Aside from being the “right thing to do”, social responsibility in packaging is one of the ways a company can better align itself on its target market’s expectations. But if you want your packaging to be more socially responsible where do you start?
Social responsibility is closely tied to reducing a product’s environmental footprint. In practical terms, there are simple ways you can do this:
When designing your packaging, choose materials that will help reduce its size and weight. This in turn will reduce the amount of packaging that can potentially end up in a landfill. Remember, not all recyclable packaging gets recycled.
You can also reduce the amount of new materials used in your packing. How important is it to have instructions on 100% virgin paper? Recycled paper may do.
packaging can be repurposed. Why not encourage your buyers to repurpose your packaging with suggestions for craft projects or the creation of useful objects?
Choosing recyclable, biodegradable or responsibly sourced materials
Traditional polystyrene packaging peanuts can be replaced by the recycled version, made of wheat or corn starch
Wood based materials can be FSC certified, meaning approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, as manufactured in a way that protects the forest and its associated wildlife. This can include paper and cardboard, but also labels such as those available through IMS.
Also a good choice: avoiding materials that are known to be unhealthy such as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or difficult to recycle materials, such as Polystyrene.
Clearly identifying the components of your packaging that are recyclable is also essential.
You might be interested in social responsibility on a wider scale than just packaging. If so, you should know that the Standards Council of Canada has recently approved a Canadian version of ISO 2600.
The ISO 2600 standard was launched in 2010. It doesn’t have a certification but it is a comprehensive guide for companies wishing to become more socially responsible. It gives guidance in the areas of organizational governance, labour practices, Environment, fair operating practices, consumer issues, community involvement and human rights.
This new “Canadian version” is approved by Canadian social responsibility experts, as “appropriate and beneficial” for the Canadian marketplace. You can purchase a complete copy of it on the CSA website
At IMS, we actively recycle at many levels of our organization and take responsible packaging very seriously. If you require expertise in the proper messaging and identification to make your packaging more socially responsible, We are there to help!