Why is it important to consider the environment in your production?
The importance of going green in business becomes increasingly important as the effects of global warming worsen and as the general public become more concentrated on green efforts. These ideologies have had a huge impact on consumer choices and the materials manufacturers use in production.
Staying competative and offering a new selling point
One of the biggest luxury fashion brands has already jumped ahead of competition as Prada became the first luxury brand to sign a sustainability deal.
Similarly, Waitrose became one of the first supermarkets to trial package-free food products in an attempt to reduce plastic waste. These are just two examples of leading brands responding to consumer demands for more environmentally conscious products.
In 2019, the world witnessed THE largest climate strike ever recorded in history which placed a huge social pressure on governments and manufacturers to take notice.
As all manufacturers and businesses are aware, it is the next generation of consumers that shape the future of production. Their specific demands and preferences shape the world of manufacturing indicating that meeting the latest market trends is essential to successful and competitive business.
The inevitable collapse of businesses if facilities fail to go green
Additionally, without making environmentally conscious decisions in manufacturing there will be catastrophic consequences for many businesses. The locations around the world where cheap manufacturing occurs will eventually become even more inhabitable and result in business bankrupsy.
For instance, China already has extremely high pollution in the air resutling in people wearing masks and checking the pollution forecast. This behaviour has been normalised just as people may check the weather in the West.
This is Similar to New Deli, India, which declared a public health crisis just two days ago due to the alarming level of pollution in the air. This is 20 times higher than the level that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers ‘safe’.
Businesses will collapse if their workforce become too ill to work and begin to evacuate the affected areas. This will have relay effects on world trade. Not only will facilities be forced to close but demand will be even lower as consumers will most likely put even more pressure on renewable energy sources and become loyal to brands that adapted to meet this demand.
Therefore, it is critical for businesses to be ahead of the game on the environmental front.
Luckily enough, there is still plenty that you can do in order to reduce your personal contribution to the environmental crisis. This blog will discuss top tips for going green in business and offer a new selling point to a new pool of consumers.
An extremely useful and effective way to make your manufacturing more environmentally conscious and thus, more attractive to this pool of consumers, is by tackling packaging. This can be done in several simple ways.
The word compostable is extremely popular in the eco-world. Compostable refers to an organic substance which decays naturally. Often these items are made from all-natural ingredients such as corn starch. Using compostable packaging contributes to reducing the waste your business creates and contributes to a zero-waste effect.
If you can choose a packaging that is compostable then this will put you in good stead for success. For example, instead of using plastic bubble wrap or Styrofoam you could opt for a compostable version. An example of this is corn starch peanuts, as shown in Figure 1, which are usually made from plastic.
When consumers receive the compostable packaging they can just burry them in their garden or put them on a compost pile and let mother nature do her job. There is quite literally zero impact on the earth with compostable packaging.
China 2 west work extremely flexibly and would be willing to discuss your individual requirements for more environmentally conscious packaging.
Using recyclable packaging (such as paper or cardboard) instead of non-recyclable plastic packaging is also an extremely effective option. This is especially effective if you use paper that’s already been recyled.
Another key to success is to reduce all unnecessary packing from your product if possible. ‘Naked’ products have no packaging at all and have grown increasingly popular. Not only is over-packaging discouraged, it also saves you time and money in the assembly process.
China 2 west consider ourselves as experts in printing and packaging so get in contact with us today to discuss your individual requirements for more environmentally conscious packaging.
Zero waste and Zero Plastic
Two extremely common principles among environmentally friendly products is ‘zero plastic’ or ‘zero waste’. The two mean different things and you can tackle both individually.
Plastic use in production and manufacturing is extremely harmful because it does not break down, ever! It is estimated that every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists today somewhere in the world due to the longevity of its life.
Unfortunately, some products claiming to be ‘biodegradable’ only break down into smaller pieces of plastic, called micro plastics, and are still a huge threat to the environment. Plastic, therefore, can never truly biodegrade and it never ceases to exist. This is an extremely worrying fact when you begin to consider the statistic that 33% of all plastic produced is single use.
