The Increase of Eco-Friendly Products
The Increase of Eco-Friendly ProductsNowadays it’s common for companies to embrace a ‘go green or go home’ mentality, whether they’re merely embracing eco-friendly new policies or completely building their business around the green movement. The costs of becoming eco-friendly can be high, but they can be immensely worth it for myriad reasons.
Not only can going green help to make companies more efficient but proudly showcasing your eco-friendliness can improve your brand image. But when did the eco-friendly uprising begin? And what does the future look like for green products? Direct Packaging Solutions takes a look at the many ways that eco-friendly products can affect the market, as well as exploring the progress of environmentally-conscious practices as a whole.
When Did Eco-Friendly Products Kick-Off?Although nowadays eco-friendly products are becoming more and more common, to the point that the term ‘green-washing’ has been coining, the nature-friendly approach to products, services and businesses is relatively new. Humbly beginning in 1986 in Oceania countries (such as Australasia, Micronesia and Polynesia) with the ‘Energy Rating Label’ and in 1988 in Canada under the name of the ‘Environmental Choice Program’, eco-friendly approaches began small in the 80s yet only really started gaining traction in the early 2000s.
Companies and scientists slowly but surely discovered the nature-friendly, efficiency-boosting benefits of materials such as cork, hemp and straw, all whilst simultaneously realising just how harmful plastic can be to the environment. The past two decades have seen eco-friendly products becoming fairly commonplace, offering essentially every business, company and even home a lot of opportunities to go green.
The Variety of Eco-Friendly ProductsThe terms ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘natural’ are virtually synonymous, mostly because they’re often made from natural ingredients, don’t contain any harmful chemicals and can be entirely recycled. The great thing about a growing market for eco-friendly products is that essentially every industry or business can make use of eco-friendly items, and the number of conventional products that can be replaced with eco-friendly alternatives can be truly surprising.
Eco-friendly chemicals for cleaning, significantly reduced packaging and even products that are manufactured with less labour or required materials are cropping up across marketplaces around the world. One of the most promising innovations can be found with eco-friendly products, such as the German-based ‘Room in a Box’ made using recycled cardboard and the Denver-based ‘Sheets & Giggles’ that create bed sheets made from eucalyptus, which uses up to 96% less water than cotton crops.
These examples go to show that eco-friendly innovations aren’t just restricted to simply using less plastic during production or can just be recycled; those that are considering the benefits of nature-friendly products are adept at thinking outside the box.
The Rise of Eco-Friendly PackagingOne of the largest demands for change when it comes to becoming more eco-friendly is approaching single-use items including, but certainly not limited to, packaging. Whether it’s packaging for products needing to be redesigned or completely mixing up how a business caters a customer experience, single-use packaging is probably one of the biggest challenges for the eco-minded.
Edible water pods, bowls that expand when filled with hot water and even paper bubble wrapping are just a handful of the more futuristic, modern solutions to single-use packaging, yet some could argue that these are too niche to make a difference; this is where the big industry players come into play. Industry leaders like as McDonald's have expressed conviction for improving their eco-friendly offerings, trialling the likes of paper straws and constantly working on partnering with more ethical and eco-friendly partners for their food and packaging, which has lead to many others either following their example or attempting to one-up them by going as eco-friendly as possible, often rejecting plastic straws completely by embracing paper straws.
Eco-friendly adaptations aren’t isolated to the likes of the food industry; companies such as Sheets & Giggles have proven that every industry can aspire to be much more nature-friendly. For example, H&M and ASOS have expressed big plans for sourcing sustainable materials and more ethical practices when creating their products, with big supermarkets like Iceland vowing to completely cease using environmentally questionable ingredients like palm oil.