Guest Author - Winsome Tapper
Is the notion of Eco packaging just a figment of our dreams? At times Eco packaging seems to be such an arduous, mercurial goal. Many of us who try to find Eco packaging for our hand-crafted goods, eventually realize that we have to invent new ways to use natural or recycled material to create earth friendly packaging.
However, the reality is that Eco packaging exists more as a theoretical goal than a realistic goal. This does not mean that if you create hand- crafted, artisan type goods that one cannot use eco packaing – it just means that we the people who want to switch to a kinder and gentler kind of packaging have to create the industry ourselves. What does this mean exactly?
Many months ago we researched Eco type packaging and had difficulty finding even one product that was sold by manufacturers that was affordable. Oftentimes the packaging was triple and even quadruple what a similar product would be that was not labelled eco packaging. What this would mean is that products we sold labelled as green/or Eco friendly would be several times more expensive than regular products without that label.
What this alerted me to was the fact that eco packaging is just another way for packaging companies to make a killing selling this kind of packaging that we are so desperate to switch to. But here is my question to those manufacturers who believe that the best road to travel is by charging astronomical prices for a product like an “Eco tin”. Why are you not producing a packaging product that the market can support? The truth is that most small manufacturers and mom and pop businesses are hard pressed to support packaging that is this expensive regardless of whether or not it is Eco or not. And search though I may, I could not find affordable Eco packaging. And I thought, is this a joke?
How do we switch to a packaging type that does not exist?
The bottom line is always a factor in how products are marketed and sold, and the truth is that especially with bath and body products the most important consideration is product quality and secondly, attractive packaging. And though we tend to place a great emphasis on how a product is presented, yet especially in our present climate where folks are clamoring for natural rather than processed goods -- a simpler, unsophisticated product gives a different message than it had before. At one time unsophisticated product packaging screamed 'immature' & 'unprofessional'. However, there is a move to see unsophisticated and simple packaging as less processed and therefore more earth friendly.
Ultimately though, one thing that we have to consider is how fancy do you want your product to look if it is supposed to be a green product. There seems to be a proliferation of packaging of Eco type products in plastic non-biodegradable colorful packaging - and while that maybe okay for now, yet in the long run if your message is one of using fewer resources then you should move to product packaging that is in line with this goal.
Here are some of my suggestions for creating packaging that we can produce ourselves -
* Handmade paper to wrap goods – made from recycled paper
* Paper mache containers for gift baskets – also made from recycled paper
* Recycled glass containers
* Woven baskets made from recycled paper
(if you are a packaging/container company that offers reasonable Eco packaging, please shoot us an email - so we will know who you are)