspace is an example of a small local shop that has refillable home and personal care products. All you need to do is book through their website, and they'll get their mobile van/store to your doorstep for your refill.
Additionally, refillable packaging is much cheaper to produce than single-use packaging. Just make sure to consider how to make refilling convenient and accessible for your customers to reuse bottles and jars. L’Oréal’s Source Essentialle conveniently uses select salons as filling stations.
Backspace offers mobile refilling stations for skin and personal care products
2. Offering a return program for empty containers
This idea is great for brands with multiple stores or physical outlets. If you're able to offer a packaging return option, you might want to consider doing so. For instance, you can team up with your local recycling facility you can partner with them to organize the return. In Bliss' case, they partnered with TerraCycle for their return program. Ilia, another cosmetic brand, offers to recycle packaging that comes, even from their competitors.
When setting up a return program, clearly describe where to return the items and how you plan to recycle them. If your budget allows it, you can give discounts or coupons to encourage more people to bring back their packaging.
Ilia offers to recycle containers even from competing brands
3. Offering free shipping on larger orders
Consumers love promos and discounts, which encourage them to buy more. You can use try the BOGO strategy, special discounts, and vouchers to promote multiple purchases in a single order.
It will help reduce waste and cut down on unnecessary packaging. If you ship regularly, you may be able to work out a deal with a freight company that offers free shipping for large orders.
4. Offer carbon-neutral shipping
Carbon-neutral refers to attempts of companies to offset their carbon emissions from their operational process. The companies initiate or support certified carbon offset projects such as reforestation and renewable energy schemes.
While it may seem like a considerable investment for a small online shop, more and more consumers are becoming aware of the carbon footprint they create as a result of their purchases and the shipping process. Consequently, they are willing to pay for the extra cost to support businesses working towards sustainable solutions.
Small, collective steps to eco-friendly packaging make a difference
Start with Small Steps in Your Eco-friendly Journey
We need to be conscious of the fact that the decisions we make today will have an environmental impact down the years.
It will certainly take time to eliminate unnecessary waste, but small steps help a lot. Collaboration between skincare brands to encourage customers to choose eco-friendly options can make a huge difference.
As such, every skin care business must be thoughtful about how they produce their products and manage the resulting waste. It calls for the adoption of alternative eco-friendly packaging when shipping.
Start small, changing one aspect of your product packaging at a time. Collectively, these small steps will have a major positive impact on our environment.