Research and Trends / From the editor

Sustainability: The Great Divider

The topic is divisive, but green can have great benefits.

April 1, 2013
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
Is there a more divisive topic in the packaging industry than sustainability? You love it, like it or hate it. And those three camps can have strong feelings toward one another for not sharing the same point of view.
I’m not perfect at being green — I drive a highly fuel inefficient vintage jeep; I at times use plastic bags in the grocery store; sometimes I throw out paper at home. I do try to choose responsible items, and I honestly don’t mind if some green products happen to cost “more,” because to me, it’s just what the item is worth. Though I often fail in my everyday efforts, I’ll admit it still bothers me to see how much waste packaging can produce. 
In a simpler time, packaging was not as necessary as it is now. I admire startups like In.gredients for creating a zero-waste, container-free grocery store, but now that the world has had a taste for convenient things like online shopping, where items need packaging to ship, there’s probably no turning back completely. Packaging itself isn’t inherently evil, but brands do need to be mindful of the waste it produces and the resources it uses.
Much of the packaging industry and consumers as a whole aren’t fully ready to commit to green, but that doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. Rather, it makes it even more important for brands to get it right. If brands don’t start making conscientious packaging the norm, who will? It does require different mindsets and practices, but a little innovation can go a long way. Look at the recent work of Pratt Institute student Aaron Mickelson, where the product becomes the packaging ( — brands still get to use packaging for their purposes, and the “containers” still protect the object and give consumers needed information.
Sustainable packaging won't, of course, solve all the world’s problems, but it can help make it a more connected and creative place — and what brand wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to BRAND PACKAGING Magazine. 

Recent Articles by Laura Zielinski

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

10th Annual Packaging That Sells Conference, Chicago, October 2012

Posted Date: October 29, 2013

BRANDPACKAGING’s packaging conference returned for a tenth year with a focus on a single message: Make It Matter.

2/12/14 2:00 pm EST

Packaging Matters™: A study on packaging’s impact on shopping behavior, product satisfaction and trends in the global marketplace

On-Demand Packaging Matters™ is MWV’s study of the role of packaging in product satisfaction.  In its second iteration, the research has expanded to 10 markets: China, India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, U.K., Germany, Japan and the U.S. We study packaging because it matters to brand owners, retailers and consumers around the world. Packaging impacts shopping behavior, influences product satisfaction and motivates consumers in global markets in different ways.


Brand Packaging Magazine

brand packaging april 2014

April 2014

The April 2014 issue examines the topic of "Green Fatigue."  You can also read the issue at the Digital Editions.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Design Gallery Volume 11

Design Gallery Volume 11 is not just a study in good design. It’s a look at how packaging can successfully demonstrate structural and graphic innovation, make strong shelf impact, meet consumer, shopper and retailer needs and support and convey the brand story

More Products



facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png  youtube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png