• Innes McArthur

‘Plantable’ Packaging: The Exciting Trend That Really Grows on You

What if you didn’t have to throw every parcel you get? What if every online order takes you closer to your very own botanical sanctuary?

The current packaging solutions used by e-commerce businesses and sites are greatly limiting brands’ aims of going fully sustainable. The plastic and cardboard materials used for packaging are incredibly wasteful and can take years to fully decompose.

Consumers are increasingly more eco-conscious and aware of the environmental impact created by the product they’re considering purchasing. Over 80% of consumers believe it is "important or extremely important" that the products companies produce are environmentally conscious.

However, we as consumers often focus primarily on the sustainability of the products we buy, while frequently overlooking the environmental hazards posed by the packaging solutions our oh-so sustainable products come in. In reality, many companies claiming to be organic and sustainable use incredibly unsustainable packaging solutions such as cardboard and plastic.

These materials are the most commonly used with e-commerce businesses due to the fact they’re cheap. But in reality, once delivered, most packaging and parcels are then restricted to a life trapped in the local landfill for weeks, months, or perhaps even years, until they finally decompose.

This being the case, there has been plenty of attempts at tackling this issue, as well as innovative solutions to traditional packaging methods that allow businesses to flaunt their brand’s sustainability. From reusable to edible and now even ‘plantable’, there have been numerous iterations of different sustainable packaging solutions. But how do these solutions resonate with audiences? And how do brands find solutions that provide consumers with what they want?

Sustainable Packaging For A Sustainable Lifestyle

Plenty of businesses are beginning to offer their own unique alternatives to the traditional packaging solutions. Some businesses have even emerged as sustainable packaging companies, who’s main purpose is to create packaging solutions that are sustainable and can be sold to other businesses that are trying to go green.

Consider brands like LimeLoop, that offer recycled and reusable packaging for businesses to use for deliveries, or Do Eat, who create edible and biodegradable packaging solutions. The market for alternative materials to the traditional favourites of cardboard and plastic, is clearly thriving. There has never been a better time for innovation and choices of sustainable packaging.

However, while these are all great innovations that are helping us deal with the issues posed by current packaging solutions, they often fail to resonate and truly appeal to consumers. We can be quick to forget that customers, especially those in the younger demographic, don’t just want a product, they want something that offers them a lifestyle that they can relate to and that matches their identity.

This is where Pangea Organics stands out from the rest. Linking sustainable packaging with the sustainable lifestyle that many consumers are actively trying to adopt and pursue, Pangea are leading the way towards a sustainable integrated future for online consumers and e-commerce brands.

The Seeds of Pangea Take Root

Founded way back in 2001, Pangea Organics emerged as a skin and body care company that placed a great emphasis on the use of all natural and sustainable ingredients in their products. Their entire inventory is composed with lotions, balms, soaps and more that are all made with strictly natural essential oils and sustainable materials. But merely making products that are 100% plant-based wasn’t enough, they wanted to go fully sustainable.

As already shown, many brands have offered alternative possibilities to current packaging solutions. However, none have had the ability to relate to the sustainable ‘lifestyle’ of their customers.

Reusable packaging is great, but it requires consumers to make the journey to the nearest post office, and while edible packing is certainly innovative, do we want to be eating the packaging for all the items we buy?

Instead, Pangea had to find a way of creating a packaging solution that was not only sustainable, but also appeals and resonates to the lifestyle and wants of their customers.

One look at Pangea’s packaging and you’d be forgiven for not thinking there is anything special about it. However, embedded in each of their compostable packages are various organic seeds that can be planted. Instead of discarding the parcel once it’s delivered, customers can plant theirs and, as the packaging biodegrades, the seeds inside will take root and begin to grow.

Yes, really, this is packaging you can grow a garden with. Pangea’s customers don’t need to worry about returning reusable packaging, feel compelled to eat it or express guilt for their excessive cardboard use. All they need to do is remove the label, soak the packaging and then plant it under soil.

Working with Seeds of Change, the US’ largest producer of organic seeds, Pangea Organics became the business offering the first 100% biodegradable and plantable packaging solution ever.

However, the success of Pangea’s packaging doesn’t come from the innovation behind their ability to be planted and grow the seeds embedded within. Instead, their success stems from their ability to offer consumers a packaging solution that appropriately addresses both the issue of sustainability as well as appealing to the notion of a sustainable lifestyle that many, if not all, of their customers will resonate with and can relate to.

Green Finger Consumers

Businesses have known for some time that consumers are, generally, becoming greener. The organic consumerism that started with food and groceries, soon found its way into fashion and wellbeing products.

And, with the huge rise in demand for ethically and environmentally sourced products, brands are trying desperately to match their customers enthusiasm for sustainability.

But, for many consumers, sustainability isn’t just about eco-conscious products, it’s about a lifestyle they identify with and practice in their everyday life. While the packaging solutions made with sustainable materials offered a refreshing innovation compared to cardboard and plastic, they never resonated with the sustainable lifestyle of green consumers.

The approach Pangea took of a fully sustainable packaging solution not only appeals to their ecological consumers, it also relates deeply to ‘eco-gardening’, a growing trend within the sustainable lifestyle.

For such consumers, the notion of independently and sustainably growing their own plants, fruit and vegetable is the ultimate signifier of the lifestyle they live and emit.

As a result, Pangea Organics is not only able to promote natural and organic products, but also the completely sustainable lifestyle that their consumers strive for, which is especially popular with younger audiences, through their fully sustainable packaging solution.

May a Thousand Parcels Bloom

With an increasingly eco-conscious consumer culture that sees shoppers pursuing an environmental and sustainable lifestyle, Pangea Organics’ packaging solution could lead the way towards a sustainable future for other e-commerce platforms.

While it is still rather new, the ‘plantable’ packaging solution offers great potential for consumers and customers. It reduces the need to constantly make trips to your nearest recycling centre to dispose of packages, or post office to return the reusable parcel – which in turn reduces the return cost for businesses as well as their environmental footprint from delivery services.

Instead, consumers end up actively engaging with every package delivered to them as they begin creating their very own sustainable garden from the seeds within the packaging. With every order, customers are able to expand their eco-project while also gaining a greater appreciation for the sustainability of both the product they have purchased as well as the packaging it has come in.

Though it may seem a quirky niche, ‘plantable’ packaging resonates deeply into the notion of the sustainable ‘lifestyle’. And, at a time where consumers are trying to be more sustainable while also purchasing lifestyles over the products themselves, the idea behind it is incredibly strategic.

As younger generations become a more prominent voice in the market, a shift towards sustainable and eco-conscious goods and retailers is inevitable. Consumers will strive for brands that offer them a sustainable lifestyle, and what’s more sustainable than packaging that breeds life?

Whether or not it will take off in the future is yet to be seen. Until then, Pangea Organics will remain the biggest player in the ‘plantable’ packaging market. And with it being their own packaging that they manufacture for their own products, it allows them to show consumers what a fully organic business model actually looks like.