• Innes McArthur

4 Powerful Brands That Are Reinventing E-Commerce Packaging

Discover the brands that are bringing sustainable innovation to e-commerce packaging. From reusable to plantable, they’ve covered it all.

The packaging solutions used by e-commerce brands and marketplaces are incredibly wasteful. The cardboard and plastic materials used in your Amazon orders have a real detrimental impact on the planet, let alone the effect that instantaneous and expedient delivery methods have on our ecosystem.

Globally, we have seen more and more countries adopt a model of a circular economy – a system where the economic growth of a nation does not have to result in the rampant exploitation and depletion of their own resources. While we are seeing this shift towards a more positive future, traditional (and wasteful) practices still persist, namely e-commerce packaging.

This movement towards a greener future is driven by a global desire to reduce our waste and pollution. However, it is also driven by a colossal consumer shift towards a sustainable lifestyle. Making it a necessity for businesses to adapt and embrace changes to their practices in order to go sustainable and stay relevant and appealing to their consumer base.

Returnable, Plantable, Sustainable

At Fullest Media we believe in brands that prioritise sustainability and are offering new and sustainable options to the wasteful packaging solutions of e-commerce. But how can we change something as big as the packaging industry? An industry that’s remained stagnated and deprived of innovation for so long?

Well, a select few brands are offering alternatives to wasteful packaging solutions like cardboard and plastic. Alternatives that boast innovative methods of sustainability for consumers, offering a greener future to an outdated industry. Discover 5 powerful brands that are creating innovative and sustainable packaging solutions.

1). LimeLoop

Online shopping is great! It’s easy, simple and requires only enough effort to swipe your thumb as you lay slothfully on your sofa persuading yourself that you really need those new shoes.

However, when your items finally arrive, you are burdened with the responsibility to dispose of the cardboard or plastic packaging that it arrived in (if you’re like me, that means you have a cupboard full of cardboard boxes while you keep telling yourself that you’ll take them to the recycling centre soon).

Thankfully, returnable and reusable packaging company LimeLoop has an alternative. Say goodbye to wasteful and harmful cardboard or plastic solutions, and hello to reusable and returnable packaging with a lifespan of 10 years.

LimeLoop’s packaging, made from recycled vinyl, has an average of 200 uses each (that’s 200 times more than the cardboard and plastic solutions used by the likes of Amazon), making it incredibly durable and sustainable.

All you have to do is attach the return slip, found inside the package, to the exterior and send it back, for free, the next time you pass your local post office or post box. It really is that simple!

And, with every 150 orders made using LimeLoop’s packaging saving 13,000 gallons of water as well as an entire tree, it’s no wonder that such a solution has great promise in our sustainable future.

2). Ethique

Did you know that the liquid-based beauty products such as shampoo and conditioner that fill your bathroom cabinets are made of 95% water? Yes, really. The products you use in the bathroom are primarily made from the one ingredient and resource you have plenty of in that very room.

What’s more, because they predominantly consist of water, plastic packaging is the only solution that’s capable of being used – cardboard would simply disintegrate. Plastic packaging has incredibly harmful consequences on the environment: only 9% of all plastic made is actually recycled, which then results in 8 million tonnes of plastic waste in our oceans, which then results in 9 out of 10 fish ingesting our plastic waste.

Thankfully, Ethique and their founder Brianne West are moving these products away from being liquid-based and towards sustainability. West’s background in biochemistry allowed her to extract the water out of liquid-based beauty products, creating a new solid formula for the wide range of cosmetic products.

Not only does this save an unnecessary amount of water that, until now, has been wasted on products like these, it also removes the necessity for plastic packaging. Ethique’s ‘beauty bars’ don’t need plastic bottles for storage, they’re able to be packaged in less detrimental, and more sustainable, packaging solutions.

All of Ethique’s products are packaged and shipped in cardboard and paper packaging. And, while the manufacturing of paper can usually be a very wasteful process, Ethique’s ‘recirculated and recycled’ system is only 3% as wasteful as traditional paper manufacturing processes.

Because of this, Ethique proudly boasts their plastic-free packaging as well as being the first ever zero-waste and zero-plastic beauty brand. The result? Preventing over 8 million plastic bottles from being wastefully disposed of. The future really is plastic free.

3). The Better Packaging Co.

With Covid-19, global lockdowns and remote working, we’ve never had more time on our hands to spend adding item after item to our online carts. And our boredom shopping isn't just harming our wallets.

Now, although we are witnessing a shift among consumers towards sustainable products and business practices, E-commerce packaging often slips past our eco-conscious scrutiny. Our online shopping habits are a major source of plastic waste and one time use packaging might be defeating the sustainable attempts and efforts to reduce our carbon footprint.

When Rebecca and Kate, the founders of The Better Packaging Co., realised the harm that e-commerce packaging has on our planet they were horrified. They couldn’t sit idle as sustainable businesses were undermined by their wasteful packaging solutions.

Thankfully for them, the sustainable packaging market is booming and embracing all innovation with open arms. It was only uphill from there on out as they began to create a sustainable alternative. Soon after, The Better Packaging Co. was born.

Just as the company’s name suggests, they pride themselves as a better alternative to the single use packaging used commonly in e-commerce. Offering a range of durable, reusable and compostable packaging solutions, it’s no wonder they’ve become a huge success and have been recognised for their contribution to sustainability.

And, while it isn't fully natural, the packaging is compostable and ready for your home garden (it’s even worm friendly!). Operating a sustainable model or production that ensures care is taken at every stage in the product lifecycle to minimise the impact, The Better Packaging Co. are an example for all sustainable brands to live up to.

4). Pangea Organics

What if I told you that you could help and promote new and innovative sustainable packaging solutions by simply burying your packages from online in your garden or a pot?

Well, Pangea Organics offer just that! Their natural skincare products use 100% compostable and biodegradable packaging that has organic seeds embedded into it. This means that, once you soak and bury your packaging, it begins to dissolve naturally before the seeds then take root, creating your own botanical sanctuary.

Similar to LimeLoop, Pangea offers a simple way to get rid of your unwanted packaging from e-commerce orders. Though this one requires even less effort than going to the local post office!

However, Pangea Organics have also cleverly utilised their packaging innovation to resonate deeply with the eco movement of younger generations who strive for sustainability. Amongst these consumers, many wishes to achieve a sustainable ‘lifestyle’ and look to brands who can help them accomplish this. The rise of green fingered consumers within the sustainability niche has been huge, with many identifying eco-gardening as a huge part of the sustainable lifestyle.

While the success of ‘plantable’ packaging remains to be seen, it certainly offers a great deal of potential and promise amongst the future, eco-conscious generation of consumers. Could the future of sustainable packaging really start in our own gardens?

The Future is Sustainable

The future of e-commerce packaging certainly looks promising. The innovation of brands who are striving for a sustainable future may very well be enough to result in positive change, moving away from wasteful resources.

Businesses are waking up to the cultural shift amongst consumers towards sustainability. Failing to adapt and change their practices (and yes, that even includes their packaging and shipping practices) will result in them losing favour with the public who are increasingly demanding positive change.

This strive for a green future does not mean the end of e-commerce, not by a long shot. Instead, we are seeing a push for innovation and competition between products and ideas for the most practical, effective and sustainable packaging solution for consumers to adopt.

While nobody knows what the future holds for the sustainability movement and e-commerce packaging solutions, it certainly appears that great innovation and ideas await us online consumers. Why not embrace them?

Want to discover more brands reinventing how we shop? Check out our blog for the best sustainable brand features!