Sustainable Packaging: How Digital Print Reduces Waste

Posted on February 28, 2020 by Marketing Fantastapack

Today’s consumers care about the environmental impact of packaging now more than ever. One particular demographic leading the charge is Generation Z. Comprising of digital natives born roughly between 1996 and 2010, Gen-Zers are expected to make up 40 percent of all consumers in 2020.

As the first group born into the digital era, Gen-Zers are more likely to seek out information about a product’s sustainability as a critical factor in their purchasing decision than any other demographic. Growing consumer demand is why many brands are now investing in sustainable packaging.

Believe it or not, custom packaging can reduce waste and lessen the environmental impact of a box, compared to one-size-fits-all stock boxes and mailers. Powered by digital print and finishing technologies, brands that use custom packaging may also save on shipping costs and additional supplies. 

Here are four ways that leveraging digitally printed custom packaging can reduce waste and improve a brand’s environmental profile:


Right-Sized Packaging Minimizes the Need for Void Fill

When it comes to both sustainability and cost-savings, it can be much more efficient to use right-sized, custom packaging tailored to the product at hand rather than a generic box or mailer. By being sized appropriately to your specific product, custom packaging minimizes the need for void fill, sometimes eliminating it altogether.

Void fill refers to any cushioning or padding added inside the shipping box for product protection. This includes foam, tissue paper, bubble wrap, paper shavings, or filler chips. The purpose of void fill is to take up space in the shipper to protect the contents during transit. Void fill is often recommended for products that are fragile, heavy, or irregularly shaped. 

From an environmental perspective, using excessive void fill in packaging may appear wasteful to many customers. Because common void fill options like packing peanuts and foam are not always curbside recyclable, they typically end up in the landfill. If a customer can’t conveniently recycle or repurpose packaging, it may be perceived as a nuisance and result in a poor brand experience.


Digital Print Reduces Packaging Excess

Conventional print methods like flexography and litho lamination require brands to commit to high minimum order volumes. This is because these methods require print plates and create a significant amount of “make ready” waste during machine setup in the packaging plant, resulting in hundreds of waste sheets as the printing press is calibrated for production. Because of this process, packaging manufacturers typically require a significant minimum order to recoup their setup costs.  

Now faced with having a high volume of packaging on hand - If a brand does not use the full supply before a packaging change or new marketing campaign is introduced, they run the risk of wasting unused packaging, which has become obsolete. Digitally printed custom packaging can help reduce the number of extra boxes, labels, or displays that are printed but never used.

Digital print requires no print plates and can produce orders in exact quantities, helping brands reduce waste by avoiding the production of extra units. Instead, they have the opportunity to order packaging in the exact quantities they need, minimizing the risk of obsolescence. Additionally, since digital printing presses require far less physical calibration and deliver consistent print quality from the first impression to the last, packaging waste is greatly reduced.


True Water-Based Inks for Digitally Printed Packaging

The HP PageWide C500 press, one of the most advanced digital print presses for corrugated available today, utilizes True Water-Based Inks. These inks are odorless, environmentally-safe, free of UV-reactive chemistries, and used for primary and secondary packaging. True Water-Based Inks are fully repulpable and recyclable without the need for extra steps or costly processes, potentially reducing the environmental impact of packaging production.

Our PurePrint Materials Collection uses True Water-Based Inks, powered by the C500. Fantastapack customers can choose either PurePrint Premium™ or PurePrint Matte™ when placing an order for custom boxes under the Material drop-down menu for any of our corrugated products.

Design & Order Custom Packaging from a Sustainable Packaging Supplier

Fantastapack strives to continuously improve our environmental profile and help offset packaging’s impact on the planet. From our manufacturing practices down to our material sources, we are committed to delivering fantastic packaging to customers with sustainability in mind.

As a part of this commitment, every order made on Fantastapack funds the planting of one tree in partnership with One Tree Planted, a non-profit organization focused on global reforestation. This is our small way of giving back and making a difference — one order at a time. Design and order your custom packaging online today.

Shop Now - Every Order Plants a Tree

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