You could simply avoid using any type of plastic in any part of your product, packaging or fulfilment processes. This would be a great start. Where possible, swapping your materials from plastic to reusable, recyclable or sustainable options will create a more environmentally conscious product. This swap shows consumers that you are concerned about not leaving a lasting negative effect on the planet even after your item is no longer in use.
Such materials that could be used as a replacement of plastic include: glass, starch-based polymers and some metals.
Environmentally conscious versions of Sellotape also exist, such as water-activated tape or compostable rope. This too will remove the amount of plastic your packaging uses.
Conversely, you could go for a zero-waste approach which essentially refers to responsible production and takes on many forms. The concept is that all processes should be considerate of the environment, cause no harm to the environment and have the capacity to be reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted. This could include removing all unnecessary parts of a product, its packaging or its delivery materials so that there is no part of the product that cannot be reused.
Zero waste approaches also place a huge emphasis on compostable items, meaning that they simply cease to exist after decomposing. Industries in which this is particularly useful are in cleaning products such as kitchen sponges, as they can be buried in the garden or placed into a compost heap after use. Reusable items that last a lifetime are also considered zero waste.
Can’t ligitimately say bye to plastic packaging?
If you absolutely cannot say goodbye to plastic in your production or fulfilment processes, then you should consider using recycled plastics. This could mean reusing old plastics, using plastic that has been collected from landfill or plastic bottles removed from the ocean. These plastics can then be cleaned and transformed into brand new plastics for your use.
Two extremely popular cleaning brands which do this are Ecover and Method. Taking plastics out of the ocean is of particular importance because it is ingested by the sea life, birds and cattle we later eat ourselves. And you know what they say, “you are what you eat”. And in this case, that’s plastic.
Although it is extremely important to clean up the waste we have in landfills and waters, it is also important to ‘turn off the tap’. Therefore, by using plastics which already exist you are not adding to the current amount in landfill and the ocean thus, helping turn off the tap.
The plastic bank was founded by David Katz on the premise that plastic becomes an asset when value is added to it, and materials like diamonds become worthless when you remove the value. In his mission he has turned ocean plastic into a currency which can be used in the poorest countries in order to tackle ocean pollution and poverty.
The plastic bank has operatives in Hati, the Philippines and Bali, Indonesia and creates a social organisation in which locals can collect plastic waste and exchange it for currency. This currency can then be put into a bank account, turning it into an asset which can be borrowed against. As for the plastic itself, this is sold to companies to reuse for their manufacturing and production.
How can this help my business go green?
You could become a supporter or a customer of the Plastic Bank in order to improve your company’s impact on the environment. The Plastic Bank could also be an extremely good investment opportunity for your company.
Being involved with the Plastic Bank would have a huge number of benefits for your business. Not only would this highlight how you stand out from competitors, it would also engage customers in this topic and increase public awareness of such schemes.
This would also act as a new selling point for your product which would be attractive to a new pool of consumers and it would reflect your company’s involvement in innovation and the latest advances in the market.
Introduce a recyling scheme
A great way to encourage loyalty within your customers is to introduce a recycling scheme with your product’s packaging. This is also a great option if you do not see a profitable way for you to change the current materials used to package your product.
A well-known and extremely popular example of this is Lush, who’s pots are made from a mixture of bought recycled plastics or their own recycled pots. When customers return a certain number of used pots in-store, these pots are used again and the customer receives one free item.
You could introduce a similar loyalty scheme which offers some sort of benefit to the consumer for returning used packaging. Recycling schemes not only encourage recycling and prevents waste from going to landfill, it also saves you the money and time because there’s no need to produce more containers for your product. Recycling loyalty schemes will also engage customers meaning they would be more likely to be loyal to your product and feel like a more active participant in your brand.
These types of schemes also have a huge range of flexibility to suit your company. After all, it is you making the rules. For example, you can control the conditions of your recycling scheme such as not allowing returns under X number of items and you could change what sort of reward you offer. For example, instead of providing a free item you could provide a discount code, an exclusive offer or some loyalty points towards their next purchase.
Going green with China 2 West
We hope that China 2 West’s 14 years of experience and ability to work flexibly put your mind at ease when considering whether we are able to meet a client’s environmentally conscious demands.
Get in touch with our team to discuss our ability to meet your green demands.
Date written (may differ from date published): 18/11/2019